New York Knicks 117 – Orlando Magic 131 – Game Recap

All that talk about pizza a few days ago really left me hungry for the delicious pie until I came back to Italy yesterday, so I did what any sane person would have done: even if Lady Farfa and I had just three hour of sleep between the two of us in the last 48 hours, we promptly went and ate our first pizza in a couple weeks.

Damn, it was as good as we remembered.

Sadly, it wasn’t the only thing that I remembered that well. Approaching this game, I hoped to see some development from our future pieces, and was instead treated to pretty much the same old story of the last six games, give or take: our young guys are stalling – which is predictable, even understandable for green players – or regressing, while our “veterans” are performing just mediocre enough to keep them in the game too much. The silver lining is that our so-called veterans aren’t neither that old nor weighing on our future cap space that much, which is a strong divergence from the past wasted seasons, but it’s hard to wash away the bitter aftertaste, even with the most amazing salsiccia e friarielli this world has to offer.

The good:

– Trey Burke (31 pts, 3 rebs, 2 ast, +6 +/-) had his second strong outing in a row tonight, scoring efficiently to the tune of 31 points on 20 shots in 29 minutes of play. He’s not a great playmaker by any means, but in the barren landscape that is our abysmal team offense his shot creating skills shine very bright from time to time. He was one of just two Knicks with a positive plus-minus and looked very inspired, even notching a couple steals on defense. I can’t help thinking that Trey will be the first Knick to get traded this season, as in today’s NBA he represents the best value you can extract from our roster among the disposable players (low salary, position of need, duration of the contract). I don’t think there’s any doubt left about what his ceiling his, and that’s “second-string PG for a middling contender”. I guess San Antonio or Memphis could like him for a brief stint.

– Enes Kanter (21 pts, 19 rebs, 3 ast, -4 +/-) put up a great stat line with his usual dominance of the offensive glass and voracity with regards to putbacks. I put him in this column because his output is hard to completely ignore and because it’s hard to find that many “good” performances, but honestly it’s dispiriting to see Enes play these days, even as he keeps making fantasy owners happy with his rebounding numbers. I already wrote something about it, but I can’t imagine how bad must be to be a teammate of his during this stint. Teams are clearly attacking him night after night in the PnR and he straightly refuses to do anything about it, at least in terms of effort (if you’re not born with the agility of a ballerina, you can’t teach that to yourself, but you can learn how to sweat it out on defense, dammit!). He also is exacerbating his tendence to grab the offensive rebound and ignore everything around him. I’m not sure Fiz means that when he says “You eat what you kill”: It’s not like I’m even angry at Kanter, I’ve just given up on his value for this team. Sadly we can’t even trade him, as his contract is too bloated and it’s not like there are that many teams needing a scoring center who kills your defense. He would be great as a situational player on a good team where you could call his number when you needed a little oomph around the basket; here he’s just taking up space and minutes while providing nothing for our future.

– Tim Hardaway (32 pts. 2 rebs, 2 ast, -24 +/-) completes the trilogy of useless quite efficient scoring nights. How can a thing be efficient and useless at the same time, you might ask? Welcome to your 2018-19 Knicks. They have played just 17 games this season but it looks like a clear trend: on any given night a guy or two will deliver the goods on offense, then you realize that his overall value was at best insignificant, since basketball is, at its heart, a team sport, and that guy looked like a competent opera singer performing only his solo act, completely oblivious to the fact that he was also supposed to provide baritonal backing vocals to the ensemble. You might single out his performance, but the show will be sorely lacking. Tim is that: an average player who’s not being bad at shouldering the scoring load but is performing poorly at everything else basketball. He’s dead last in plus/minus among fellow Knickerbockers, second to last in net rating (not counting poor Luke Kornet) to Kevin Knox while putting up the highest usage of the team and the fourth highest TS%. I guess the picture is starting to get well-defined.

The bad:

– Mitchell Robinson (0 pts, 2 rebs, 1 stl, -3 +/-) had one of the nights we were worried about at the beginning of the season. He just played 9 minutes because of foul trouble, and looked totally overwhelmed by Vucevic, who’s not athletic but very crafty and able to get his defenders out of position with good activity in the paint. Robinson committed a couple of stupid fouls in the first four minutes and his night just unraveled from there. If only we had someone who could pass him the ball near the rim two or three times a quarter he could probably mitigate this bad defensive nights, but at the present moment there are nights like this one where he can’t be counted on, and that’s ok. It’s his 16th professional game in two years.

– Kevin Knox (4 pts, 2 rebs, 25% FG, -16 +/-) must really be a beast on 3-on-3 basketball. Rookies have a definite tendence to utterly suck, but usually you catch something in that sea of basketball horror that makes you think that guy could be a contributor for your team down the line. Frank has defense; Mitch has amazing potential as a rim running center and only needs to get better at some defending precepts; Dotson has competence on the boards and passable defense; Trier has shot creating ability. I don’t see anything in Knox. If he turns into a rotation player by the end of his second year I’ll be very surprised; I hope that’s what’s gonna happen, but if the kid had been selected in the midst of the first round and was out of, say, Gonzaga, he would be seeing much less playing time. I’m all for force feeding opportunities to unproven young players, but I don’t feel like Knox is doing anything to deserve these chances night after night. He’s shooting 33% from the field (and 34% from three, which is still not on par with the league averages), posting the lowest Reb% of the team, the second lowest Ast% to Mitch (who’s only touching the ball under the rim and on the perimeter for useless handoffs) and the lowest net rating, all the while having the fourth highest usage on the team. If I made you guess, based on their numbers, which one of our rookies was the undrafted one, I think you’d have a hard time not pointing out to Knox, unless you went for Dolan’s Razor.

