Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Monday, November 18, 2019

New York Knicks 106 – Dallas Mavericks 102 – Game RecaFRAAAANKK

FRAAAAAAAAAAAAAANK!

Ah, that feels very good.

Even amidst the most dreary seasons (and there’s no reason to believe this one isn’t going to be amongst them) there’s a chance to stumble into a game that will be remember for years to come. The Michael Beasley game against the Celtics comes to mind (“I’m strapped!”) on the good side of the memories and the Maurice N’Dour game against the Sixers does the same on the bad side.

That said, I think we have on our hands the mother of every legendary game during dismal seasons: the “Frank Ntilikina pwns the Mavs” game.

In terms of actual season results, this game was just a step on a slippery 82-story ladder. It wouldn’t have counted if we passed it with a steady foot or with trembling legs. In terms of in-game context and lore between the two teams, getting a win here would have been similar to what happens when a Division 2 team wins against a Premier League one in the FA Cup: the season could even go down in an ugly way after that, but that game will salvage a lot of the good feelings toward the team.

Getting a win while getting the best Frank game to date and watching KP miss the decisive box out (and then committing his sixth foul and being sent moping to the Mavs bench)? That’s worth more than Zion’s weight in gold.

What’s best, the Knicks were pretty much in control for the whole night. Yes, there were a few lead exchanges, and everyone was counting their collective blessings while shots were falling like crazy in the first quarter en route to a scorching hot 36 point outburst (“when the shots won’t fall anymore we’ll lose by twenty!” – real Farfa’s neurons), but in the end our guys kept their cool while still hitting a few bad shots and even Luka’s triple double, with a career high in points to boot, and KP’s 28 points were no match for our intensity and grittiness. Fizdale didn’t make any in-game dumb move too: he stuck to a sensible rotation, he started Taj Gibson and gave him some burn (28 minutes), and he pretty much awarded guys playing time based on their performance (I would have given a few more minutes to Dotson, but it’s a very minor quibble).

The good:

– Well, of course. Let’s start from the obvious: Frank Ntilikina (14 pts, 6 rebs, 4 ast, +5 +/-) was the undisputed hero of this game. He didn’t have the best plus/minus of the game. He didn’t score a lot. He didn’t dish a lot. He shot 1-for-7 from two. It doesn’t matter. Apart from the fact that Frank’s stat line was very thicc indeed (4/5 from three, 4 steals and 3 blocks in there!*), the guy was an unbelievable pest on defense. Although 4 steals and 3 blocks suggest as much, you’d have to have seen the game to know what I mean (and to that you might say: isn’t your job to tell me things I don’t know because I didn’t watch the game? Fair point). He was everywhere, even when the automatic switching employed by the Knicks sent him away from the ball defending, uh, Dorian Finney-Smith. He’d recover on someone else’s drive and then end up contesting the shot of a third guy, all the while roaming around the paint using his huge limbs to discourage easy passes inside. I swear to god he contested at least three different KP catch and shoot attempts (all misses). That’s a 10 inches difference in height, guys. And the confidence on full display, oh the confidence! At a certain point during the second quarter, Frank faked and attacked the rim, where KP was waiting for him, and tried to posterize the Latvian with total ferociousness. It didn’t work (at first KP was called for a foul, and then a coach challenge overturned the ruling) but do you remember Frank’s brief and terrible stint against the Spurs in our opener? Well, this is a completely different guy. I hope he keeps up the good work, because even if he doesn’t hit a lot of shots a defensive contribution like his is very, very rare to find. He just needs to be mediocre on offense to merit some playing time. If he can be just a smidge below average, he’s a lock to deserve at least 24 mpg.

*Stats cherry picking of the day: Ntilikina is the youngest player ever in NBA history to post a 14-6-4-4-3 line with 4 triples. Other guys who have done it in the League’s 73 years of existence: James Harden, Boogie Cousins, Tom Gugliotta (!), Nick Anderson, Robert Horry, Nikola Mirotic, Jason Kidd and Dwayne Wade. I hope against hope that Frank will ever be as good as the worst player in that list.

– As good as Frank’s game was, we wouldn’t have done jack shit if it wouldn’t have been for Carmelo Anthony (29 pts, 9 rebs, 3 ast, +7 +/-), who spent the first half drilling three after three (at some point he was 4/4 from three) before cooling off a bit in the second half. He even played passable defense on KP from time to time! You still know there’s no chance he’ll give you back the ball if there’s even half a shot to be taken, and he ended up hoisting 22 shots, by far the highest number on the Knicks team. You can’t argue with the results, this time, though. 29 shots on 22 points isn’t bad at all, and most of his points came at stratetic times, often acting as counters to dangerous Dallas buckets. Also, games like this will do wonders for his highlight reel come tradeability time.

– Honorable mention to Taj Gibson (12 pts, 8 rebs, 1 ast, -5 +/-), only because he’s the poster boy for what a veteran should do. Set picks. Give back the ball. Shoot your shots. Don’t take anything off the table. Provide defense and leadership. And also a tap-in dunk with less than 43 seconds in the game to put your team up six. As I said many times, more Taj, less Bobby.

The bad:

– Listen, we knew it was gonna happen sooner or later. RJ Barrett (3 pts, 8 rebs, 4 ast, -8 +/-) just put up quite a stinker, especially in the shooting department. 1-9 (field), 1-6 (free throws) shouldn’t be shooting lines, should be chapter numbers in the book “How I learned to put the ball in the basket when there’s literally no one between me and it”. I honestly recommend RJ reads it ASAP. That said, there’s a thing that certainly gives us a lot of hope: even in a game like this, it didn’t look like RJ was being that detrimental to the team. Granted, this probably happens because he’s graded on a rookie curve, but did you remember Knox’s horrible games from last year? Can you even compare this one, in terms of overall negative impact, to the best of the worst Knox put up last year? There’s also something to be said about the fact that on a few of his failed attempts near the rim he was probably fouled. Those calls will come with time. Let’s hope that by then he’s learned to shoot his free throws (and maybe he passed the book to his teammates).

Fun-sized bits:

– Julius Randle had another 20 point game (on 16 shots, not that bad) and was quite instrumental for the win. That said, everyone and their mother is catching up to the fact that Randle’s high dribble, especially on his spin move, is a walking turnover. Even Breen and Wally (give us Clyde back) talked about it multiple times. Now it’s on Fiz to work a bit of his magic and stop making him try to be a Harlem Globetrotter. I mean, fourth leaguewide in total turnovers.

– I don’t mind this Bobby Portis (particularly if he ends up playing just the right amount of minutes). A good amount of rebounds, twelve, a few power plays under the rim, a general sense of semi-toughness. Oh wait. Did I mention he shot the ball 15 times and hit only 5 shots? *facepalm emoji* I think I still mind this Bobby Portis.

– I kinda liked the rotation. It was similar to what you’d expect in a playoff game: starters playing heavy minutes, no weird experimental stuff, players plugged into a role designed for their “skillset”. Is Mitch too much to handle for Fiz?

– Don’t look now, but Knox is shooting .441 from three and is rocking a .096 WS/48. I’d recommend preparing for cats and dogs living together, mass hysteria, etc etc

– Luka Doncic is so, so, so good. Ntilikina played his best defense and he still put up 38 (on 26 shots), 14 and 10. But he also committed 8 turnovers and shot a ridiculous stepback from 35 feet trying to tie the game with 18.8 seconds to go. It was one of the dumbest shot I’ve ever seen this side of the JR Smith clock debacle against the Rockets in 2014.

– KP didn’t look half-bad, you know? Still: only 3 FTA. No offensive rebound. A crucial missed box out. I confirm: I’m happy we’re not paying him the max.

– It’s so satisfying seeing Tim Hardaway Jr. lose games for another team.

And with that, I salute you and it’s on to the game against the Cavs. Will our heroes win two in a row? Will Frank have another strong game? Will RJ finally hit at least 75% of his free throws? At this point, only God knows. And maybe he’s the one who’s trying to oust Dolan from anything Knicks.

See ya!

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198 comments on “New York Knicks 106 – Dallas Mavericks 102 – Game RecaFRAAAANKK

  1. Totes McGoats as Totes McGoats

    Frank was out there playing symbiotic defense like it’s just a part of his DNA. His effort was so natural. It doesn’t sound like a great compliment, but those types of players are rare. You know- the guys who don’t have to think or try to do the most on defense. Draymond, Pippen, and Rodman comes to mind. Just the way they moved on defense. I like this version of Ntilikina..alot. If that J comes along…

  2. KnickfaninNJ

    The game was really fun. At first I thought the good times will go away soon when the Knicks stop hitting, but they didn’t. And then I thought, this is a high scoring game, but it actually wasn’t. By the time Barrett missed two late three free throws, I thought, maybe they’ll just get a stop and score, which was an amazing thought when you realize this is the Knicks, but they actually did that. And then they won.

    I will say I thought Porzingis looked good and not injury prone. He’s more muscular and moves less awkwardly. He’s a really good player. We did get a lot for him, but I think it was worth it for Dallas and I still would like him on the Knicks.

  3. marechal

    At least RJ’s bad games still have him filling the box score. 8 rebounds and 4 assists is not bad. Frank’s and Knox’s bad games last year usually had zeros across the board.

  4. Hubert

    KP has actually been rebounding well this season so it may be unfair to pick on one moment, but holy shit was he soft AF on that key rebound.

    Re: Frank, with Payton and smith back, he’s still probably 6 bad minutes away from being buried by Fiz.

  5. Hubert

    Also Frank had two offensive rebounds last night. That’s probably a career high and might be a better sign than the points.

  6. E

    Frank’s playing time will probably go down, which would hurt his votes, but whoever the two guards are that get voted to the first team all -defensive team won’t be as good on defense as Frank.

  7. alsep73

    Frank’s attempt to posterize KP — which, as Breen pointed out, was a foul (KP shoved him in the chest with the other arm) — was as encouraging as the results from beyond the arc. It’s hard to imagine the terrified rookie/sophomore incarnation of Frank trying that. He’s always going to have some physical limitations on that end of the floor, but some of his problems were clearly mental. That dunk attempt and several of those shots were our guy feeling his oats. It was a joy to watch.

    Also, just saw this on the Twitter. Our switch-heavy defensive system means that Frank has to contribute in that end in other ways (which we saw throughout this game, and especially in the fourth quarter), but still: this is a small sample size I can get irrationally excited about.

