Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

New York Knicks 119 – Los Angeles Lakers 112 – Game Recap

I have to say that, tanking interests apart, this team picks very well the games to win. We know we can’t lose all of the games, right? So sometimes you have to win one. Well then, why not winning against the Celtics (done), the Bucks (against whom our dear KP got injured, done), the Nets (I know, it’s a fake rivalry, but done nonetheless) and now the Lakers (just done)?

And sometimes it feels good to win, even if that feeling is something that doesn’t come natural anymore. We’re at this point in the season where you don’t really know what to look for in a game, apart from one of your cost-controlled assets to have a monster game. When that doesn’t happen – and let’s face it, as of now only Knox seems capable to have one of them – you look for the small things. Did Dotson square his feet correctly before hoisting that shot? Did Kornet defend that guy in the post effectively? (No, he did not.) Did Trier fill the lane correctly in transition? (Hah, tricky question. The Iso Bot is running at 100% energy only when he has the ball in his hand.)

I don’t know how many of you have played at least one iteration of “MyCareer” or “MyPlayer” in the NBA2K series. Basically, for those who haven’t, your player gets a grade for how well he has played in any game; the things that contribute to that grade aren’t just pointzzz or box score numbers, but also how well did you box out, how many screens did you set, if you were in optimal position on defensive rotations and so on. Early on, your avatar sucks because, apart from purely aesthetic choices and from your preferred role, you’re given a sad sack of a player with the overall rating of a G-League benchwarmer, so the best course to get high grades (and in turn get more playing time and more currency to improve your attributes) is to behave like a good puppy on the court. I’m quite good at it – and I have to be, because otherwise my 2/11 shooting small forward won’t see any playing time soon. Well, that’s what I look for in these games. because otherwise my mind will self-fry trying to reconcile the many things I should root for: a loss for the tank, a win for the morale, a good game from the youngsters, maybe not a good game from young people we are in position to extend, a good rebounding tally, maybe not a good night for Kanter because then he may start again, a good assist tally, but maybe not from young people we are in position to extend, a good THJ game because after all we have him for another two years, a bad THJ game because maybe they’ll be convinced to move on from him, a good THJ game because his trade value will go up, a BZZZ crackling noise

SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE…

…We’ve found the following malware in your system: Knicks fandom 3.1, Hopeful Knicks fan 1.2, Knicks supporter with advanced stats basic knowledge 1.18, TakeThatForData.avi, JDAndTheStraightShot (complete collection).mp3…

…CLEANING… 

…RESTARTING OPERATING SYSTEM…

…well that’s what I look for in these games, and sometimes I find it. And when I don’t, I find myself rooting for Mario and Enes to win this fucking game because sometimes guilty pleasures are the only things that save you from the drab world we live in. And to win a game that started with the Knicks guns a-blazing against the Lakers is one of the dirtiest, guiltiest pleasures in the world.

The good:

– If you would have told me that Mario Hezonja (10 pts, 2 rebs, 1 ast, +9 +/-) would have made another appearance in this column, I would have thought you were crazy and/or we were talking about year 2023 when we clinch our Atlantic Division title thanks to a game in Seattle against the newly-minted expansion team Sonics, where Mario moonlights as their starting SF and scores 5 points on 20 shots. Well, I was wrong. Mario got playing time tonight thanks to foul trouble to the December Eastern rookie of the month, Kevin Knox, and he did make a superb impression. I mean, his contract is still pointless for next season, but if this was the real Mario, I’d have no problem at all seeing him play 15 minutes per night. He was energetic, bunny-hopping, rim-running, hell bent on putting the ball into the basket or getting fouled and even – gasp – on protecting our rim. The play that elicited the most vocal cheering in me was his block on Ingram with six minutes to go in the final stanza. A pristine block which maybe for the first time in all season signaled that Mario has the will to play basketball and he’s not only collecting checks. I guess he’ll revert to his usual droning, but that block was a revelation, and I’ll cherish it at least until the trade deadline. Bonus fact: Mario was the only Knicks to hit more than 45% of his shots. For all of the hot start that we witnessed in the first quarter (our first six baskets were all from the three-point line and we scored 39 points in those 12 minutes), the Knicks ended up shooting 37.4% from the field. How does a team that shoot so poorly win a game and score 119 points in the process, you might ask: it shoots 41 free throws. The refs were quick for the whistle, but it was very nice to see the whole team attack the rim with abandon.