Fun-sized bits:

– Frank Ntilikina (0 pts, 2 rebs, 2 ast, +10 +/-) impacted the game in a very visibile way just with his defense, as suggested by his team-high plus-minus. As for his offense: he shot only once in 22 minutes. This time he wasn’t just timid: he never got the ball to shoot, more or less. I’m becoming very concerned with the Knicks offense. How is it even possibile to record just 12 assists on a night where you score 117? Fizdale better start putting in the work with X’s and O’s, or the NY press’ leash will get shorter by the day.

– Emmanuel Mudiay seems a bit improved. The problem is that his starting point was so low that an improved Mudiay is still nothing to write home about. He’s posting career highs on advanced stats as WS/48 (.052), VORP (0.1), TS% (54.6), and none of them are good. On defense he looks better, but his DRtg is the lowest of his whole career. I agree with the principle that we have to see what we have with him, but if this is the improved Mudiay, well, I’ll pass (but Zo won’t, hehehe).

– Allonzo and Dot played just 13 minutes apiece. Trey Burke played 29 minutes and Kanter 38. Definitely not pleased with Fiz tonight. What good comes from nights where you don’t play your rookie contract guys to pursue a win (and fall very short of that, just look at the final score)? This one was positively Hornacek-like.

– The Magic started 13 for 15 from the field. Who knew that removing our two best perimeter defenders from the starting lineup would yield such a result?

Well, another loss weighing on our record, which is tank-good. Let’s try to stay positive and wait for the Blazers to come to town on Tuesday, where Lillard’s going to torch anyone not named Ntilikina for 40 points. I hope to see a different starting unit but, more importantly, a rotation that has both eyes on player development.

Until then!

 

 

 

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Farfa

Just an Italian basketball fan with an insane passion for all things Knicks (and yes, linguine Alfredo is not a real Italian dish).

103 thoughts to “New York Knicks 117 – Orlando Magic 131 – Game Recap”

  1. Good to have you back, Farfa!

    Re: Mudiay, I just don’t see what the end game is. His cap hold is north of $10mm, so we’re definitely not keeping it. The only thing we can use to sign him is our cap space, the biannual, or the room exception. We’ll want to conserve our cap space for a max free agent. And if he does pan out, the biannual and the room won’t be enough to keep him. And all those resources would be better used on Trier, anyway.

    So what’s the point of giving this guy any time and screwing with the 20 year old PG who we actually have control of for 2.5 more seasons?

  2. Re: Mudiay, I just don’t see what the end game is.

    There is no ‘endgame’. Fizdale is a terrible coach trying to ‘develop’ talent-less players without a system in place. Total mess.

  3. If I had to guess, I’d say that Mudiay’s development was a tertiary goal given to Fizdale by Mills/Perry to show the world they were right to trade for him. In the end I don’t think it will matter, and Frank didn’t seem to have a problem with last night minutes distribution. I’m much more interested in installing an offense that can from time to time find open guys on the perimeter and encourage guys to cut to the basket.

  4. Re: Mudiay, I just don’t see what the end game is. His cap hold is north of $10mm, so we’re definitely not keeping it. The only thing we can use to sign him is our cap space, the biannual, or the room exception. We’ll want to conserve our cap space for a max free agent. And if he does pan out, the biannual and the room won’t be enough to keep him. And all those resources would be better used on Trier, anyway.

    Yup. This is why the trade to acquire him made no sense. High risk, low reward is a big part of what we do around here.

    Based on what McDermott got paid in the offseason, it seems plausible that he could’ve fetched a second on his own so it’s quite possible we passed on two seconds for Mudiay. Not likely to make or break the team, but also not something you see the smart teams doing.

  5. Assuming that hardaway is entrenched in the starting line up no matter what, I would like to see this starting 5:

    Mudiay
    Hardaway
    Frank
    Knox
    Mitchell

    Could go with Vonleh instead of Knox but my thinking here is Mudiay, for as bad as he is, is probably our best “pure” PG. You have Frank who can help set the tone defensively with Mitchell and then Hardaway and Knox are the primary scorers. Rebounding would be an issue but then you could try Vonleh instead.

  6. Great recap as always, Farfa. Your analysis of Knox was spot on, we just keep looking for something that he does well, and it’s not there. I know we keep saying “he’s only 19” but it’s very hard to visualize Knox going from what he is now to a useful NBA player. But we can hope…

    I mentioned this several times during the game thread, but the team assist numbers were mind boggling: 35-12 in favor of the Magic (Vucevic had 9 by himself) We really have no good passers on this team, Burke and Trier are pretty much scorers and not much else, Mudiay on occasion looks like a legit PG but his stupidity usually takes over at some point, THjr. only has eyes for the cylinder, Frank mostly gets assists because he’s too afraid to take the ball to the basket.