    @NYKFilmSchool

    Kristaps Porzingis + Luka Doncic when Frank Ntilikina was their primary defender last night:

    5-15 (33%) shooting
    5 turnovers
    1 blocked shot

  8. Owen

    Portis came in and was on fire for his first five minutes so what came after must have been truly ugly.

    I fell asleep during second half and i can’t believe I regret that decision.

    Great cap, Farfa!

  9. d-mar

    Great recap as always Farfa. Must have been fun to write about a win for a change.

    You mentioned “automatic switching”. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a team give up on a high pick as quickly as the Knicks do. They should have just said to the Dallas player about to set the pick “don’t bother, we’re switching anyway “

    We got away with it last night, but against quicker guards than Doncic we’re gonna get torched (see D’Aaron Fox)

  10. rama picked up his option

    To me so much of this is Fiz’s rotations. Yes, the FO signed 25 power forwards. No, we don’t have a great PG. But I said before the season that a good coach could get 30-35 wins out of this crew, and I still think that.

    Mitch plays 30 mpg or until he fouls out, whichever comes first

    Frank plays 30 mpg, always with another playmaker like Trier or RJ

    Portis plays 10 mpg unless he’s hot from outside

    DSjr doesn’t play

    With just a little bit of coaching, this team could be OK. Tell Randle to stop with the spin move. Tell Frank to keep playing aggressive. Tell Knox to keep his shot distribution as is, maybe pick up a few more boards. Play Portis as a stretch 4, not as a C. And just play RJ less.

  11. Hubert

    I fell asleep during second half and i can’t believe I regret that decision.

    Not gonna lie, I was nibbling on some chocolate psilocybin throughout the evening and was pretty sure I hallucinated the whole thing. A Knicks win, with a great performance by Frank, and KP’s inability to end a possession being biggest play?? That’s the kinda stuff I would imagine.

  12. alsep73

    So what would we guess the point guard rotation actually is once the other two guys are healthy? Fizdale is saying all the right things about Frank, but he’s guilty until proven innocent on this front.

  13. Hubert

    I truly believe Frank will be buried within a week of Payton coming back.

    Btw we talked about who would guard porzingis yesterday. Here are all his points:

    https://youtu.be/ZRy8FAw9ZDg

    With the exception of one tough bucket over Morris and another tough one with Randle in his grill, all his shots were made while being covered by RJ Barrett & Bobby Portis.

    The coach is as dumb as we all thought.

  14. Stratomatic: Frequently wrong, but never in doubt

    I didn’t double check this, but if it’s accurate….

    Kristaps Porzingis + Luka Doncic when Frank Ntilikina was their primary defender last night:
    5-15 (33%) shooting
    5 turnovers
    1 blocked shot

  15. Stratomatic: Frequently wrong, but never in doubt

    Whooda thunk it??? Old Clarence Gaines must be smiling today…..

    Speaking of Clarence Gaines

    Clarence Gaines
    @ClarenceGaines2
    Don’t sleep on Kadeem Allen as a good long term play for
    @nyknicks
    – Why he signed a 2-way contract before the season ended is beyond my comprehension – Played super last year & is a ball hawking defender. Pairs nicely with RJ & Frank.

    Clarence Gaines
    @ClarenceGaines2
    Nothing better than seeing a young athlete seize an opportunity – Toast a drink
    @nyknicks
    fans to Wally Pipp if you’re at Penn 6.

  16. Bo Nateman

    I truly believe Frank will be buried within a week of Payton coming back.

    This would be an impeachable offense.

  17. djphan

    he probably does deserve minutes to see if this game is repeatable… but the shooting was a bit flukey and the defensive impact like this just isn’t there on a game to game basis either….

    his aggregate still doesn’t look good so thinking that he deserves to start/play heavy minutes off the backs of one good game is a bit silly…

  18. Stratomatic: Frequently wrong, but never in doubt

    One of the underrated plays last night was when Frank got switched onto KP, held his ground, and his length gave KP more of a problem than the typical PF/C gives KP on the same shot. KP through up an airball.

  19. Stratomatic: Frequently wrong, but never in doubt

    @20

    Give it a rest.

    Everyone here, including his biggest advocates like me, knows he’s going to have some terrible nights on offense going forward and not have an impact on defense like this every night. No one can.

    The point is that when you have a player that’s a potentially elite defender (possibly an all defensive team candidate) and he’s an especially immature 21 year old that had some injuries and confidence problems, you don’t throw in the towel because some broken stats models that are not picking up a lot of what he does well say he’s not a good player. You give it a few year and try to develop his weaknesses because if he blossoms on the other side just a bit, you have an impact player that can win important games for you down the line.

    We are seeing some of that growing maturity now. The first flowers are just barely poking their way through. So celebrate a glimpse of what he might be in 2-3 years and forget about his next 0-6 game with 3 TOs and 1 assist. Those are coming too. We know that. It’s part of the process.

  20. djphan

    he’s already in year 3…. how much longer are you giving him? what’s the precedent for guys who have been as bad as frank has been developing into a rotation level player?

  21. rama picked up his option

    he’s already in year 3…. how much longer are you giving him? what’s the precedent for guys who have been as bad as frank has been developing into a rotation level player?

    Yes, he’s “in year 3” as in “the very beginning of his third year.” And already a lot of his recent games have been rotation-worthy, most of them this year, his third year. Just a few games ago we were observing that Frank couldn’t sit because as soon as he did the Celtics went on a run.

    I don’t want to get into a stupid small sample size argument; the bigger point is simply that he should be part of a rotation NOW. If we had a legit PG, he should maybe get 25 minutes; as is, he needs 35. He does a tremendous job disrupting the other team, much of which STILL doesn’t show up in the stats. Like Strat, I’m not arguing that he’s great now, and that he won’t continue to have clunkers – but I would argue that you don’t credit him what he provides on defense because it doesn’t show up in the box score. It wouldn’t be hard to show minute-by-minute what he does that isn’t caught in counting stats….it would just be tedious. It’s pretty clear when anyone but Portis is at C how much Frank transforms our defense into something decent.

  22. rama picked up his option

    Speaking of Portis, did everyone see how when he was in the Mavs ran plays at him time after time? Basically Kanter redux, except with a 3 and a worse post game.

  23. GoNYGoNYGo - Dolan must sell

    On Frank’s rebounding. He was aggressive and I loved it. His first rebound came early in the game off of a Courtney Lee jumper that he snatched away from Dwight Powell with an attitude. He then drove into the lane, pulled up and passed off to Taj for an easy deuce. It set the tone for the game.

    Not enough has been said about the game Taj had. His help defense, especially to help Frank with Doncic, was subtle but effective and it freed Frank to gamble and overplay . Taj’s experience also noticed mismatches for others and he directed traffic to take advantage. I’ve always loved Taj’s game. I just don’t think of him as a backup rim protector. Wally was correct when he said that he can’t handle a guy like Drummond and other similar monsters. But when he has to deal with stretch-4’s he’s effective.

    So what happens when Dennis and Elfrid return? One’s gotta sit. And with RJ playing 35 minutes per night, Trier and Dotson are expendable. Are they tradeable? A good GM, one that wants to win, would engineer a trade to obtain a true center to back up Mitch. I don’t care if it’s a project. If we wait, I would trade Ellington. We have Bullock coming back, right?

  24. djphan

    i absolutely credit all the things that doesn’t show up in the box score… i’m pretty sure i’m the only one who’s actually done anything close to a deep dive on a quarter’s worth of play on the internet of him….

    the problem i have with the frank apologists is that they don’t see or seem to care about all the bad stuff that doesn’t happen in the box score either… and all the good things that happen is because of frank… and all the bad stuff that happens is because of someone else… a big reason why randle is struggling is because we’ve been relying on frank as our pg… that’s a big deal!

    you can’t just have conversations about the good stuff… that’s the main reason why so many ppl seem to think frank is better than he is….

  25. Stratomatic: Frequently wrong, but never in doubt

    I was just reading some stuff from a Mavs blog and there were actually fans advocating trading Luca because his dumb TOs and stupid shot selection were costing the Mavs wins. lmao

    Others (one from Europe) were jumping in saying he’s not a natural PG and played SF in Europe with two excellent PGs.
    .
    The only thing they were close to unanimous about was that Hardaway sucks and if they could just get rid of him they would be better.

    funny stuff.

  26. JK47

    Frank should move to shooting guard when the other guys come back. Or call it a “two point guard” lineup if you have to. Let him be the Jason Kidd to Elfrid’s Ray Felton. That’s his future anyway, a 3-and-D shooting guard who can play some pretend point guard in certain situations.

    He’s played well enough to where he needs to keep getting minutes. Just not at lead guard.

  27. Hubert

    he’s already in year 3…. how much longer are you giving him?

    He’s 21. He shouldn’t have even been in the NBA until now.

    what’s the precedent for guys who have been as bad as frank has been developing into a rotation level player?

    There’s possibly 3 people to compare him to in league history. You simply can’t hold him against guys who entered the NBA at 21 or 22 and then played 2 seasons.

  28. GianaDani

    Taj calling an offensive play with less than two minutes left says a lot. As does, Luka Doncic scoring a career high with a triple double while being shut down by Frank simultaneously. One day Fiz may end his unpredictable mandatory switch defensive scheme.

  29. johnno

    Frank is a full two years younger than Patrick Ewing and 1-1/2 years younger than Mark Jackson were as rookies.

  30. Hubert

    I don’t want to get into a stupid small sample size argument; the bigger point is simply that he should be part of a rotation NOW.

    Yes. I’m not sitting here saying Frank is good now, y’all were wrong.

    Just that he should play 20-25 mins a night on this team and get the ego development that guys like Mudiay and Vonleh got, just to see if he can develop into a guy who has nights like yesterday more often.

    That’s all. No 7 guard rotations that bench him as soon as he has two bad minutes or someone else hits a three. Stick with the kid.

  31. DRed

    since 1979 there have been something like 160 seasons played by 19 or 20 year old guards. Frank has played two of the worst of those seasons. What does that mean? idk, but it’s hard to imagine it means anything definitive going forward.

  32. DRed

    I wouldn’t bend over backwards to give Frank 30 minutes a night if we have a healthy team-I think it’s likely that DSJ is going to suck too, but we might as well give him some minutes, and Payton also deserves to play, but just give Frank regular minutes (15-20 a night)

  33. Hubert

    do we judge anyone else like this?

    We judge everyone else like this. More than 99% of all players in league history did not play in the NBA at 19 or 20.

    Were you ready to throw in the towel on Kawhi Leonard in his age 21 season bc for two years at San Jose St he was a 20% shooter from behind the arc?