– The other unlikely hero is Enes Kanter (16 pts, 15 rebs, 3 ast, +5 +/-), who for a night looked rejuvenated and electrified to simply play competitive basketball. The numbers in points and board are nothing new, but don’t tell all. Tonight Enes did a semi-passable job on defense and a great job at protecting the rim in the fourth quarter. Before the night ended, Kanter totaled a career-high 4 blocks, stuffing people in purple and gold here and there after being thoroughly vandalized by Zubac in the third. By the way, the extension feature of NBA League Pass informed me that Enes got to his 251st career block tonight. You know who got more blocks than Kanter got in his 8 years in the league since he was drafted? Here’s the full list, but let me tell you a few names: a washed up Carmelo Anthony (252), scorned lover Matt Barnes (272), useless stretch fourve Jah Smith (298), in and out of the league Ekpe Udoh (325), point guard with doomed contract John Wall (361). It’s got to be embarrassing to be 6-11 and block less shots than those guys. But well, all that matters is that now Enes is happy again (Could you guess that Kevin Durant was 17th in the whole League in that span? I couldn’t, and I’m amazed at that stat)!

The bad:

– What the heck happened to Allonzo Trier (2 pts, 2 rebs, 1 ast, +4 +/-)? Has he been abducted by the Monstars? It’s one thing to hit the rookie wall, it’s an entirely other one to crash into it like the Kool-Aid man, save for the fact that he’s not barging through it but just gets plastered into it. If the dungeon still exist, and they didn’t pave it (and maybe put up a parking lot), I guess Zo will be sent there. I’m not advocating for it, but he genuinely looks lost on the court. I think the injury has something to do with it and I hope the contract doesn’t, but right now he’s early-Knox or overall-Frank bad. Get a grip, and maybe get some reps in the G-League to regain a bit of confidence and rhythm.

– Luke Kornet (6 pts, 5 rebs, 1 ast, +2 +/-) was largely ineffective, as we could have expected him to be after his crazy-hot shooting streak as a starter. It has to be said, though, that his main problem tonight wasn’t his ass shooting (2/8 from the field, 1/4 from three), but his total uselessness against JaVale McGee in the post. Now, don’t get me wrong, JaVale is not the runaway winner of Shaqtin’ a Fools anymore, and is a pretty competent center in his own right, but Kornet made him look like Wilt all of a sudden. JaVale is a freakish specimen, so I wouldn’t get too worried here, but Kornet was pretty bad tonight.

Fun-sized bits:

– Tim Hardaway Jr. started the game on fire, hitting 3 triples in the first 5 minutes. All of them were open. He went on never to hit any other three for the night on six more attempts. Generally speaking, his shot selection is awful. Someone in this blog described his mindset in the most accurate way: “Eh, the play is already broken, I might as well shoot”. And shoot he does, from anywhere, after a few dribbles, with no clean look in sight. 22 points on 18 shots isn’t inherently bad, but mediocre isn’t what 17 million dollars are called for. Still second in the whole League in charges drawn, though. I like that (and just that).

– Kevin Knox had a so-so game (14 points on 12 shots, 5 boards) but it was very good to see him hit a crucial floating bank shot with 100 seconds remaining to put the Knicks up 5. His floaters and quasi-hooks are looking much better as of late, even if he doesn’t hit a lot of them. As I said a few times, though, he’s shooting the right shots. I like what I see from him (with the caveat that he’s a rookie. If this was the finished product, it would be near to worthless).

– By the way: congrats to Kevin for his Rookie of the Month award! The East does not have a murderer’s row of candidates (to me the best rookie in the east is Carter Jr., then as of now is a homeless men brawl between Knox, Young, Sexton, with Mitch, Mo Bamba and mayyyybe Robert Williams on the wings), but he’s made gigantic strides in these two months. Bravo!

– My best wishes to Frank, who got himself injured in just 56 seconds of play. He still was able to post a -5 plus/minus. Dude can’t catch a break.

– Mudiay was as good at channeling his inner Jason Kidd in the first four minutes of play to find open guys on the perimeter as he was bad at hitting shots and generally playing basketball, save for a pleasant third quarter. Dude has gotten better, but he’s just a small step above “utter trash”. To wit: in his last 5 games, his TS% is .409 on 25 USG%. I commend him for the 3.44 AST/TO ratio in that same span, but as I said… a long way to go before being a serviceable player for an average team.