    Maybe other teams’ assist numbers are inflated by our porous defense, but this team desperately needs a legit PG who can set up other players (including KP when he comes back)

  7. What’s really bugging me is that all that talk about meritocracy looks fake as hell when you have Knox starting without having done anything to deserve it, while Frank (and to some extent Trier and Dotson) is seeing his minutes come and go.

    If your primary skill is communication, you can’t be anything less than 100% consistent in matching words with facts.

    EDIT: I’m not implying Frank is playing well. I’m just doubling down on the aspect cited on the recap: Frank is good at defense and usually – on really meritocratic teams – defense is what gets you consistent minutes. At least Mario doesn’t see the floor anymore.

  8. Mudiay, for as bad as he is, is probably our best “pure” PG

    Mudiay just another ISO scorer playing PG. Peak Mudiay is a poor man’s Derrick Rose, which is far from a pure PG.

  9. Farfa, I think you’re overthinking this. You could easily make the argument that no one on the team, except maybe Hardaway, has earned being a starter and the meritocracy is Fizdale giving different people a chance to start. It isn’t necessarily about the individual players who deserve it as much as a specific 5 man group that deserves it. And the season is so young that even if someone has “earned it” so far that the other players should also be given a shot to earn it. He’s clearly tinkering.

  10. You gotta pump up your trade bait, Farfa. Knox is going to help us acquire a third star player after we sign KD and KP.

  11. @swiftandabundant

    Yes! And I have no problem with tinkering. What I’m afraid of is that this way he might sooner or later lose the trust of our young guys. I hope he’s doing an extraordinary job of keeping in touch with everyone behind the scenes.

  12. The thought process behind the rotation should be two-fold:

    1. Prioritize the players who will be here for long term over the ones like Kanter, Mudiay, and Hezonja who are on their way out this summer and put them in the position that will help them most developmentally.

    2. Look for effective balance and spacing. Don’t put ALL your ISO players on the floor at the same time. Play your PG who doesn’t shoot with your scorers instead of in a two-big offense where Hardaway is the only scorer.

    The most sensibly balanced lineup is:

    1 Frank/Burke
    2 Hardaway
    3 Dotson
    4 Knox
    5 Robinson

    with Trier doing his best Jamal Crawford impression off the bench.

    And a guy like Knox needs to be starved of the ball if you’re going to develop him. He should never get the ball on the wing and be able to put his head down and drive. He only gets to shoot either by making a good cut to the basket off the ball or if he’s open in the corner spacing the floor.

  13. Woj is reporting everybody on the Wizards roster could be traded. The only team that I can see taking a chance on John Wall would be Phoenix, but I wouldn’t write off our Knicks either if we strike out in free agency this July.

  14. This team really has me miffed. This really isn’t hard. The team is very young and sucks very hard. It is a developmental year …. soooo…. develop the young players. Nobody gives a flying F$%# how many games they win.

    Play M Rob as many minutes as he can eat. Play Knox as many minutes as he can stand as long as he is playing hard. He is going to play dumb a lot of the time, but coach him up and give him reps. Maybe he is a player or maybe he isn’t but it would be nice to have some clear idea if there is anything there and if he is horrible, great for the tank.

    With Frank, tell him he plays the first and last 8 minutes each half for 32 a game so he can stop looking over his shoulder worrying about making mistakes. Tell him the only time he will get pulled is if he passes up clear and open looks or doesn’t play hard. He is by far the best defender on the team and has earned this respect.

    In poker there is a saying that weak-tight players are MUBsy (looking for monsters under the bed) and Frank looks that way and he can’t play that way. Give him a set of parameters and let him work through them.

    Tell Kanter’s agent to find a club with an expiring and a second if he thinks he is so valuable and we’ll be happy to accommodate him and if he can’t STFU and sit down until the trade deadline when we’ll release him for the club of his choice. Playing Kanter a single minute tells everyone we don’t give a shit about defense.

    If Hardaway is movable for anything and an expiring, God bless.

    And how about Fizdale installing a non iso-zo offence? And please God stop yo-yoing these kids in and out of the line-ups. Play the young guys with a potential future here steady minutes in steady roles. This really isn’t Boolean Algebra.

    All of this.

  15. And I want as many pick and rolls with Frank and Mitch as possible. I’d even run a bunch with Knox and Mitch. I don’t understand this idea that “we don’t have the personnel to run pick and roll.” There isn’t a ball handler in the world who wouldn’t be helped by having a big man set a solid pick for him and then rolling hard to the basket.

  16. From a previous thread

    The alternatives are not very good offensive players that are competent on defense. They are mediocre offensive players that are bad on defense. The best lineup may still be with Frank at PG.

    Trey Burke is by far our best offensive PG. After an horrific start to the season, he’s regressing to the mean, i.e. efficient scoring (his TS% in November is up over 57%) good-to-great mid-range shooting (his % on long 2’s is up to 45% after a terrible start), a high ast-to ratio, and an ability to get to the rim. His 3pt% is at a career low right now so that should also regress to the mean and lift his TS% over .600. So the alternative is a very good offensive PG who is terrible on D. And the stats say that Burke right now is the lesser of two evils by far. the +/- numbers paint an especially very ugly picture for Frank.