  34. Name is Bron - James Bron

    Taj calling an offensive play with less than two minutes left says a lot. As does, Luka Doncic scoring a career high with a triple double while being shut down by Frank simultaneously. One day Fiz may end his unpredictable mandatory switch defensive scheme.

    ProjectKnicks brings his trademark negativity. Someone went through the entire game focusing just on Frank’s defense. Here are the results:

    Luka shot 4-10 for 9 points when guarded by Frank, 43% TS, coincidentally Frank’s “worst offensive player in the NBA” career average. To boot, Luka had 4 TO’s when guarded by Frank, two were passes Frank forced him to throw away, one was on a drive to the rim that Frank completely stonewalled, another on a possession where Frank anticipated then passing lane Luka was going to throw into as he was about to throw into it which forced Luka to overthrow. Another was a charge he drew in transition, the last was when he stonewalled Luka in transition in the fourth and Luka dribbled off his foot or something. When Luka wasn’t guarded by Frank, he was 9-16 and 8-8 from the line for 28 points on 72% TS. He also had 4 TO’s once of which was a pass intercepted by Frank. When Luka wasn’t guarded by Frank, he was 9-16 and 8-8 from the line for 28 points on 72% TS. He also had 4 TO’s once of which was a pass intercepted by Frank.

    Then we come to the Mavs supporting cast. KP, THJ, Finney Smith and Delon Wright combined to shoot a whopping 0-7 when guarded by Frank. Kristaps airballed a postup Frank guarded him on and was 0-3 when Frank was on him, THJ was 0-1, a block in transition. Delon Wright was 0-1, he tried to take Frank to the rim, he failed. Finney Smith was 0-2, one was a block in transition, the other was a possession in the fourth during which Frank took his soul and sent him to the shadow realm on a blocked 3. All of Frank’s 4 steals came when guarding players in the Mavs supporting cast…

  35. Hubert

    ProjectKnicks brings his trademark negativity.

    Stop trying to make this happen! We all know it’s reub!

  36. ess-dog

    Man, that Wiggins vs. Russell game… it’s crazy how you can have a 52 vs. 40 point game between two average players these days.

    Defense is so much harder these days. You need rim protection more than ever but also active perimeter (even full court) defense and the ability to switch onto either faster or bigger guys. It’s no wonder most of these guys don’t even bother to do it throughout the season.

  37. Hubert

    the problem i have with the frank apologists is that they don’t see or seem to care about all the bad stuff that doesn’t happen in the box score either…

    I agree with this. He’s not good yet. I’m just saying I’m willing to have more patience bc I don’t think he should have even been in the NBA until now.

    a big reason why randle is struggling is because we’ve been relying on frank as our pg… that’s a big deal!

    Not sure I agree with this, though. There’s a lot of reasons he’s struggling. I can see Mitch’s offensive game being hurt by Frank, but Randle doesn’t need the pnr or dribble penetration to execute his game. He needs space down low (which he doesn’t have bc he plays with 1-2 other bigs) and to get the ball down low (we keep giving it to him up top for some reason, no matter who the PG is).

  38. Knew Your Nicks

    I’ve seen all 7 Losses live and fell asleep on the 2 games that we won !
    Wtf !?!

    Frank made a statement game.
    Can he sustain/improve it ?
    If healthy i bet that he will.

  39. iserp

    a big reason why randle is struggling is because we’ve been relying on frank as our pg… that’s a big deal!

    what? Frank has not played many minutes, and Randle has struggled equally with Payton, DSJ, Trier or RJ.

  40. Early Bird

    He’s 21. He shouldn’t have even been in the NBA until now.

    Two Problems:
    1) He is in the NBA already and that has contract and salary cap implications

    2) RJ is 19 and shows much more than Frank did at that age

  41. Early Bird

    I’ve seen all 7 Losses live and fell asleep on the 2 games that we won !
    Wtf !?!

    What’s your address? I have a years supply of Ambien I want to ship you.

  42. johnno

    @34 — for years people on this site have been screaming for the team to build through youth and the draft, which requires patience. In each of the last three drafts, the Knicks have picked the youngest or second youngest guy in the entire draft. I don’t think that any of them should be judged at all until at least the end of their age 23 season which, for Frank, Knox and Barrett, is 3, 4 and 5 years from now.

  43. Early Bird

    Frank at the 2 is fine, but still should be ahead of Dennis at pg until he looks at least like he did last year. We switch so much that his defensive assignment is pretty irrelevant.

    Dennis/Trier/Ellington look like the odd men out or need to fight for the last rotation spot.

  44. Early Bird

    I don’t think that any of them should be judged at all until at least the end of their age 23 season which, for Frank, Knox and Barrett, is 3, 4 and 5 years from now.

    Again, we have to judge them before they turn 23. Frank’s contract is up next year at age 22, as will RJ and Knox’s contracts.

    I don’t think anyone is against holding onto young players, but if there’s another young player that doesn’t have historically bad seasons it makes sense to replace those that do.

  45. Knew Your Nicks

    Dumb Department
    Keeping RJ in during the last seconds of the game while you expect Dallas to foul you was dumb. (On Fiz)
    Giving him the ball instead of giving it to the open Randle was dumb too (On Frank)
    Even if they both had been done to upgrade his confidence.

  46. Hubert

    RJ is 19 and shows much more than Frank did at that age

    RJ is a *much* better player than Frank.

    I’m sorry but you have to account for *some* things in stats. Not everything is equal. 2,000 minutes as a 19 year old in the NBA who isn’t ready is not the same as 2,000 mins from a 23 year old who is.

    Imagine if the Yankees signed a 16 year old kid from the DR and decided to put straight in the major leagues instead of starting at A ball. He wouldn’t have a great rookie year. Doesn’t mean he’s as bad those stats say he is.

  47. TheClashFan

    Just keep giving Frank 20+ minutes per game, please Fiz, even in games in which he stinks. Like some, I’d like to see him more at the 2 with RJB at the 3. But that isn’t likely to happen much until/unless Morris is traded away or either he or Randle go down with an injury.

    The guy the clock is really on now is DSJ, esp. if Frank’s improvement from three continues. Fiz could split the PG minutes between Payton and Frank, but what of Lazarus? I mean, DSJ.

  48. ptmilo

    it seems like 80-90pct of the frank arguments are not arguments at all, but actually subtextual complaints about the other side’s perceived certainty. fear not. i know for a fact strat’s meticulous player rating convolutional learning algorithm that rated frank a 170 out of 100 based solely on factors which cannot be duplicated without personally spending 4500 hours inside an otb on hempstead turnpike is in fact scribbled on the back of a showboat casino keno card.

    similarly, djphan does not actually hold his stated belief that he is either the only knick fan with a broadband connection, or, far less plausibly, the only knickerblogger regular with a low enough social calendar opportunity cost to justify hours of excitedly watching frank hedge the pnr. in fact he quite understandably has no interest whatever in watching endless basketball video replays but is quite good at his hubspot inbound marketing job maximizing views for the nba.com account.

    hubert recognizes this and trolled the entire board by totally but confidently making up the incorrect assertion that more than 99pct of players in nba history did not play at 19 or 20 (it’s about 91pct, and about 86pct if we exclude players with fewer than 1000 career minutes). hubert’s agenda is unclear but he definitely does not love or hate frank enough to be invited to either camp’s retreat so it is best to assume he simply can’t stomach the idea of possible turing bots like thenamestan and owen feigning neutrality on his watch.

  49. Grocer

    what? Frank has not played many minutes, and Randle has struggled equally with Payton, DSJ, Trier or RJ.

    Why are people saying this? djphan is arguing, absolutely correctly, that Frank fucks up a lot on BOTH sides of the floor. And folks keep arguing that all they want is for him to get burn? Frank hardly played the first three games after he stunk it up like a 3 days dead mouse in a few minutes at SA. Since then he’s been getting the playing time y’all are asking for! Please, just take ‘yes’ for an answer.
    22:16 v Chi
    29:16 @ Orl
    37:46 @ Bos
    14:46 v Sac
    38:39 @ Det
    37:33 @ Dal
    Also Frank is not a PG, he has absolutely no PG skills. Even in his best, and legit great game, he showcased exactly zero PG skills. Of course other players are suffering from that.

  50. Early Bird

    There hasn’t been a 16 yo MLB player since 1955.

    There’s multiple 19yo players every NBA season. We have one now.

    In fact we’re not terrible at evaluating 19yo players. Despite making clear draft mistakes, NBA draft order correlates pretty well with eventual success and that success generally shows up within the first few seasons.

    How do you figure that a 19yo basketball player is like a 16yo baseball player?

  51. Frank

    i absolutely credit all the things that doesn’t show up in the box score… i’m pretty sure i’m the only one who’s actually done anything close to a deep dive on a quarter’s worth of play on the internet of him….

    the problem i have with the frank apologists is that they don’t see or seem to care about all the bad stuff that doesn’t happen in the box score either… and all the good things that happen is because of frank… and all the bad stuff that happens is because of someone else… a big reason why randle is struggling is because we’ve been relying on frank as our pg… that’s a big deal!

    dude just man up and take the L for a couple days, at least until Frank has another bad game eventually and you can say… i told you guys so… because i actually watched the game unlike… you guys… .

    I’m obviously a Frank believer, and am fully aware that we are smack dab in the middle of small sample land, but no joke (and I would challenge anyone to disagree with this statement) – Frank played perhaps the most impactful defensive game by a Knick guard literally in the last 20 years. 3 blocks 4 steals, 7 deflections (and caused 6 turnovers per NBA.com), guarded 1-5 (and it’s his ability to do this that lets us not see the horror which is Randle or Portis trying to guard the PNR) and when he got put on the opponent’s best scorers, not only shut them down but turned them over. The sequence of the block on Hardaway and then the 3 on the other end was probably the turning point of the game- a 5 point swing. The dude was everywhere on defense, and was… actually just fine on offense. His dribble drive on Luka followed by the skip pass to Randle for 3 was awesome (by the way, that is point guard skill).

    And re: it being Frank’s fault that Randle has been bad. Dude. Sure, maybe it’s Frank’s fault that he’s not Chris Paul, but maybe the coach should stop trying to make Randle into Lebron James.

  52. danvt

    I’m sad because I can’t afford out of market Knicks games right now.

    So, I really appreciate the recaps, Farfa.

    I think what people are saying is, why wouldn’t we “ride (Frank) like Secretariat” at this point? Does it put us in danger of not making the playoffs?