– Vonleh started like a man possessed and then hit the brakes thanks to foul trouble. In just 17 minutes of play, 7 points, 10 boards and 4 steals. A Hell’s Kitchen legend says that if you utter “Draymond Green” in front of a mirror three times after you ate a mildly spoiled burrito, Noah Vonleh will appear in your house and will tidy it up.

– Trey Burke is alive and well, and we needed his buckets tonight. It still remains a mystery how I could convince myself that he was a steady floor general, whereas he’s just a microwave role player. I should have known better.

Now that we got this good win out of our system, let’s see if the tank will get back on track against the Blazers on Monday! Until then, I’ll run a few CC Cleaner routines on my mainframe.

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78 comments on “New York Knicks 119 – Los Angeles Lakers 112 – Game Recap

  1. Ingmarrrr

    Is there any value in having control over Kanter’s contract after the trading deadline? In other words any reason not to release him if we realize nobody is trading for him?

  2. Jack Bauer

    Even though we’re rooting for losses beating the Lakers, especially on their floor is always nice. Hopefully now that they got that out of their system the Knicks get back to tanking.

    Great recap Farfa. I’d like to add that I don’t know who is worse at finishing at the rim, Mudiay or Lonzo? Cringe worthy. As mentioned many times, Mudiay has improved but is just not a good player. Bad decision making, too many turnovers, and cannot finish well at the basket. Good size and he’s still young – I know, let’s offer him 4 years at 50 million. Between him and Burke they have one backup point guard at best.

    Ingram shows no signs of living up to the hype. By the expression on his face he looks like he’s half asleep out there ( or smoked a few spliffs with Beasley before the game). Things might change, but he sure doesn’t look like he’s going to be a star so far,

  3. Farfa Post author

    Thanks!

    @2

    I’d say none whatsoever. I expect him to be bought out or waived on February, 8th and to join Philadelphia.

  4. Stratomatic "I'm tired of the Knicks paying lip service to DEFENSE. Get defenders & two-way players. Then play them!

    It’s pretty obvious that Fizdale’s developmental team has also worked wonders on Hezonja and we are going to use the max on him. Now we have to figure out how to fit Mudiay and Hezonja under the cap. :-)

  5. Early Bird

    We did something new last night, I’m not sure how to say it, we scored more points than the other team. Did we when?

  6. alsep73

    With Mitch out, Frank hurt early, Knox in foul trouble, and Trier playing like garbage, this wasn’t the platonic ideal of a win for the tank. But sometimes, the team has to win so players don’t give in totally to despair, and it’s the Lakers. So whatever.

  7. d-mar

    Farfa, you are a true Knickerblogger treasure. One of your best write ups yet.

    That game was more a matter of the Lakers playing like complete hot garbage than the Knicks doing anything special. 16-6 in the turnover department, and some of them were basically handing the ball to the Knicks. This is who LeBron signed up with?

  8. Stratomatic "I'm tired of the Knicks paying lip service to DEFENSE. Get defenders & two-way players. Then play them!

    I hate winning

    We have a lot more home games left than road games and if KP does come back and contribute, there is still a good chance we could take ourselves out of the Zion sweepstakes despite how bad we are. You may have some miserable days ahead.

  9. Farfa Post author

    I hate winning too, but somehow with the game on the line and against the Lakers I felt ok with a win. I know a win is a win is a win, but if anything I take this win for the loss against Phoenix, for example.

  10. The Glass Half Rebuilt

    A top 3 finish will be hard with Chicago, Cleveland, and Phoenix in the running but it’s gonna be close. Last night’s win was pretty crappy considering we didn’t get a good game out of our core youngsters, but the Lakers are pretty bad without LeBron. Brandon Ingram is so much worse than he thinks he is.

  11. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    We have a lot more home games left than road games and if KP does come back and contribute, there is still a good chance we could take ourselves out of the Zion sweepstakes despite how bad we are. You may have some miserable days ahead.

    Knicks are worse at home than on the road this year, Porzingis still hasn’t reported taking contact at practice, he’s not being evaluated until next month, and when he comes back, he’s coming back after a year of not playing basketball and freshly off of an ACL injury.

    His TS% last year was .539, which is just above the #25 Thunder this year. He doesn’t pass or rebound, so it’s safe to say he’s not going to help the offense much, even if he were as healthy as last year, so I’m not concerned. Maybe he helps the 29th-ranked defense and maybe he becomes Dirk defensively because he’s skittish about contact in the paint.