    And there is little statistical evidence to suggest that Frank is playing well defensively. His DBPM is -1.1 (bad) his DRtg is 115 (horrific), his DWS are 0.2 (same as Timmy and Hezonja, lower than Kanter) and his steal rate, while 2nd on the team, is lower that Mudiay’s.

    Andre Roberson never had even close to a negative DBPM. Dejounte Murray’s was 3.4 in his 2nd year.

    Frank is statistically one of the worst rotation players in the league right now. But keep squinting!

    I’m still waiting for someone to statistically support the contention that Frank has been great, or even good, on defense. No eye-test, please

  17. I’m ok with what Fiz is doing – there’s not much to be done with this group.

    He needs to maximize a bunch of shitty and undeveloped players. Starters don’t really matter at this point, and he’s allocating minutes pretty well in my opinion. The rooks are better off playing under 30 minutes a night.

    Decisions like playing Kanter as much against 2nd units as possible to hide his terrible defense is good for the club and good for Kanter (except he actually sucks against 2nd units too).

    For Mudiay and Mario, these are basically extended tryouts while they attempt to improve. Sure, there aren’t many paths back to a roster spot for those guys, even if they are extraordinary, but it gives the club an inside edge if they do improve.

    Like let’s say that Mudiay does the improbable and starts scoring and assisting at a decent rate with passable defense, maybe getting his WS48 up to .129. Will that really earn him a huge contract? I’m sure in that case, if we still want him as a stop gap starter or backup, he will gladly wait out the free agency period and sign a midlevel-type contract once we strike out on big free agents.

    And hopefully we will shed contracts like Lee and Hardaway so there will be plenty of room to keep adding cheap, young, promising players.

  18. I’m still waiting for someone to statistically support the contention that Frank has been great, or even good, on defense. No eye-test, please

    You need to use the eye-test because our defensive stats have been rendered obsolete my modern NBA offenses and switch-everything defenses. There is no stat that counts effectively hedging a PnR, preventing a ball handler from getting in the lane, seamlessly switching onto a defender, preventing a pass, closing out quickly on an open player, preventing a shot from being taken, etc. This isn’t 2008 any more. The advanced stats we use are seriously lagging changes in the game. That’s why guys like Enes Kanter are always overrated until you actually watch them.

  19. Z-man- I’ll direct you to Herring’s great piece on Frank last month. He is an ELITE pick and roll, and post defender. When he had KP to guard the rim, he funneled perfectly to him, and led the league in holding opponents’ FG% down; they also outscored opponents by 6.7 points together.
    None of this to show that he is a point guard, which is what you will respond. But it does respond to the fact that yes, he is very good at defense, on a very shitty defensive team (aside from, like, Dotson, maybe).
    I would exercise some patience with an international 20 year old 2nd year on a shitty team point guard (all of those attributes would separately give me a healthy dose of patience)

  20. It’s very team dependent, and also heavily weighted towards defensive rebounding. That’s obviously an important part of defense, but basically individual drtg is team defense while you’re on the court modified by defensive rebounds, blocks and steals. Say you’re part of a good defensive team and you hoover up uncontested defensive rebounds, you’ll have a good drtg even if you’re not one of the primary causes of the good team defense.

  21. Willy Hernangomez led all players on the Knicks who played meaningful minutes last year with a DRTG of 99.8.

    I mean, are we totally throwing out Frank’s rookie year of data and only counting the 15 games from this season? His individual defensive stats last year were very good (obviously take these with a grain of salt), especially for a rookie.

  22. @4 “ High risk, low reward is a big part of what we do around here” – spot on. It’s like Groundhog Day, keeps happening over and over again.

    From what I’ve see so far from Knox, I’m really warming up to the idea that he’ll be a throw in to get a legit NBA player. He doesn’t look particularly good at anything yet and he looks slow doing it. His best attributes are his “upside” and his age. Not a real confidence builder so far.

  23. Also, when Frank makes the first lateral pass, I believe that it is part of a play. I just don’t think he gets the ball back. I looked for it. He was open from 3 a few times on the weak side, and either Kanter, Trier, Hardaway, or Burke just didn’t look to pass.

  24. Translation: You need to use the eye-test because using stats doesn’t suit your narrative.

    What does your eye test say about Franks defense? Are we a better team with him on that side of the floor or is he average?

  25. Z-Man I’m closer to your opinion than the consensus on Frank but even I think you’re being ridiculous.

    Last year, as a teenager, Frank was #1 in the NBA in PPP allowed to ball handlers in the pick-and-roll (0.65 according to Synergy). On average players shot 3% worse when being guarded by him, which was 18th best overall for guards (and Frank was the only 19 year old in the top-50).

    Now obviously there is some noise in these stats as well, but DRtg is completely useless when evaluating individual players on awful teams. There is plenty of evidence that Frank is a legitimately standout defender. The problem is in this day and age that’s simply not enough to be a rotation player on a good team, so his competence offensively is what will make or break him.