    As to shooting, I think Morris will shoot worse but other guys will get numbers up. RJ won’t be that bad I hope.

    Then it’s just about defense (and maybe better pace?) and we could win some games.

  53. bidiong

    The free throw shooting is horrendous. That’s the most baffling thing to me. They would have won by twenty of they hit their damn free throws.

  54. rama picked up his option

    strat’s meticulous player rating convolutional learning algorithm that rated frank a 170 out of 100

    I expect more from you, milo – everyone knows that Frank rated a 170 out of 200 in Strat’s TMURA system (Totally Made Up Random Algorithm).

  55. nicos

    That was the best game I’ve seen Frank play- I felt like I was watching the game in Stratovision. If he keeps up the activity he showed when off of the ball on that end then he might become the defender some people think he already is. Too often he just disappears on the weak side but last night he was all over the place aggressively looking to make plays. That’s the guy who’s worth playing even with his non-existent offense- he’s shooting 42% from three and still rocking a .470 TS% and most of his attempts at the rim would make Kevin Knox blush. But knock down some open threes and defend like that and he’s a genuine rotation player.

    Speaking of Knox, it’d be nice to see him really up his activity level on offense. He never cuts like he actually wants the ball, he just jogs through the lane and then heads right back out to the perimeter. He’s shooting well enough that he should be working to get himself open rather than just standing around waiting for a kick out.

  56. zulu1991

    IMO, Taj Gibson is the best Knick. I have long admired his game when he played for Chicago and Minnesota. He reminds me of Oakley. He sets the tone for everyone else. I don’t think it is a complete coincidence that Frank had the best game of his career along Gibson in the line up.

  57. Frank

    meanwhile Luka is turning the ball over like a madman, but is averaging 28.1 points, 10.4 rebounds, and 9.3 assists this year in ~36 minutes/game. as a freaking 20 year old. It is ridiculous. The only player in the first FIVE seasons of his career that has even put up 25/8/8 per 36 in a full season is Oscar Robertson, and he was 22 that season.

    Honestly Vlade should be retroactively fired just for passing on him.

  58. thenoblefacehumper

    dude just man up and take the L for a couple days, at least until Frank has another bad game eventually and you can say… i told you guys so… because i actually watched the game unlike… you guys… .

    I mean, I enjoyed the hell out of Frank’s performance and will say again that if he can replicate it more frequently I will be very happy to be wrong, but the burden of proof is still overwhelmingly on the people who think the guy should be a major part of our present and/or future.

    For a little perspective, last night Frank’s BRef Game Score was 16.9–a career high. Dennis Smith Jr., who everyone here hates, has had 17 career games with a higher Game Score.

    Before a certain someone jumps down my throat, I am well aware that the metric is limited to the box score and thus flawed in all of the usual ways. Just know that if you’re saying Frank is clearly our best point guard option at this time, you’re still relying extremely heavily on intangibles. I’m not even saying you’re wrong to do so, but typically you’d wait for more than one good game to throw the “I told you so” party.

  59. GoNYGoNYGo - Dolan must sell

    Frank is just becoming a man. Yesterday he played like an all-star. Can he do it repeatedly? We’ll see.
    After not landing Zion or Durant, this season be came about building a young team through the draft. It is not about winning. Our pre-season win predictions tell me that we all pretty much agree that this team can’t make the playoffs. Maybe someone here used a clause like “If they get lucky…”

    No. It was about Mitch continuing to improve, hoping RJ was worth a #3 pick and that either Knox or Frank stepping up to be a legit rotation player. So far Mitch can’t stay on the floor because of fouls, a leg issues and now a concussion. RJ is worth a #3 pick but there’s work to do. Knox seems to have fixed his shot but his defense is lacking. Ntilikina has shown flashes of awesomeness.

    Considering the expectations, I’m OK. And so I want to see a heavy dose of those 4 players. Frank needs to do what he did yesterday every day. If he does, the rest falls into place. It gives us defensive stoppers at the 1 and at the 5. It gives us 2 wings that can make buckets. We get a top lottery pick this year and 2 firsts next year. We have tradeable assets and we already have cap space where other teams don’t.

    So I want to Frank succeed. If he does, we have something and I want it to play out. The upside is tremendous. He needs to play like that consistently. The consistency that I’m looking for is that intensity both offensively and defensively. Let’s see if he throws a goose-egg up there on Sunday or if he has a cameo appearance. Let’s see if Dallas prepares for him next Thursday.

  60. Frank

    Not sure if I’m the “certain someone” re: Frank, but I have no illusions about Frank being the next coming of whoever. I think he has a reasonable chance of being some sort of combination of Mario Chalmers, George Hill, Shane Battier, etc — low usage glue guys that make winning plays and are an integral part of really good teams (in fact, his stats over these last 4 games are almost exactly what Chalmers used to put up during the LBJ/Wade/Bosh Heat days). I don’t need him to average 18 points and 9 assists per game. I need him to play great defense, make life difficult for opposing offenses, hit open shots, and move the ball – ie. exactly what he’s been doing since he joined the starting lineup. Our current GM/POBO have spent all their time drafting and signing the exact opposite kind of player, and our coach literally had to be yelled at by the entire MSG crowd, and all the PGs had to be injured or otherwise out before he would give Frank some extended run. He seems like a great kid who works hard – I’m glad he’s getting his shot no matter how that shot came. Now it’s on him to put a stranglehold on those minutes (whether as a starter or a reserve).

  61. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Danvt, if you make a burner email account, I will fix your problem re: out of market games. Very legal and very cool!

  62. JK47

    Does everyone think Frank’s gonna keep shooting .400+ from 3PT or nah? Because take that away and he’s back down in .400 TS% land. Even with the unsustainable three point shooting he has a shitty TS% because he hasn’t made a free throw all season and he is shooting .370 on 2-pointers.

    I’m glad he had a good game but he’s still Frank Ntilikina.

  63. thenoblefacehumper

    Not sure if I’m the “certain someone” re: Frank, but I have no illusions about Frank being the next coming of whoever.

    No, there’s someone else who is a very big fan of Frank Ntilikina (and everyone else acquired by Phil Jackson, unless he’s decided Phil was unjustly duped or something) and is skeptical of box score aggregators to a comical degree.

  64. danvt

    Is it me or is offense still more important than defense to people? How many times have we watched people being ushered to the basket? Or unguarded on the three point line? Are we more embarrassed by a missed shot? Are we not right getting fired up about a good clutch defensive performance?

    Frank just needs to play like a more athletic Pablo Prigioni. Keep the defense honest. Keep the other team from scoring.

    Also, as has been said, he’s never had a long leash. He had Mudiay ahead of him last year. They brought in Dennis Smith. Fiz is playing shorter rotations now. Frank needs a sustained run of 30+ minute nights and good health. Until then the jury is out no matter what year of service he’s in.

    I agree that our core 4 plus Randle may be on our next playoff team.

  65. KnickfaninNJ

    So of course it must be that his three point will go down but his two point shooting will stay at 0.370? The average is the best estimate if his current shooting. All the components have noise. You can’t pick the good component and say that’s the only one that is unsustainable.

  66. thenoblefacehumper

    So of course it must be that his three point will go down but his two point shooting will stay at 0.370? The average is the best estimate if his current shooting. All the components have noise. You can’t pick the good component and say that’s the only one that is unsustainable.

    Well, his career 2PT% figure is .380 so it’s hard to rule it out.

  67. KnickfaninNJ

    So again it’s Frank was bad, therefore he will always be bad.

    Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think he’s a good shooter at the moment. I just think it likely he’s improved from where he was.

  68. Grocer

    Is it me or is offense still more important than defense to people?

    Offense is more important than defense in general. There’s several reasons why this is so (a great offender can be part of every play but the same is not true for a great defender, defense is inherently reactive ect ect), and it’s backed up by the data but it just isn’t the sort of thing that’s worth arguing about since no one can agree on base facts. It’s extremely beneficial to have both of course.

  69. Hubert

    hubert’s agenda is unclear but he definitely does not love or hate frank enough to be invited to either camp’s retreat

    I’m a card carrying Frankophile and would proudly sip Gin in Strat’s camp.

  70. geo

    the burden of proof is still overwhelmingly on the people who think the guy should be a major part of our present and/or future.

    there is no definitive “proof” or certainty with love…as its most basic component, love is faith…

    have a little faith in frank..

  71. The Infamous Cdiggy

    @54 that was gold-standard stuff. The Stuyvesant grad in me enjoys such stat/intelligent/layered humor.

    My problem with being able to watch games out here in LA is my work schedule – can’t watch while I’m at my school’s athletic events (i.e. chronicling our volleyball team choking away a game and reporting the score during a 6pm PST game).

  72. geo

    once frank figures out how to dribble, he’s gonna start dunking on folks – cause he wants to…

    once that happens, his 2pt shot % will rise…oh yeah…

  73. Z-man

    Frank looked like a 3-and-d wing sharing PG responsibilities in a position-less offensive system. He had 4 assists in 37 minutes, tied with RJ and Randle. In this game, the 3’s went down and he also got a few boards. His defense was game-changing. Tomorrow should be another good opportunity for him.

    Overall I thought that the Knicks finally played a more unselfish offensive game, relatively speaking. The ball moved much better and we took much better quality shots. For example, Trier took 3 shots in 17 minutes and seemed committed to ball movement. I hope that continues. I’m OK with Morris shooting a lot since he’s clearly out best offensive player. Randle has to keep working on dribbling less and just making quick moves to his sweet spots like he did on that huge shot at the end of the game.

  74. thenoblefacehumper

    So again it’s Frank was bad, therefore he will always be bad.

    I thought my reply was so simple there was no possible way it could be misconstrued. Maybe read it again? I don’t know. Anyway I simply said it ain’t fait accompli that a career 38% shooter will markedly improve from his current 37% rate. He also might! I would be happy if he does. But when a third year player comes in with basically the same exact 2PT% he’s always had, it’s a bit of a weird instinct to assume it will definitely improve.

  75. KnickfaninNJ

    It seems to me just as weird to assume a player Frank’s age will not improve when there is lots of evidence that young players often improve.

  76. thenoblefacehumper

    It seems to me just as weird to assume a player Frank’s age will not improve when there is lots of evidence that young players often improve.

    Dude, is this the first time you’re hearing of the concept of “busts?” There are countless players who come into the league, suck, and then just keep sucking. I hope Ntilikina isn’t one of them, but all of the data accumulated prior to last night indicated he was. Here’s to hoping last night was the start of something new.