    Pinning any hopes of significantly improving upon Porzingis’s return is a fool’s errand.

  12. Farfa Post author

    Is it just me or there has been never such a shallow draft class in early January in the third millennium?

    Or maybe it’s the Zion effect that makes everyone else look terrible in comparison?

  13. Stratomatic "I'm tired of the Knicks paying lip service to DEFENSE. Get defenders & two-way players. Then play them!

    Pinning any hopes of significantly improving upon Porzingis’s return is a fool’s errand.

    Well, we already know we differ on Porzingis’s contribution to wins. I’m somewhere in between the hype and boxscore. But it ‘s certainly possible, if not likely, he’s less than 100% for a few weeks when/if he comes back.

    As to home and away, I’m pretty that’s just noise. There’s no way they are a better team on the road.

  14. thenoblefacehumper

    Months ago I wrote about this at length. I analyzed those drafts to see all the players available when Phil picked, and with almost no exceptions he chose the player who turned out to be the BPA. In 2014, those players sucked, but so did everyone after them. Turner may be better than KP, but it is certainly far from settled, and Willy was an obvious second round gem. The same for Dotson. And Jaramaz… Who did Phil miss after him? Nobody.

    I didn’t even mention this in my initial post because I don’t think it’s fair to hold against Phil, but since you basically brought it up…Nikola freakin’ Jokic was taken after Cleanthony Early! So, uh, not exactly the BPA. By your standard even the good picks aren’t good; Monte Morris was picked after Dotson, Richaun Holmes was picked after Willy,

    Also, Porzingis is currently 11th among 2015 draftees in career BPM. We can obviously revisit this if he makes a huge leap but right now he is simply not returning value at the 4th slot.

    I stand by what I said. There is no evidence whatsoever Phil Jackson was an even above average drafter. His record, as of now, is 2/9.

  15. DRed

    I think it’s probably a combination of a fairly weak draft class and the non-Zion hyped kids disappointing

  16. ptmilo

    well done recap.

    We have a lot more home games left than road games and if KP does come back and contribute, there is still a good chance we could take ourselves out of the Zion sweepstakes despite how bad we are. You may have some miserable days ahead.

    people are really having trouble internalizing the lottery odds (and also kp’s reasonable best case contribution). there is not even a modest chance we “take ourselves out of the Zion weekepstakes.” we finish 6th and we are 91pct to miss out on picking first vs 86 pct finishing last. Zion is almost surely going first (and if he somehow doesn’t we’re as likely to be that fool as anyone).

    the fact is the tank is not about Zion. It matters for draft position but barely matters for Zion. and we are not falling past six and that’s a bad case and only five percentage points.

    KP has almost no chance to matter. if he’s not being evaluated until Feb that means he’s not practicing until feb which means he isn’t returning until at least late March. If you buy that part, then you can’t be a reasonable person and think that 15-20 mpg for 10 games of a post ACL kp can possibly mean more than 1 win contribution and that’s generous. 200 minutes of a healthy Anthony Davis is probably worth 1.5 to 2 wins if he is replacing a scrub.

    We have a lot more home games left than road games

    this is offset by the fact that our remaining opponent quality is higher than average, and higher than Washington, Orlando, Chicago, Phoenix and Cleveland

  17. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    There are good players in every draft, but teams are too dumb to know who they are.

    The 2016 draft has looked pretty goddamn bad so far, but the order of draft picks by BPM:

    1, 9, 27, 29 (everyone’s negative BPM after this), 36, 30, 15, 20, 11, 7, 6

    Top 4 players in BPM in 2017: 16, 38, 24, 19

    2015: 1, 32, 27, 20, 30, 37, 11, 40, 35

    That’s some wild shit. NBA teams are baaaaaaad at drafting.

  18. ClashFan

    I guess it is nice to beat the Lakers, but they played so badly that it doesn’t seem that way. Ball and Ingram looked pretty bad.

    Plus, the Knicks heroes last night — Kanter, Burke, and Hezonja — are not part of any young core going forward. So, blah. Maybe good for trade value? Probably not.

  19. Z-man

    Yeah, not a very interesting draft beyond Zion. The sad thing for us is that even if we have the worst record outright, we have a worse chance of landing Zion than we would have if we finished 3rd under the old system. Equally depressing is the fact that the team that finishes last still has basically a 50-50 chance of picking 5th. In other words, for the team finishing with the worst record, it is more than 3 times as likely to draft at #5 than at #1.