  26. My eye test says that Frank is a very good defender in space, but commits lots of stupid fouls and is often out of position. It says that he is an atrocious rebounder who rarely boxes out. I will agree that some of what he does is not quantifiable in traditional stats, but the eye-test tells me he is not as good on D this year as last year. Is it his injured shoulders? Are teams scouting his defensive weaknesses and playing around his strengths and to his weaknesses? Was he riding on KP’s coattails? Is he still physically weak due to age, depending on length too much and having issues with stronger opponents? Is his lack of explosiveness an issue?

    That said, I still believe in him defensively over the long run, and think he will eventually settle in to a 3-and-D wing role.

  27. Stein:

    The Grizzlies are in talks with free agent big man Joakim Noah to sign the former Knick, league sources say

  28. Translation: You need to use the eye-test because using stats doesn’t suit your narrative.

    Yeah, that Herring piece that illustrates that Ntilikina is an elite pick-and-roll defender also illustrates that Steph Curry is an elite pick-and-roll defender (#3 out of the 77 players that qualified for the study). So no matter how you slice it, some narrative is being damaged.

    (btw “funneling toward the rim protector” is another way of saying funneling toward the rim and hoping there’s a 7’3″ dude standing there with his arms up. It’s great when it works, and less great when it doesn’t.)

    I can base nothing on the eye test, since I’ve never seen Frank Ntilikina play. But objectively he appears to be truly terrible. I’m sorry if any of you guys are pinning your hopes to him. But you can find a pick-and-roll defending savant in any Div I program if that’s all you need. Not gonna win many NBA games with him though.

    Keep on keepin’ on…

    -Z

  29. Translation: You need to use the eye-test because using stats doesn’t suit your narrative.

    When the statistics are adequate, you can make this argument. Today, in terms of measuring team defense, statistics are woefully inadequate. So now the dinosaurs are the ones ignoring the eye test, at least when it comes to team defense.

    Does effectively closing a passing lane to the screener when you switch a PnR show up in the box score ? No. Is preventing that screening from getting a pass that would lead to an easy bucket great defense? Yes.

    How about his ability to provide weakside help off the corner and still be able to close out the shot? How about the ease with which he navigates screens? How about how he’s always positioned perfectly to prevent dangerous passes without ever leaving anyone open?

    None of these things are DRtg, DPBM, DWS, blocks, steals, or any other stat you’re looking for. You’re going to have to watch a game to see what he does. And when you do, it’s pretty obvious.

  30. There are currently 9 guards in the NBA with a DBPM above 1. 3 of them, including Kyrie Irving, play for the Celtics.

  31. I mean, people on this board still shit all over offensive stats, which are much, MUCH better than defensive stats in describing impact/production, so it’s no surprise that there is basically zero consensus about how to evaluate defensive players.

  32. Woj is reporting everybody on the Wizards roster could be traded. The only team that I can see taking a chance on John Wall would be Phoenix, but I wouldn’t write off our Knicks either if we strike out in free agency this July.

    I guess Detroit could be a natural destination. They are already committed to what looks to be a treadmill team for the duration of Blake Griffin’s contract, so they might as well double down with John Wall, try hard for a couple of years, and then watch the shitfest that will be the later years of those contracts.

    Reggie Jackson for John Wall works, saves Washington a lot of money and puts them in a better position to tank (and here i am supposing that Detroit arent so stupid to add any 1st rounders to the trade).

    EDIT: Although that might be a hard sell on the Wizards fan base.

  33. Four years, $170 million.

    “I ask them the same thing. You got a 9-5, what you do after your 9-5? You not about to sit in the house all day are you? I’m a grown man and I can do what I want to. I know what I do and bring to the table, and that’s 110 percent effort. I know how hard I work on my game and I’m going to enjoy my life. I’m not about to sit at home and be boring.”

  34. There are currently 9 guards in the NBA with a DBPM above 1. 3 of them, including Kyrie Irving, play for the Celtics.

    There are 65 players listed as guards in B-R who have played 200+ minutes this year with a DBPM higher than Frank’s. That’s more than 2 per team.

  35. As someone pointed out last week- Per 36 this season Mudiay gets more steals, blocks, defensive rebounds, deflections (almost double), loose balls recovered and contests more shots than Frank. Oh and his defensive fg% is more than two points better. Frank’s defensive DFG% was great last year at 41.4, this year it’s a truly crappy 47.7. Frank should play 20-30 minutes a night (and he has thus far) because he’s 20 years old and probably here for another couple of years even if he continues to suck but there’s no way around the fact that he does suck- he’s an absolutely terrible basketball player right now. His TS% is .429 and it’s not like he’s taking a lot of contested jumpers. The guy’s an A+ tank commander at the moment- if it’s his shoulders then sit him until he’s healthy. If it’s not his shoulders then he’s looking more and more like a total bust.

  36. I personally don’t shit on offensive stats. But being pro statistics should mean knowing which ones are inadequate. It’s very difficult to measure contributions to team defense right now.