  77. djphan

    dude just man up and take the L for a couple days, at least until Frank has another bad game eventually and you can say… i told you guys so… because i actually watched the game unlike… you guys… .

    does this mean i was hanging L’s on everyone before this?

    look… it brings me no pleasure to blast ppl on the team…. but i will always call a spade a spade… and frank has sucked…. and it’s not some age thing or that he’s some unique snowflake that he’s struggling… he’s bad… and he’s bad in ways that usually doesn’t portend good things for the future….

    what’s annoying is that there is a particularly large segment of the fan base that will hang onto anything…. previous to the dallas game we were arguing about the value of an 0 for 6 game fer chrissakes…. it’s nice that we’ve moved past it to at least talking about a legitimately good game from him….

    but it’s happened before…. he’s had ‘ok’ stretches in the past…. if you’ve actually watched the games… and until he can demonstrate that he can convert a layup when he needs to…. he’s not gonna be anything more than he is now.. which is still a huge liability on the floor that has a narrow scope of usefulness….

  78. Early Bird

    It seems to me just as weird to assume a player Frank’s age will not improve when there is lots of evidence that young players often improve.

    There are approximately 4 million Americans that are 19 years old. Most will improve at basketball over the next few years. Rounding to the closest number, 0% of those 19 year olds will be worth putting on an NBA floor. Frank can both improve and still suck.

  79. KnickfaninNJ

    I give up. Now Frank’s skills are those of the average American. Or it’s that because there are busts in basketball, he must be one of them. It’s all the same “he’s bad therefore he will never be good”.

  80. Early Bird

    “he’s bad therefore he will never be good”.

    Frank is really bad at a number of fundamental basketball skills, therefore he’s unlikely to ever play well. It’s the same reason I don’t want Cam Reddish, Andrew Wiggins, or any number of other players that are far from being mediocre, let alone good.

  81. JK47

    This is really not that difficult to figure out: Frank’s baseline is so low, and he has performed so poorly over his first couple of seasons, that a “normal” development curve is still going to leave him short of making it. He’ll have to make a sizable leap from how shitty he was as a rookie and soph to be a valuable player. It’s not impossible! But he has a long way to go. I don’t doubt that he’ll be better at age 24 than he was at age 19. The problem is that the better, 24-year old version might still not be good enough.

  82. DRed

    has there ever been anyone worse than frank for 3000+ minutes thats had an nba career?

    How many different ways do you want me to tell you that there aren’t enough players Frank’s age to say anything definitive about his shitty career to date?

  83. Brian Cronin

    I can’t believe Gordon Hayward broke his hand. That guy must have really pissed off some witch some time.

  84. DRed

    if he wasn’t such a shithead and a celtic i’d feel bad for him, he’d started looking like he was back to his pre-injury form

  85. bobneptune

    WTF?????

    November 9 Game Between Raptors 905 And Westchester Knicks Postponed
    The NBA G League game between the Raptors 905 and Westchester Knicks, originally scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 9 at Westchester County Center, has been postponed due to unplayable court conditions. The date for the rescheduled game will be announced at a later time.

    NOVEMBER 9, 2019

  86. djphan

    How many different ways do you want me to tell you that there aren’t enough players Frank’s age to say anything definitive about his shitty career to date?

    we can absolutely say something definitive about where frank’s career is going…. are some of those ways him becoming mvp? making all star teams? all-nba defense (laff)? was wiggins as hard to pin down as frank is when he was frank’s age? are we taking minnesota’s approach to this?

    when i blast prospects.. i generally say they would need to do something that’s never been done before… and with frank that’s what it is… with knox it’s the same deal…. if you can’t convert layups you are probably not having a long nba career…. we’re not working with tremendous samples yes… but we do have 137 age 19 or 20 seasons covered… and frank has 2 of the worst 6 seasons of those….

    and there’s also zero indication he’s actually improved on anything…. i mean maybe it took him 3 years to not be a pussy? i’m sure there’s a long line of allstars that we were saying similar things about…

  87. DRed

    When Avery Bradley was 20 he was unplayable for the Celtics. He made two all defense teams. When Tony Allen was 20 he was playing at Wabash State. He made six all defense teams. When kawhi Leonard was 20 he had a .512 TS% at San Diego State and he’s been NBA defensive player of the year twice. Doesn’t really mean anything for Frank because there’s a tiny sample size of 19-20 year old guards playing in the NBA and it’s even smaller when you try to find players roughly like Frank.

  88. Farfa Post author

    If anything, people who stan for Frank give me hope because it means that defense is still appreciated.

  89. bobneptune

    we can absolutely say something definitive about where frank’s career is going….

    No…. you actually can’t. You certainly say where his career has been, though. You/we are not that smart. As every stock portfolio since forever announces as a disclaimer ” Past results are no guarantee of future returns!”

    The sample size of 18 year olds that come to the NBA from another completely different culture, that were drafted by an organization with a specific vision and had a management change 10 days into his tenure, who played on systemless teams with very suspect coaching, who missed 39 games his second season riddled with injuries is extremely small.

    to say that he can’t get appreciably better on offense 2 weeks into his 21 year old season is just ludicrous on its face. He dropped into the league dominant on one side of the ball at 18.

    There is such a dick swinging component to this that is almost nauseating. IT has to be my way because I’m so fucking smart….. well …..maybe

  90. Ingmarrrr

    Also, it’s true that he had several stretches of showing promise in the past but nothing like this. I mean on defense. We could see his instincts, his ability to guard several positions, his on ball defense. But in the past few games he’s at a higher level.

    In Dallas there were moments where he was Mitch-like quick in getting from one area to another inside the 3 point line. Disrupting the ball in the paint, than jumping out to contest a 3. Amazing. It’d be great if the two of them can get 30+ minutes per game and play at this level.

  91. KnickfaninNJ

    Mavericks defeated Memphis 138 to 122 without KP, who took the night off with a knee injury. They had pretty balanced scoring.

  92. GoNYGoNYGo - Dolan must sell

    @99 – Yeah. I actually tried to DVR the game. I wanted to see Iggy and Wooten and some soccer game came up! I came here to find out why. I’m curious.

  93. Z-man

    The data on 19-20yo’s that get over 2000 minutes of playing time after not excelling at a prior level is pretty sparse. Neither Frank nor Knox were standout players at age 18, statistically speaking. Both were certainly drafted too early and too high based on projection rather than performance. Yet both had some plus skills and very good physical profiles.

    What makes it challenging as far as comparisons go is getting into the specific reasons why players fail after being drafted young. Are they physically overmatched (too short/slow/soft) for their NBA role? Did their skills not translate? Did they not develop? Low B-ball IQ? Injury-prone?

    There are 2 questions for which there will never be answers:

    1) How would players drafted at age 18 have fared if they played 2 additional years at a lower level (NCAA or Overseas) before becoming eligible for the draft? (including would they even have been drafted at all?)
    2) How would players who were drafted at ages 21 or older have done if they were drafted at age 18 and played 2000+ minutes in their first 2 seasons?

    And without answers to those questions, using the very sparse available data to project probable outcomes is likely to have an enormous margin of error.

    I think the fact that both Knox and Ntilikina are playing plus basketball thus far this year in significant minutes is promising. Both of them should be rookies this year rather than when they were drafted, and if they were playing as they are thus far this season, most fans would be optimistic.

  94. Z-man

    Also, playing teenagers 1000+ minutes as rookies is exceedingly rare. Only 57 players have done it since the league’s inception, and only 5 before the year 2000. Half of these seasons have occurred in the last decade. If you look at the players drafted between 2009 and 2014 that played 1000+ minutes as rookies, all of them except Exum are still playing significant minutes in the NBA. Granted, Wiggins, Harkless and LaVine are on the list…but if you ignore stats, just the fact that Knox and Frank have played as much as they have is correlated to long, productive NBA careers.

  95. Bo Nateman

    Forgive the perhaps naive question, but what is the opportunity cost to the team of playing Frank, Knox and even DSJ this season, even if they are long shots to be rotation players?

  96. Z-man

    Seriously, I think Fiz is committed to Frank and Knox at this point, they should get 20+ mpg for the next bunch of games. Frank would have to play himself out of the rotation, Knox seems more secure in his role. As to DSjr, it depends on how long Payton is out, he will probably get an opportunity this week and if he continues to play poorly will be benched. He has got to show at least something at this point to get minutes, right?

  97. bobneptune

    If anything, people who stan for Frank give me hope because it means that defense is still appreciated.

    Defense wins championships…..or more accurately, without defense one seldom wins championships…..It is always highly valued when it comes to winning big games….. watching offense is just more fun…..

  98. Bo Nateman

    So a few marginal wins with fungible players>evaluating more cost-effective players that could be part of a better core to Mills/Perry?
    Edit: Do you think Mills/Perry articulated to Fizz that they expect this to be a 30 something win team?

  99. Z-man

    Articulated or not, I think another 20 win or less season would lose Fiz his job. It doesn’t bode well for him that the Fire Fiz chants have started already.

  100. Hubert

    Despite all this talk I remain convinced that Fiz is going to bury this kid before thanksgiving and ruin any confidence he seems to be developing. I just don’t trust that man.

    If he’s smart, he’ll play Frank with Payton, Barrett, and Mitch. But then we’d only be able to play one PF instead of 3.

    Payton
    Frank
    Barrett
    Morris
    Robinson

    If you ran a million simulations of this season I’d bet that combination would have the best +/-

  101. Z-man

    Any realistic (barring injury) projection must have Randle playing over 30 mpg. Honestly, he should cut RJ’s minutes down to like 24-28 and give all of those extra minutes to other wings and guards. He should play Taj and Mitch more and Portis less unless he starts shooting better. If he keeps playing terribly, they should cut bait on Smith Jr.

  102. Z-man

    I’d also like to see them spot Iggy in to Knox’s role for an occasional shift in the first half and play Dot in RJ’s role. I don’t think it’s great for RJ’s development to play him big minutes when he keeps blowing FTs and his shooting is declining. Make the rookie earn it.

  103. Hubert

    Randle would play a lot, for sure. I would rotate him Morris and Mitch between the 4 and 5 and forget about Bobby Portis.

  104. Name is Bron - James Bron

    First, props to Z-man for trying to be objective about Ntilikina. This board would be insufferable if not for posters like Z-man and Frank.