    So sure, it’s still important to lose as many games as possible, but given how nebulous this draft class is after Zion and how unlikely that the team with the worst record will wind up with him, you could say that you are just as likely to land the second-best player at #7 as you are at #2. It would be really weird if we drafted lower than #7.

  20. Z-man

    If we drop below #5, one guy I would take a long look at is Darius Garland from Vandy. Out for the year with a repaired meniscus, he’s got handles, shot and court vision that might translate well to today’s game, especially with rim protectors and lob targets behind him. At worst, he looks like a slightly bigger Trae Young, which might be a nice floor in this draft.

  21. chrisk06811

    We are seeing one thing here that I’ve never witnessed before. We suck. Farfa is writing ALL the updates. and they are ALL amusing and well done. We had some good ones in the past…..remember when Cavan wrote about the ecstacy of Melo’s 50 point game from the point of view of someone on ecstacy? Or when Silverman used words like “Kvetch” (but, then Fix would put him in the dungeon and we wouldn’t see him for a week)?

    And the content is strong. A lot of times you guys are over my head with advanced stats, and I think you’re trying to talk me into something. but when a guy says “to wit” and then lays out a stat…..I say OK…sounds legit to me.

    Well done Farfa. One of the few things to look forward to.

  22. JK47

    During the live thread of the Cleanthony Early draft, I said there were two guys on the board who I liked when the Knicks’ pick rolled around: Spencer Dinwiddie and Jerami Grant. Phil took Cleanthony.

    He’s forgotten more about basketball than I’ll ever know though. So he does have that going for him.

  23. ptmilo

    Fun fact:

    Only 55 players in nba history (well since the mid 1970s) have, by age 23, accumulated a career bpm of -2.2 or worse in at least 4000 minutes.

    6 of them played for Knicks last night. and two others (Frank and Knox) are doing well in the nomination process.

    obviously these numbers will rise over time with earlier draft entry, but no current team is within a country mile of that.

  24. geo

    first time I saw brandon ingram out on the court for the lakers he was running down the court and some one threw him the ball about mid-court – it looked like he only needed about three steps to come swooping in from the wing with a thunderous dunk…

    at the time I immediately thought: new age james worthy…

    then as I watched him play more I noticed he had the ball in his hand all the time…brandon ingram is no lamar odom…

    I’m not sure why the lakers have him running their offense so often…

  25. Stratomatic "I'm tired of the Knicks paying lip service to DEFENSE. Get defenders & two-way players. Then play them!

    there is not even a modest chance we “take ourselves out of the Zion weekepstakes.” we finish 6th and we are 91pct to miss out on picking first vs 86 pct finishing last. Zion is almost surely going first (and if he somehow doesn’t we’re as likely to be that fool as anyone).

    I didn’t realized they flattened it that much.

    If that’s the case there’s even less point to worrying about wins. We are way better off hoping our young players get better and start winning because the path out of the hell hole they’ve put us in would be a lot faster if they are good and getting better than if they suck and we “theoretically” improve our lottery position a couple of slots and try to guess which of several similar players will actually be better when he’s out of puberty.

    I’d take even money the Knicks wind up with a better home than away record this year.

  26. english_knick

    At the risk of repeating myself from previous threads it still really matters – maybe even more – to have a bad record with the new odds. If we finish fifth worst there is now a non-trivial chance we pick NINTH. just think about that.

  27. Bruno Almeida

    @31

    Yes, a top 3 worst record still at least somewhat guaranteed a top 5, 6 pick. That’s not negligible. having the 5th worst record and picking 8th or 9th is realistic and absolutely nightmarish.

  28. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    If that’s the case there’s even less point to worrying about wins.

    Nope. The draft is not an all-or-nothing thing. You still want the #2 pick over the #7 pick. And you definitely still want the 2nd slot (max pick #6) over the 5th slot (max 9th).

  29. rama, mayor of Realitytown

    The flattened odds do make it easier to enjoy wins this year.

    Farfa, great recap! Love the System Failure… I relate.

  30. rama, mayor of Realitytown

    @31, 32 – It’s A LITTLE easier to enjoy wins this year. Not a lot easier.

  31. Jack Bauer

    With the flattened odds it is imperative to research and pick the best player available at the spot you end up in.