  37. PIPM rates Frank out as a slight positive on the defensive end

    He’s a decent defender who still has a lot of work to do on both sides of the ball

  38. Ok, Z.

    Yeah, that Herring piece that illustrates that Ntilikina is an elite pick-and-roll defender also illustrates that Steph Curry is an elite pick-and-roll defender

    That’s because Curry is actually well-regarded as an above-average defender, and to my eye, his PNR defense is actually great. If you want some numbers, has led (or close to it) all guards in defensive rating, deflections, defensive win shares, and in points per possession.

    (btw “funneling toward the rim protector” is another way of saying funneling toward the rim and hoping there’s a 7’3? dude standing there with his arms up. It’s great when it works, and less great when it doesn’t.)

    What? This is called good team defense, the stuff defensive coordinators teach, and allows guys like Frank to play closer to a guy taking away his jump shot, knowing KP can cover a quick penetration. This is a good thing.

    I can base nothing on the eye test, since I’ve never seen Frank Ntilikina play.

    Ok, you lost me here. What’s the point of following basketball if you’re just following numbers?

    But objectively he appears to be truly terrible.

    Define ‘objective’ given you don’t watch, and can only follow the defensive metrics that… you haven’t mentioned?

    Keep on keepin’ on…

    Ok.

  39. Beal is essentially an incremental upgrade over this year’s Hardaway Jr, and that would be a pretty good third banana to KD and KP. I don’t think it would make sense for Washington to replace Beal with TH2 unless they thought Kevin Knox was a worthy prospect.

    Wall I want no parts of at that abnormal contract, but Phoenix is so desperate for a point guard that I could see it happening. It’s not like they’re a free agent attraction.

  40. I understand that on a stats driven site, people will downplay the importance of an eye test but its hard to take someone seriously who says they’ve “never seen frank play.” I don’t believe stats are meant to replace actually watching the game.

  41. my suspicions about measuring defensive impact on the game is a core reason why I think people are a bit nuts about Kanter.
    He is a force.
    Not a lot of guys complained about Shawn Kemp’s defense (kemp had more blocks and steals/36), but statistically very similar in their 26th year.

  42. Is Bradley Beal 10mil/year better than Tim Hardaway? Yes, BB is a year younger so he has that going for him. But they each have 2 years left on their deals, except Tim’s is 18/18 while Beal’s is 27/28.

    Offensively their #’s look pretty similar this year, with Tim slightly eking him out depending on what you prioritize from your starting 2-guard.

  43. Anyone want to pay a 32-year-old John Wall $46.8M after four hard years of partying in Manhattan?

  44. The Wizards are trading these guys because they’re very expensive and obviously not wildly conducive to winning. I’d advise other teams to take note of that simple observation.

  45. Z (lol you lurking soandso!) is one of the most intelligent individuals to ever post on this site. I’d take him seriously, do otherwise at your own peril.

  46. The Wizards are trading these guys because they’re very expensive and obviously not wildly conducive to winning. I’d advise other teams to take note of that simple observation.

    Kicking the tires on other people’s lemons is a big part of what we do around here

  47. You can make a case for Detroit trading Reggie Jackson for Wall. They are already locked into NBA no-man’s land and Wall is the same age as Blake and the two of them together with Drummond could form a flawed, perennial 5 seed that keeps fans in the seats.

    I can see the Pelicans being desperate enough to. They’re not very smart down there.

  48. Yes, the Pelicans look like a likely trade candidate for Wall (and for AD running away from them as soon as he can).

    But don’t count out Divac! Sacramento might be doing fine but the guy is crazy.

  49. Z (lol you lurking soandso!) is one of the most intelligent individuals to ever post on this site. I’d take him seriously, do otherwise at your own peril.

    What is this, Trump on Twitter time?

  50. I understand that on a stats driven site, people will downplay the importance of an eye test but its hard to take someone seriously who says they’ve “never seen frank play.” I don’t believe stats are meant to replace actually watching the game.

    Oh, I watch basketball games. Just not basketball games featuring Frank Ntilikina and the New York Knicks because… well… I probably don’t have to explain it if you are actually watching the games.

    Honestly, I get that he’s young. And I get that there’s probably a lot to physically work with. But he’s strikingly similar to your own Emanuel Mudiay at that age. And while knickerbloggers were looking at the stats Emanuel Mudiay was putting up in Denver and saying “thank god we didn’t draft Mudiay”, the Nuggetbloggers were posting stuff like this:

    https://www.denverstiffs.com/2016/4/20/11466854/denver-nuggets-year-in-review-emmanuel-mudiay

    If you have to watch a basketball game to explain the value of statistically terrible player on a statistically terrible team for a statistically terrible franchise, that’s fine. I certainly spent a lot of time watching Mardy Collins back in 2007. I was like: “He’s tall!”, and “He’s a strong defender!”, and “He’s got work ethic”, and “He was the #3 PG in the draft!”. Man, I watched a lot of Mardy Collins. Probably all 107 of his games. And guess what? Me watching him didn’t make him better. It just made me poorer.

  51. Z (lol you lurking soandso!) is one of the most intelligent individuals to ever post on this site. I’d take him seriously, do otherwise at your own peril.

    Haha. All it took was for me to die.