    Z-man wrote: It would cost Fiz his opportunity to coach

    Talking about Frank’s performance after the game, Fiz had all the animation of a hostage reading a propaganda script. The rich irony here is that Frank may be the guy who could save the hides of Fiz and Perry, the two guys who wanted to trade him. Frank and Mitch playing 32mpg almost guarantees an above average defense. The offense could rank 22nd and the team would have 3o+ wins. Fiz has never in his career shown any aptitude in devising effective offensive schemes. Maybe events force him to play his best defenders and he bumbles to 30+ wins. 10-Man Rotation: Frank/Payton/RJ/Dotson/Morris/Randle/Mitch/Taj/Knox/Trier

  105. Z-man

    Portis is such a conundrum, really an infuriatingly stupid signing. It’s hard to bench a guy you’re paying $15 million to, so again, it’s unrealistic to consider lineups/rotations without him having a significant role. It’s more likely that he gets benched due to injury than due to DNP-CD.

    That’s why I don’t bother much with considering lineups w/o 15-20 mpg for Portis, I just don’t see it happening. As dumb as it may be, Mitch would be the odd man out before Portis, then Taj.

  106. Z-man

    First, props to Z-man for trying to be objective about Ntilikina.

    Thanks, I’m trying!

    Talking about Frank’s performance after the game, Fiz had all the animation of a hostage reading a propaganda script.

    I disagree on this, he seemed genuinely happy to me. I don’t see Fiz as someone who’s dug in on his opinions about players.

  107. KnickfaninNJ

    Without Robinson, our defense has plunged from around 22nd to 25th in the league to 28th or 29th. Our offense hasn’t budged from being in the bottom three. If both Frank and Robinson play significant our defense will probably be a little wise than twentieth. I don’t see much hope for our offense unless the motion and passing we showed in the Dallas game becomes the rule rather than the exception.

  108. djphan

    When Avery Bradley was 20 he was unplayable for the Celtics. He made two all defense teams.

    bradley played 150 minutes as a 20yo rookie… his 2p fg% was sub 40% but he also only attempted 60 shots the entire year…. the next year he was above 50% and for his career he was 47% … frank is a good deal away from this trajectory….

    When Tony Allen was 20 he was playing at Wabash State. He made six all defense teams.

    so we’re getting territory where it’s impossible to compare…. at 23 he put up a 2p fg% of 48% and a ws48 of .103… frank is miles away from this kind of production…

    When kawhi Leonard was 20 he had a .512 TS% at San Diego State and he’s been NBA defensive player of the year twice. Doesn’t really mean anything for Frank because there’s a tiny sample size of 19-20 year old guards playing in the NBA and it’s even smaller when you try to find players roughly like Frank.

    ts has never been a good forward looking metric…. and he also put up a ws48 of .171 as 20 yo in the nba… i have no idea what point you want to make putting this guy in range of frank’s outcomes….

  109. Totes McGoats as Totes McGoats

    RE: Point Guard

    Once DSJ is back, Fiz just needs to go with Ntilikina as the starter, DSJ as the backup, and Kadeem Allen as the 3rd PG. Let them settle into their roles, and draft a PG if we need to. And if DSJ overtakes Ntilikina- so be it. Give them both 24 minutes a game. What’s he got to lose? If Allen doesn’t stick, we have Hinton in the G League. Just let them play without lookin over their shoulders.

    I never in a million years that a franchise could continuously screw up the most important position on the floor, unless you have Jordan, Kobe, or Lebron. Even with the talent we’ve brought in at that position since I’ve been a Knicks fan. Rod Strickland, Mark Jackson, Marbury, Lin, Derek Harper even though he was on the downside of his career, and even Charlie Ward was consistently solid his entire Knicks tenure. I guess I should have seen it coming after what happened with Strickland, but you don’t expect this level of continuous fuckery y’kno? Part of me is happy for Ja that we didn’t draft him

  110. ptmilo

    Without Robinson, our defense has plunged from around 22nd to 25th in the league to 28th or 29th.

    ?

    DRTG with Mitch on ytd: 114.06
    DRTG with Mitch off ytd: 109.36

  111. KnickfaninNJ

    Sorry PT, I stand corrected. I just went by looking a basketball-reference team defense rankings, but for some reason the default year when you load the page is not the current year, so I got it wrong. Reading the correct season, And using the their adjusted rankings, we are currently 17th in defense and 30th in offense in the league. Our defense has not suffered with Robinson out. If anything that is better than before.

    By the way, the current situation where our defense is much better than our offense is not something I expected at all at the beginning of the season.

  112. JK47

    We’re 23rd in defensive rating. What’s this “adjusted ranking” you’re referring to? D-rating is points per 100 possessions and we rank 23rd in that. What am I missing here?

  113. Z-man

    You’d be hard-pressed to convince me that Portis is costing them wins right now. He singlehandedly beat the Bulls and is averaging a double-double per 36. He’s shooting at career-low numbers, should regress back to mean at about .530 TS%. If he’s at that number he’s a decent 15-20mpg backup C…just grossly overpaid.

  114. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    How are the Sixers 13.5
    -point favorites against a 4-5 team and the Lakers 10-point favorites against a 6-2 team? Do the bookies know something about the Saturday night hobbies of the away teams?

  115. Hubert

    There are too many players on this team and you can’t fit them all into the game. Some of them are just going to have to sit and wait til an injury opens up time. Bobby Portis should be chief among them. He has no trade value, he’s not here for the long term, he doesn’t make the game easier for anyone, and he’s not good. His minutes are fucking everything up for everyone and it’s amazing he gets so many of them.

    We need a system. Among our three equally crappy shooting guards, for instance, we should play Ellington now, trade him in January, then slide Trier or Dotson into his spot. Or ditch Ellington and give the job to Trier because he’s young. Whatever, just don’t change it up every single game.

  116. Name is Bron - James Bron

    Regarding team defensive rating when Frank and Mitch share the court:
    2018-19………31 minutes………..107.3 DRtg (NYK would have ranked 8th in DRtg for entire season)
    2018-19………32 minutes………..104.3 DRtg (NYK would be ranked 13th at present)

    Not a large sample but does hint at the impact Frank-Mitch tandem could have. Plus there’s plenty of room for improvement especially from Mitch on defense.

  117. ptmilo

    How are the Sixers 13.5
    -point favorites against a 4-5 team and the Lakers 10-point favorites against a 6-2 team? Do the bookies know something about the Saturday night hobbies of the away teams?

    bookies don’t think charlotte is a 4-5 team but spread is compressed bc no simmons. and bookies don’t think toronto is a 6-2 team without lowry and ibaka.

  118. Z-man

    @132 Portis’ minutes aren’t really fucking anything up for anyone. Mitch has been totally self-limiting…he’s averaging 6.4 fouls per 36, and has had two sprained ankles, two injured fingers and a concussion. Randle, Taj, and Morris all played plenty of minutes in the last game.

    Whatever the system is, Portis will be a significant part of it, so why bother harping on scenarios where he’s not playing?

  119. ptmilo

    Regarding team defensive rating when Frank and Mitch share the court:
    2018-19………31 minutes………..107.3 DRtg (NYK would have ranked 8th in DRtg for entire season)

    not sure what you are doing here but mitch and frank played 357 minutes together last year. team drtg was 110.36 which would have been 19th in the league. this uses the official nba definition of possessions, which differs slightly from the bref definition.

  120. Name is Bron - James Bron

    Regarding team defensive rating when Frank and Mitch share the court:
    2018-19…31 minutes………107.3 DRtg (NYK would have ranked 8th in DRtg for entire season)
    2018-19……….32 minutes………104.3 DRtg (NYK would be ranked 13th at present)

    My mistake, 2nd line should read 2019-20
    2018-19………31 minutes………..107.3 DRtg (NYK would have ranked 8th in DRtg for entire season)
    2019-20………32 minutes………..104.3 DRtg (NYK would be ranked 13th at present)

  121. ptmilo

    actually it looks there is a drtg definition discrepancy in the nba data causing conflicting information. not sure what the right resolution is at the moment.

  122. Name is Bron - James Bron

    not sure what you are doing here but mitch and frank played 357 minutes together last year. team drtg was 110.36 which would have been 19th in the league. this uses the official nba definition of possessions, which differs slightly from the bref definition.

    I had the MP wrong for 2018-19 but the team DRtg was 107.3 when they were on the floor together according to nba.com. A team DRtg of 107.3 would have ranked the Knicks 8th in team DRtg in 2018-19.

    https://stats.nba.com/lineups/advanced/?Season=2018-19&SeasonType=Regular%20Season&GroupQuantity=2&TeamID=1610612752

    https://stats.nba.com/teams/defense/?sort=DEF_RATING&dir=-1&Season=2018-19&SeasonType=Regular%20Season

    pt milo, stats detective

    Inspector Clousseau?

  123. Hubert

    Whatever the system is, Portis will be a significant part of it, so why bother harping on scenarios where he’s not playing?

    I respect where you’re coming from but I don’t share your certainty that Portis is undroppable. I agree with James Bron: wins matter more than Portis.

    Portis’ minutes aren’t really fucking anything up for anyone

    I think he’s forcing everyone to play the wrong position and that’s a huge reason why we’re terrible. Whenever he is in, we have too many bigs on the court.

    If you took Portis out of the picture, Randle could play as a small ball C where he is most effective. Morris could play as small ball 4 where he is most effective. Couple them with Payton and Barrett as your primary play makers and let Knox, Frank, Trier, Ellington compete for who fills out the lineup best. Now you have space, ball movement, scorers. It’s a modern NBA lineup. That’s the kind of team we all thought could win 28-30 games.

    I’m ok playing those guys out of position to get Mitch on the court because Mitch is important. Bobby Portis is not.

    I think eventually Fiz will figure this out.

  124. TheClashFan

    @97

    I can’t believe Gordon Hayward broke his hand. That guy must have really pissed off some witch some time.

    Maybe we should start calling him Gordon Macbeth Hayward?

  125. Early Bird

    actually it looks there is a drtg definition discrepancy in the nba data causing conflicting information. not sure what the right resolution is at the moment.

    I think part of the issue is whether the site aggregates the numbers from individual performance or from the boxscore of each game. The first method misses team turnovers and other possessions not attributed to an individual player. I found that description on bkref of their own numbers and inconsistencies between their own pages.

    More generally, I think some people disagree on what counts as a possession.

  126. thenoblefacehumper

    I know you really want to make these tiny samples a thing, but Mario Hezonja and Allonzo Trier shared more minutes (460) and had the same DRtg. Same with Mudiay and Trier. Don’t even get me started about the Lance Thomas-Trier defensive juggernaut.