    The Knicks history of actually doing this is, ahem, below average… and that’s putting it kindly

  32. Stratomatic "I'm tired of the Knicks paying lip service to DEFENSE. Get defenders & two-way players. Then play them!

    Nope. The draft is not an all-or-nothing thing. You still want the #2 pick over the #7 pick. And you definitely still want the 2nd slot (max pick #6) over the 5th slot (max 9th).

    I agree that you always want to select higher. Only an fool would dispute that.

    I am saying the incremental value of finishing lower is even lower than it used to be and both are worth WAY LESS than actually having good young players.

    If you gave me a choice of finishing with the 28th-30th best record because Knox, Frank, Trier, Robinson, KP, etc.. all still suck the rest of the way or finishing with a flurry and getting the 7th pick because:

    1. Knox is hitting close to 40% from 3, 80% from the FT line, and improving his defense the rest of the way

    2. Robinson is playing meaningful minutes, staying out foul trouble, staying as efficient around the rim, still blocking shots, and expanding his offense a little

    3. KP comes back and looks terrific over the last x games

    4. Frank is hitting 3s at 35+% down the stretch, playing more comfortably, and locking down on D

    I’d WAY WAY WAY take the latter scenario.

    When you are rooting to lose or tank, you are really sort of indirectly rooting for all the young players we already have to suck. That’s bat shit crazy.

  33. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    BPM leaders:

    1. Zion Williamson Duke 20.2
    2. Brandon Clarke Gonzaga 18.5
    3. Xavier Tillman Michigan State 17.8
    4. Jarrett Culver Texas Tech 16.1
    5. Grant Williams Tennessee 15.1
    6. Juwan Morgan Indiana 15.0
    7. Chuma Okeke Auburn 14.7
    8. Jaxson Hayes Texas 14.4
    9. Tristan Clark Baylor 14.1
    10. Nickeil Alexander-Walker Virginia Tech 13.8

    Find a volume scorer on the list and give him to me as an undrafted FA.

  34. Bruno Almeida

    @37

    Well, I think most of us would agree with you, the issue we have is that there’s a realistic chance that we pick 7th AND the things you’re saying don’t happen.

    Obviously it’s got to be either the 7th and improvement from the meaningful guys or a top 3 pick, but it’s pretty realistic to imagine not much improvement plus the 7th, which is the knicksian scenario.

  35. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    I am saying the incremental value of finishing lower is even lower than it used to be and both are worth WAY LESS than actually having good young players.

    Sure, and I’d rather see Knox and Ntilikina turn into legitimate NBA players than rub a lucky coin and hope that this lottery pick, as opposed to our last three, will turn out to be an indisputable superstar. But they’re playing, they suck, and they’re mostly expected to, being young players in a league where being crafty and smart and experienced seems ever more valuable (see: James Harden).

    But it’s not an either/or. Right now they’re getting valuable experience (except Ntilikina, b/c Fizdale is into BDSM I guess) and the Knicks are losing. Win-win.

    The Knicksiest thing that could happen is getting the #2 pick, the Suns/Hawks/Cavs picking R.J. Barrett for literally no reason, and then Mills and Fiz pick Cam Reddish because “fit” and “upside,” and most importantly, “coachability.”

  36. BigBlueAL

    In his last move as Knicks president Phil Jackson used the 8th pick of the draft on Frank. That was a perfect parting gift by Phil and a perfect example at how God awful he was at his job with the Knicks.

  37. Stratomatic "I'm tired of the Knicks paying lip service to DEFENSE. Get defenders & two-way players. Then play them!

    Look, we all know Frank sucks on offense and has been a little spottier on defense this year. But we also knew before we picked him he was a multi year project on offense. It’s way too early to judge what kind of player he will ultimately be. If you feel compelled to judge now, then you are exactly the type of fan that people have been talking about when they say NYers don’t have the stomach for a draft rebuild.

    The same thing can be said for Porzinigs. Coming in, EVERYONE said he was a 4 year project because he was so weak and skinny.

    Dennis Smith Jr sucks on defense. Despite some progress, he’s still bad on offense. I’d rather have Frank over Dennis Smith Jr. On a team with Prozingis and Knox, I’d way rather have Frank than DSJ.

  38. Stratomatic "I'm tired of the Knicks paying lip service to DEFENSE. Get defenders & two-way players. Then play them!

    The Knicksiest thing that could happen is getting the #2 pick, the Suns/Hawks/Cavs picking R.J. Barrett for literally no reason, and then Mills and Fiz pick Cam Reddish because “fit” and “upside,” and most importantly, “coachability.”