  52. And guess what? Me watching him didn’t make him better. It just made me poorer.

    Oof. Thread’s over.

  53. I mean, if the Wizards wants to trade us Beal for Hardaway + Lance or something like that I’m not really complaining. Don’t see why they would do it and if the front office is focused on getting a max star in free agency I don’t see why we would do it too. Maybe if we had cap space instead of Noah, Lee or Hardaway you know, something could be worked out. But yeah, doesn’t really make sense to go for a move for marginal stars.

  54. I think if the Wizards want to move Beal they’ll have actual suitors and won’t have to dump him for Enes Kanter

  55. How about this one?

    The amazing thing is that by Hollinger’s analysis the Knicks would stand to win 13 less games after that trade. Would going -2 and 84 on the season help get us get the #1? Not even.

  56. Brad Beal might be the most overrated player in the NBA and he’s not close to the worst contract on the wizards somehow. What a fucking mess that team is.

  57. Speaking of trades, the Yankees made a nice one.

    Seriously, losing Sheffield hurts but you trade him (and pretty much only him) for what you hope he turns into every day of the week.

  58. Uhmmm

    Throw in a Philly first to us and it might not be terrible.

    Don’t hate the return for us, but I don’t see Philly throwing in Fultz and a 1st. Hard to believe they would give up on him so quickly. Wizards probably have a bigger need than Kanter if they are moving Beal. That guard situation looks pretty thin without Beal.

  59. You know what’s crazy about the Wizards? (Also, that’s the worst non-racist team name in American sports.) They drafted John Wall at #1 and have never won more than 49 games, and never a better SRS than 1.36. So they have Beal and Wall and Porter and win 43 games last year, and what do they do? They push the chips in with Wall’s outrageously bad contract and guarantee a ridiculous $92M in 2019-20 to those three.

    When you feel bad about the Knicks’ fortunes, just remember that Washington is in the true hell of the NBA’s lower-middle class: hopelessly capped out with a shot at the #12-18 pick for the next few years.

  60. Seriously, losing Sheffield hurts but you trade him (and pretty much only him) for what you hope he turns into every day of the week.

    I think the available data suggest that 28 is the peak age for most pitchers, and the Yankees are inexplicably but clearly in win-now mode with this core. No point in saving for a rebuild when you have this much productive talent under the age of 30.

  61. Mikal Bridges is now starting for the Suns. Sporting a .60 TS% and averaging 1.3 steals per game.

    But we have a guy who made a lot of shots in Summer League and dominates in 3-3’s.

    FML

  62. I agree, Knox isnot looking good. I am worried about him.

    It’s very unlikely we trade with Washington. We have no one who will help them win now, except maybe Hardaway, and I don’t see us trading him. I think Miami is a likely trade partner for Washington. For example, Beal for Olynyk and Waiters works and Miami would probably give a pick up to do that trade.

  63. I’m still waiting for someone to statistically support the contention that Frank has been great, or even good, on defense. No eye-test, please

    There was supporting data last year, but in general, the data on defense available to the public sucks. So why pay attention to it?

  64. Knox hasn’t even played in 10 NBA games. There’s no reason to be worried about him. There’s also no reason to compare him to Mikal Bridges, who was drafted is 23 years old and came into the league as a red shirted senior. Mikal could be better than Knox long term but as far as prospects and potential, there about as far apart as two people drafted in the same draft can be. Mikal is so much more polished coming into the league 23 years old.

  65. Knox hasn’t even played in 10 NBA games. There’s no reason to be worried about him.

    I definitely wouldn’t trade him for a second round pick or whatever, but he was bad in college and has been terrible in the NBA. That’s a good reason to be worried about him!

  66. I keep telling myself that. It doesn’t stop the worry. Unfortunately, the best thing to do now is wait and see. And actually seeing the games is no fun at all most of the time.

    Our current situation reminds me of the season where Larry Beown went through lineup after lineup. In both cases, I think there was no perfect lineup to be had. At least in this case, we have young players who could improve instead of older players who might be out of the league soon.

  67. I mean, I would rather he be doing well right now but people calling him “trade bait” when he’s literally 10 games into the first year of his rookie contract is ridiculous. He also had an injury to deal with and I imagine that’s tough when you’re a rookie and all ready having to adjust to so much.

  68. If you have to watch a basketball game to explain the value of statistically terrible player on a statistically terrible team for a statistically terrible franchise, that’s fine. I certainly spent a lot of time watching Mardy Collins back in 2007. I was like: “He’s tall!”, and “He’s a strong defender!”, and “He’s got work ethic”, and “He was the #3 PG in the draft!”. Man, I watched a lot of Mardy Collins. Probably all 107 of his games. And guess what? Me watching him didn’t make him better. It just made me poorer.

    Mardy Collins was 22 when he was drafted.
    Frank was 19 when he was drafted.

    Collins was also the much worse player.

    I keep making the same point about the “draft”, but everyone keeps ignoring it.