    I get that you have to reach far outside the box score to make this case of yours, but these kinds of stats just aren’t as useful as you seem to think.

  127. TheClashFan

    Yeah, I don’t know that just a Mitch and Frank pairing alone would make a huge difference on D. A lot depends on who else is out there.

    If they are out there with DSJ and Portis….ugh. However, if out there with Dotson and Taj, that might be interesting, but scoring would probably suffer.

    I think with Frank, the key to him becoming a solid rotation guy (3 and D wing, I think) is his health even more than Fiz’s rotations. He’s been dinged up a bit and that may have largely contributed to his lousy year last year. Sure, Fiz will likely keep playing hot hands, and thus Frank will probably still see some quick hooks in the future. Again, he’s got to shoot better over a nice, long, healthy stretch, and the court time will take care of itself.

    Anyways, it’s Jets time…

  128. Name is Bron - James Bron

    I know you really want to make these tiny samples a thing, but Mario Hezonja and Allonzo Trier shared more minutes (460) and had the same DRtg. Same with Mudiay and Trier. Don’t even get me started about the Lance Thomas-Trier defensive juggernaut.

    So you’re reading my posts now? I get that you don’t respect me, but how about ptmilo? His reply to me implied that 357 minutes was not some miniscule sample.

    You appear to have missed the gist of the Frank-Mitch pairing stat. We have reason to believe that Frank and Mitch individually are above average defenders at the two key defensive positions. We do that through the eye test and +/- data. You start there and then look at how they have performed together to date. 8th ranked team DRtg in 360 minutes is promising when you consider they probably played a lot of minutes with poor defenders like THJ, Knox, and Hez. Dot’s OK but below average. Vonleh is the only average+ defender who would have been on the court with them.

  129. geo

    I am ready for some serious analtypical debate today…

    before we begin, I just want you to know: that I am right, and, you are wromg…and, the reason is: because you are wrong, and, I am right…

    well, there it is…shall we begin…please, test me at your intellectual peril…

  130. Grocer

    to say that he can’t get appreciably better on offense 2 weeks into his 21 year old season is just ludicrous on its face.

    To say that Frank can relatively easily become stupendously better is ludicrous. That’s what he needs to do to become average, and that’s what people have been posting about happening.

    I think Z-man’s right about playing time though. Frank will continue to get solid minutes until he lays a complete egg and then gets sat for a few games. If he plays well when he comes back he’ll get minutes again. Same with Knox, same with DSJr, Barrett’s minutes are probably going to shorten soon. I too would like to see Iggy getting more time but I suspect he’s not been good in practice. As far as I can tell, Fiz is sticking with his “earn playing time” thing even when it’s detrimental to outcomes.

    I’d like to see Mitch’s minutes go up some, he’s averaging 17 and it’d be nice if that got above 20. They’ve been fairly consistent (like Frank’s) so I’m guessing they are that number for some set of reasons. I don’t know what the ideal amount of minutes is for developing young players. I suspect there isn’t one.

  131. ptmilo

    holy shit did i just put a semi-legitimate life activity on hold to figure this out. the normal urge when you spaz out on useless busywork is to futilely pretend to conjure meaning by forcing other people to hear all about your doodle party and that is exactly the instinct i plan to follow here. geo i will call you later with the appendix.

    the basic problem is that nba.com seems to have changed something about its lineups page so that the defrtg on its page no longer foots to either its team def rtg pages or a PPP used by, say, basketball reference or pbpstats.com. so if you look at all the 5 man lineups for a team in 2018-19 the weighted def rtgs don’t match the def rtg on the team page; i asked someone who is all computery to looks at several teams and it doesn’t seem like it can be due to rounding or something estoteric like that. the knicks in 2018-19 for example had a 112.9 team def rating but weighting all their 5 man lineups by minutes and def rating comes in much, much lower (106.8 to 109.7 depending on how you do rounding). In all cases, though, they were the 26th-28th defense.

    incidentally when you start to look at how many lineup combinations a team has in a single year all the weird permutational factoids like “if you shuffle a deck of cards well it is overwhelmingly likely you hold a sequence that has never and will never be duplicated anywhere in the universe” start to feel less counterintuitive. the knicks for example used 632 different lineups last year if you only include lineups that played fewer than 5 total minutes on the year (and in lineups order doesn’t matter).

    so if we use pbp stats PPP data, which remain self-consistent, then Mitch/Frank lineups in 18-19 gave up 110.36/100 which would have been good for exactly where the nets finished: 14th in the league.

  132. Z-man

    But seriously, is there anything more noisy than on-off 2-player combo stats stats? I can’t fathom how they could be remotely useful. There is no possible way to control other variables so that the impact of the 2-player combo can be evaluated.

  133. djphan

    has lineup data been useful for anything other than filling up half of zach lowe’s word count requirement?

  134. Z-man

    I’m guessing that full-lineup data is a bit less noisy since you don’t have to control for your own players, but probably only at the very largest samples.

  135. alsep73

    Iseman:

    Knicks say Mitchell Robinson is in the NBA concussion protocol and will miss the next two games, beginning tonight

    Only silver lining of this is that it’s forced Fiz to take Gibson out of the dungeon. Hopefully, there’s room for him to play (preferably at Portis’ expense) even once Mitch is back.

  136. rama picked up his option

    before we begin, I just want you to know: that I am right, and, you are wrong…and, the reason is: because you are wrong, and, I am right…

    Analtypical geo for the win…

  137. Farfa Post author

    Advanced stats exist only to allow me to make some ridiculous commentary after every game

    Take that for data

  138. Stratomatic: Frequently wrong, but never in doubt

    I would’t put too much weight on 2 man lineups given the potential huge variations of basketball skills among the other 3 players on the court (not to mention the opposition) and small sample issues unless I was also using basketball common sense in combination with what I was seeing on the court.

    For example, I wouldn’t pay attention to what the data shows about most random PG/C combinations, but if I was watching Nash/Amare and it seemed like they were executing the P&R especially well game after game and it was leading to better offense, I might be interested in looking at that combination and some of the more common 3, 4, and 5 man combinations to see if the data supports or refutes that observation. If the data supports it also, there’s a pretty good chance your observation is right.

    IMO, the lineup samples themselves are typically too small to allow them to dictate your decision making. They will be too noisy and wrong too often to stand alone. You want some combination of observation, basketball common sense, and data.

  139. ptmilo

    But seriously, is there anything more noisy than on-off 2-player combo stats stats? I can’t fathom how they could be remotely useful. There is no possible way to control other variables so that the impact of the 2-player combo can be evaluated.

    yes i mean unadjusted two-man lineup data is mainly used as a way of confirming beliefs and it is extremely close to worthless when were are talking about samples in the hundreds of minutes. for this reason many stat-focused teams have hired professional statisticians to attempt to make this sort of data slightly, and really only slightly, more robust via all the same tricks used in the public summary stats (regularization, adjusting for teammate and opponent quality) and many more still; and even then the noise looms very large.

    one guy who has consulted multiple nba teams on these sorts of sample size issues has a blog that has sometimes discussed the way he thinks about them. unfortunately he’s not really a popularizer and you have to be pretty fluent in statistics to get much from it (undergrad stats quite possibly not enough). the high level takeaway almost always is: unadjusted lineup data is less informative than you think 99% of the time. if your sample is under 2000 minutes then 99.99%.

    https://squared2020.com/

  140. thenoblefacehumper

    You mean to tell me pairing Emmanuel Mudiay with Allonzo Trier doesn’t guarantee you a lockdown defense :(

  141. Z-man

    It’s probably worse than useless, actually detrimental since any conclusions supported by the model are just as likely to be wrong as right.

  142. Name is Bron - James Bron

    But seriously, is there anything more noisy than on-off 2-player combo stats stats? I can’t fathom how they could be remotely useful. There is no possible way to control other variables so that the impact of the 2-player combo can be evaluated.

    I agree. I used to review a lot of lineup data 3 or 4 years ago and arrived at that conclusion. BUT, the example I gave is an exception. The key is that we know every player with the possible exception of Vonleh had to be worse than Mitch and Frank on defense (Mudiay, THJ, Knox, Hez, Knox, Dot, etc). All of those guys except Vonleh are below average defenders. So you are in effect controlling for the other most important variable in a Mitch-Frank pairing. The numbers are more reliable than adjusted data. There are, of course, other variables which I suspect would cancel out. For example, if Frank-Mitch-Mudiay were in the lineup and Mudiay guarded the opposing 1, that would tend to make DRtg even worse because team defense is best when Frank guards the primary ball handler. If Frank-Mitch played a lot of garbage time minutes together, that would tend to make DRtg look better.

    There’s another piece of lineup data that buttresses my case. The lineup of Frank/THJ/Dot/Vonleh/Mitch were starters for 93 minutes and had a plus net rating. That’s not a large sample but it’s not trivial either. I feel the same way about the 357 minutes, not large but not trivial for my SPECIFIC CASE

  143. ptmilo

    It’s probably worse than useless, actually detrimental

    ’tis worse than useless
    actually detrimental
    knicks win in april

  144. Z-man

    I agree. I used to review a lot of lineup data 3 or 4 years ago and arrived at that conclusion.

    You should have stopped right here…

  145. rama picked up his option

    The Francophobes are just as irrational as the Francophiles. Arguing that he is incapable of playing even at the level of a replacement player is bizarre when he’s playing at that level already this season.

    Beyond that, most on the board would agree that counting stats do not adequately capture defensive impact. And yet when people suggest that Frank’s impact is greater than the numbers say, somehow that can’t be possible. It’s a little weird.

  146. Name is Bron - James Bron

    You should have stopped right here…

    I gave you the logic. Everybody is talking in generalities. And ptmilo is claiming there’s a bug in nba.com and wants us to use his special metric because some computery guy checked it out. It’s comical.

  147. thenoblefacehumper

    The Francophobes are just as irrational as the Francophiles. Arguing that he is incapable of playing even at the level of a replacement player is bizarre when he’s playing at that level already this season.

    Yeah, the people arguing the .432 TS%, -4.3 BPM guy isn’t good are just as irrational as the people arguing he has latent power that will be unleashed by the Spurs or something. For sure. It’s good that in his third season, our eighth overall pick has arguably reached replacement level in a small sample likely buttressed by unsustainable shooting. That’s what you like to see.

    Beyond that, most on the board would agree that counting stats do not adequately capture defensive impact. And yet when people suggest that Frank’s impact is greater than the numbers say, somehow that can’t be possible. It’s a little weird.