    NBA teams are drafting 18-19 year old kids now. So it’s going to take a LOT longer to figure out whether a team drafted well or not. There are also going to be WAY more busts in the lottery now than in the days when the NBA drafted kids with 3-4 years of college. Even worse, if the kid shows any kind of ability and promise at all, he’s going to want to get paid before he’s actually anywhere near productive enough to justify the new salary. The problem is that in most cases you are going to have to give it to him because being in an endless loop of drafting and allowing them to walk is even dumber than paying them unless the kid is clearly a bust. KP is going to get paid PERIOD!

    It conceivable that KP, Frank, Knox, and Robinson all flourish and in 3-4 years they are part of an excellent young team.

    It’s also conceivable that 3 of the 4 bust out and in 3-4 years we are still arguing about tanking with a brand new team of 19-20 year old players that we draft over the next few years and they suck too.

  69. This is my current assessment of our young players

    1. KP – A lot better than the boxscore models suggest and better than the general consensus here. He can take a big step forward with some simple adjustments to his shot selection and how he’s used. However, he has to get stronger and become a better playmaker. If he puts it all together mentally and stays healthy he’s the most likely to become a legit #1 player and superstar on both sides. He could break out as soon as next year with some work and better coaching.

    2. Frank – Very good on defense, but terrible on offense. To become a legitimate starter on a good team he’s going to have get more aggressive and at least knock down 3s at healthy rate. It’s going to take another 2-3 years to know what he can become. His peak is even further away than that.

    3. Knox – He’s terrible at everything so far. However, there’s some talent there that makes you think he can become a very good scorer eventually. I’m not seeing any promising signs on defense. The more I see the less I like him because of the defense. Either way, we won’t know what he can become for 3-4 years or more. His peak is even further away than that.

    4. Robinson – Extremely raw on both sides, but that’s to be expected with his lack of experience. His downside is a very good player. His upside is very pleasant to think about, but I doubt he’ll even be a real force on offense. I could see him making an impact by next year, but his top is a long way away.

    5. Trier – I see him as a solid 6th man scorer off the bench or better. I’m having a really tough time evaluating his defense, but he’s not bad.

    The bottom line is that we aren’t going to know a thing for YEARS (plural).

  70. I knew that there would be “trade Knox” hysteria here. Some of you guys have the patience of a gnat. Jeeze. I’m not ready to talk trading Ntilikina yet. Another good loss to Orlando. We’re tied for the 4th worst record. Not good enough. Bottom 3 baby!

    I read stories about how Wall and Beal are available. Wall I would consider but it’s a lot of money for a player that is not top-10. It might kill our chances for Durant but Durant is a chance. Is a Wall in the hand as good as a Durant in the bush? Wall’s under control for 3 more years plus a player option 4th. Salaries starting with this season: 19M, 38M, 41M, 44,M 46M. A LOT of money.

    Paxton is a good – not great trade for the Yankees. I have him as an A- pitcher. He’s moving from the worst offensive parks (Safeco Park ranked 8th) to one of the best (Yankee Stadium 6th) and he gave up 23 hrs last season.I think the Yankees gave up a lot but I trust Cashman.

  71. I’m no super genius but I could probably go 9-8 with a roster stacked with All-Stars and high lottery picks.

  72. That’s a cautionary tale-if you look at Harrison Barnes career through age 22/23 it looks like he’s figured it out and is on the verge of having a good NBA career at least and you’re hoping he keeps developing into something like a fringe all-star. Instead he’s sucked every year since then.

  73. yeah it is — it seemed like a no-win max signing for a shitty team like Dallas but in no way was it obvious he would be this bad. Khris Middleton had signed for barely more than half as much and their careers had been reasonably similar to that point and that’s just not the way it turned out at all. if he had turned out like Middleton the deal wouldn’t have been a homerun but it would have been meh and probably movable. sure there were some red flags with Barnes given how unusual his team was but he was also a young, smart, hard working player so you could find some reasons for optimism. not enough to justify a max deal but enough to fairly say you didn’t this replacement level max player coming.

  74. Yeah, Kemba is on a mission lately, another incredible performance. I’ve never been a big fan, I always thought he took too many bad shots to ever be truly efficient with his game, but those two performances have been beautiful. He had a 2-16 game against the Cavaliers of all teams and then turned it around scoring 100 in 2 games on the Sixers and Celtics who, by the way, are 9-8 now… can’t wait for the media to blame everyone but wonder boy coach.

  75. Kemba Walker’s TS % for the last five years:

    .486
    .554
    .569
    .572
    .596 (this year)

    I know it would very Knicksy to throw max money at a guy who’s having the best season of his life, but he’s sort of meriting it at this point and has improved every year since getting off to a rough start his first few seasons.

  76. I’m not saying I want Kemba on a supermax after a contract year. (He’s going to make an All-NBA team if this continues.) I’m saying he’s playing extremely well right now.

  77. If we could move Hardaway, Kemba would work well in this lineup. But you can’t have Kemba and Hardaway as your 1/2 and expect to go far.

  78. Yeah, the issue with Walker is simply that he’s eventually going to be overpaid. His level of production right now merits a 4 year 25 million deal easily, but he’ll be eligible for a salary starting at 33 million if he changes teams and he might be able to get the supermax if he chooses to stay in Charlotte. I’m not confident he’ll keep this level until his age 32 season.

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