    The counting stats definitely don’t give you a complete picture. Ntilikina’s impact is probably greater than what they indicate. Perhaps his -4.3 career BPM should be closer to -3.5 or maybe even -3.0. That would change everything.

  148. KnickfaninNJ

    As I said before, it’s surprising to me that our defense is not awful. The defense very often does not look great, especially with neither Robinson nor Ntilikina on the floor, which is probably most of the minutes. Is Fiz actually doing something right?

  149. Z-man

    What a win for the Jets!

    (just kidding, those were two really bad teams. Jamal Adams is for real, though!)

  150. Stratomatic: Frequently wrong, but never in doubt

    It’s probably worse than useless, actually detrimental since any conclusions supported by the model are just as likely to be wrong as right.

    Playing basketball for decades has taught players, coaches, and close observers that you need a variety of different skills on the court at the same time to maximize the team’s output. That’s why the sport developed positions with different skill profiles.

    The problem is that players do NOT fit some neat formula of skills at each position.

    So coaches are trying to maximize the output with players of varying skills that may not match the typical profile at each position or whatever system they are trying to run.

    So it becomes more of a skills assessment checklist, common sense from years of observation, and then trial and error to see what’s actually working on the court the best.

    1. If everyone is going to run P&Rs, we need to switch more and try to find players that are capable of switching.

    2. If everyone is going to switch more, we need to try to target specific players with picks and create mismatches and perhaps even go back to posting up again.

    There’s an constant battle between current knowledge, new data, and what’s actually working on the court. But you have to pay attention to what’s actually working (the longer the better).

  151. Knew Your Nicks

    Stats & life ain’t fair
    You can press your opponent pretty hard and make him lose the ball or the shot or make him go out of bounds or called for travelling and get one big shit on your stat sheet.
    And you can stand somewhere on the court scratching your ass and get the ball by luck and credited with an offensive rebound or a steal.

  152. TheClashFan

    Jets vs. Giants observation: both teams have talented young QBs who desperately need much much better OLs before they can be fairly evaluated. I mean, there were 2 stud RBs in this game, yet neither could do anything behind horrific run blocking.

  153. KnickfaninNJ

    Thinking about it, maybe our rebounding is contributing to our defense. That is one we are good at.

  154. Z-man

    Frank is a potential game-changing defender, and it’s fair to conclude that when he adds more value on defense than he subtracts on offense, he’s a very valuable rotation player. He actually had a meh offensive game by most objective standards vs. Dallas…14 points on 12 shots, 4 assists and 1 turnover, 2 offensive rebounds. If he could do that night after night, he’s got to play.

    The problem is that he’s not going to go 4-5 from 3 very often, and he still was terrible from 2, didn’t get to the line, and he rarely gets 6 rebounds. So the bar for being a plus player on a regular basis depends on things that he has been terrible at thus far at every level. For example, if he goes 2-5 on 3’s, that’s still a 40% clip but now he has 8 points on 12 shots and probably is a net negative. It will take a lot more than one game to establish that he has the makings of a net plus player. And anyone who thinks that he’s ever been a net plus player up until this point is not paying attention.

  155. Stratomatic: Frequently wrong, but never in doubt

    @172

    It’s worth considering the possibility that your favorite model may be flawed.

    I remember a lot of people here thought if you disagreed with Wages of Wins it was because you were dolt that didn’t understand the stats revolution. It turned out that Berry didn’t understand basketball.

    Hell, I remember when a lot people here thought Kanter was a very good basketball player and that wasn’t too long ago. All these models are still badly flawed.

  156. Early Bird

    Our rebounding and TOV% on D are middle of the pack, often that’s enough.

    Moreover, we’ve played a decent amount of garbage time so far. I can’t help but think that contributes.

    And anecdotally, our team goes on a lot of runs. We aren’t as good as our best runs or as bad as our worst runs. But the human mind tends to notice extremes more often than the consistencies so we focus on the times players blew past Portis. Also the reason we notice Frank make good plays on D more than his mediocre D.

  157. djphan

    The Francophobes are just as irrational as the Francophiles. Arguing that he is incapable of playing even at the level of a replacement player is bizarre when he’s playing at that level already this season.

    who is saying he can’t play at replacement level? that’s quite easy!

    the problem is whether or not you want that kind of player as your pg… some ppl want him to start!

    i’ve written plenty of words about frank for the last 3 years… everything i’ve ever said remains true to this day and has stood the test of time… nothing about that has been irrational….

    but if you still think so… i invite you and anyone else to take a deeper dive on this… seriously i’m sick and tired of reading 500 variations of ‘you’re dumb’ and ‘you don’t know basketball’ from frank zealots…. it is tiring and i will always be respectful… but it’s seriously time to put up or shutup…. show evidence… demonstrate your claims….

    what about his game is repeatable? what about his game is projectable? what’s the precedent for guys like him? what makes him similar? what makes him different? what about his game has changed from last year to this year? it’s really not that hard if you spend more than 5 minutes to think about it… everyone spends that much time typing words on this site… and it seems analysis all around the internet can’t even answer those basic questions about frank….

    it’s like ppl just rather fight about it…. does anyone want an honest discussion about it?

  158. Z-man

    Frank had 4 defensive rebounds, 3 steals and 4 blocks….those are exceptional defensive numbers for a guard. And guess what? They’re in the box score! If you’re playing good defense, you are going to see it in those numbers

    Setting screens, creating space by drawing defenders, boxing out on the offensive boards, hockey assists, passes to cutters that get fouled in the act are all ways that add value on offense but aren’t captured in the box score.

    At some point, the box score numbers catch up with the intangibles.

  159. Knew Your Nicks

    There are lucky stats like rebounds steals or assists that come effortlessly or have not much value during the game and also great plays and hard fought possessions that never reach the box score such as great passes, tough press D, screens, Blockouts, traps, dives, help Ds++++
    Stats are very helpful but they should not been taken as the bible.
    Watching the game while checking also the stats gives a much better picture of a player’s performance.

  160. Z-man

    Both the stats and the eye test confirm that Frank is excellent on D and terrible on O. Not sure what we’re arguing about.

  161. Knew Your Nicks

    To me Frank seems promising on O and underappreciated on D.
    Box scores don’t seem to agree tho.

  162. rama picked up his option

    @72

    I’m kind of surprised by the intellectual dishonesty of this post. Changing the frame of reference is the kind of tactic people use when they can’t make a good argument. Putting forward his “career” TS is absurd in the context of my post.

    In some ways, all this talk about Frank is an argument about how to argue. And probably about the complexities of using metrics and analytics in the context of team defense.

  163. Z-man

    I haven’t read much about him being underappreciated on D, even the skeptics stipulate that. As to his O being promising, so long as you disregard everything he has done so far, sure!

  164. Z-man

    @189, I don’t see anything wrong with JK’s post, calling it intellectually dishonest is way over the top.

  165. Silky Johnson, Fleet Admiral of the Tank Armada

    Here are some things everyone should agree on: Frank is a plus defender, horribly bad on O, and a net negative player (probably replacement level overall). His prognosis is dim even if he’s only 21. He should still get minutes.

    In order to have a productive conversation I think the question shouldn’t be “should Frank be getting minutes on a bad team?” The answer to that question is obviously “yes”. Otherwise the minutes go to useless veterans who we’d have to overpay if they played well. The harder and more interesting question is: What’s the max you pay for Frank (if you pay him at all) if he posts, say, a .030 WS/48 at the end of his option year? What about .050? Say that the WS improvement comes from learning to shoot around the rim somewhat–does that change anything?

    In that situation I’d probably let him go if it was anything above the min, though I could be talked into maybe like 4/12 or 4/15. But people should start staking some claims by putting a number on their Frankophilia or Frankophobia, because most everyone has been violently agreeing with one another despite the appearance of disagreement.

  166. JK47

    I think this is a unique situation for a player like Frank.

    We’re a franchise with an ancestral history of being a great defensive team, and a lot of us are old enough to remember that great defensive team and we’re still proud of it. Then that team was broken up, and it has been 20 years of horseshit defense, just one skullfuckingly horrible defensive team after another, year after year, lather rinse repeat. Change the players, change the coaches, doesn’t matter. Still shitty. We had that one fluky Jared Jeffries year where we were like #6 in defensive rating but other than that it’s been a very long continual embarrassment.

    So along comes Frank Ntilikina, with his long arms and undeniable skill at breaking up pick and rolls, and harassing ballhandlers and moving well laterally and generally playing very good defense. It’s like you came up to a man walking across the Sahara Desert with no water and handed him a big old ice cold jug of orange flavored Gatorade. The Gatorade is exceptionally delicious.

    Most other people who aren’t walking across the Sahara Desert would take a sip of the Gatorade and be like “yeah, that Gatorade is okay” but not us. We are really, really, really thirsty for somebody who can defend. Desperate, some might say. Some of us have grainy memories of Mase bodying up someone who is trying to post him up, or Derek Harper handchecking an opposing point guard, or Oak throwing down a hard foul against a Washington Bullet who’s trying to make a layup. Some of us remember.

    So we place a hope in Frank that might be irrational. We will overlook the fact that he has played 1/10 of a season and has not made a free throw, or that he struggles badly trying to convert an undefended layup, or that he is very obviously not anything resembling what we know to be the player called “point guard.”

    So we clap harder. Come on, Tinkerbell. We believe in you. Clap clap clap.

  167. Z-man

    because most everyone has been violently agreeing with one another despite the appearance of disagreement

    It doesn’t get much more silky than this!

  168. Z-man

    I was aimlessly flipping through channels and wound up settling on senior golf. Retief Goosen and Jeff Maggert were locked in a dramatic sudden death playoff. Goosen missed a 5-footer to win in the first playoff hole. On the third hole, Goosen drives into a bunker and Maggert hits it down the middle. Then Goosen his a great long bunker shot to 6 feet. Maggert, probably pooping in his pants, steps up and holes it out from 123 yards out. Meanwhile, Scott McCarren was drinking wine on the clubhouse veranda and learned that Maggert’s hole-out eagle just won him the Schwab Cup and $440,000.

  169. bobneptune

    Both the stats and the eye test confirm that Frank is excellent on D and terrible on O. Not sure what we’re arguing about.

    That was a fair argument until the last 5 consecutive game (3 vs playoff teams ) and coincidentally with no chance of him being yanked because of injury and death in the family, he has been “good” offensively 18/39 from the field and 8/15 from 3 plus lots of boards assists, steals and blocks……

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