    On this we agree.

    The current management is terrible and is very likely to overvalue “pointz” and “athleticism” over defense, play making, the efficiency of scoring, and basketball IQ.

  39. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Look, we all know Frank sucks on offense and has been a little spottier on defense this year. But we also knew before we picked him he was a multi year project on offense. It’s way too early to judge what kind of player he will ultimately be. If you feel compelled to judge now, then you are exactly the type of fan that people have been talking about when they say NYers don’t have the stomach for a draft rebuild.

    It’s too early to definitively say, but check out this list of players.

    2001-2019, single seasons, >700 MP, $120M over the course of his long, useless career (38,000 regular season minutes vs. 2,000 playoff minutes, so either the unluckiest player or a guy who was chucking his teams away from playoff berths).

    The argument “prove he won’t be good” doesn’t really hold up here. The track record, per BPM, is that he’s in league with some of the worst players of the new century. That does not bode well.

  40. Stratomatic "I'm tired of the Knicks paying lip service to DEFENSE. Get defenders & two-way players. Then play them!

    By the way, rather than just keeping his mouth shut, Mills is still defending the Hardaway deal and his aggressive offer.

  41. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    http://bkref.com/tiny/vWt8m

    For some reason, this didn’t post complete–

    It’s too early to definitively say, but check out this list of players.

    2001-2019, single seasons, >700 MP, $120M over the course of his long, useless career (38,000 regular season minutes vs. 2,000 playoff minutes, so either the unluckiest player or a guy who was chucking his teams away from playoff berths).

    The argument “prove he won’t be good” doesn’t really hold up here. The track record, per BPM, is that he’s in league with some of the worst players of the new century. That does not bode well.

  42. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Look at that list! Can you find one basketball player that you hope Ntilikina develops into? Jamal Crawford? Nick Young? Austin Rivers? 34-year-old Rip Hamilton? 2017-18’s Isaiah Thomas? The rotten corpse of Patrick Ewing?

    Whether you believe in the precision of BPM or not, you have to admit that that is a list of 149 scrubs. And yeah, it’s nice that Ntilikina is so young, that he joins the illustrious ranks of Dajuan Wagner, Collin Sexton, Jonny Flynn, Hezonja, Josh Jackson, DeShawn Stevenson, Mo Williams, Jamal Crawford, Sebastian Telfair and Kevin Knox as some of the youngest players to receive burn while being positively dreadful at NBA basketball.

    You have to admit that there are no players on that list that could be worth a 7th pick. Not even Jamal Crawford, whom one might argue is the best player on the list, but is still an overrated chucker who has fleeced unsuspecting teams out of >$120M over the course of his long, useless career (38,000 regular season minutes vs. 2,000 playoff minutes, so either the unluckiest player or a guy who was chucking his teams away from playoff berths).

  43. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Sorry, Knickerblogger is CENSORING ME, I tell you, CENSORSHIP.

    That should have all been one post.

  44. geo

    At the risk of repeating myself from previous threads it still really matters – maybe even more – to have a bad record with the new odds. If we finish fifth worst there is now a non-trivial chance we pick NINTH. just think about that.

    the night is dark, and full of terrors

  45. Stratomatic "I'm tired of the Knicks paying lip service to DEFENSE. Get defenders & two-way players. Then play them!

    @45

    He’s struggling badly this year, but I think part of it is that he doesn’t have a defined role yet. They are pushing Mudiay, there is no functional offensive system, and he’s playing with guys that are a back hole when they get the ball. I see what the boxscore says, but I think his skills are better this year. It just hasn’t translated yet. Maybe he’ll do better with KP on the court.

    I’m not sure who I would compare him to.

    Guys like him often aren’t in the NBA at this stage (they stay in college longer because pointz) or they are totally buried on good teams. I might compare him to a guy like Rozier. When Rozier came into the NBA he was older than Frank is now and was pretty horrible on offense. But he’s a tough kid, works hard, and he’s getting better. If Frank breaks out (and I realize that’s an if), I think it’s going to come later than for some other players. At that point he’ll be a 3&D play maker.

  46. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    He’s struggling badly this year, but I think part of it is that he doesn’t have a defined role yet.

    Maybe it’s true that Fizdale’s “?????” offense doesn’t help any, but there’s no way in hell that role is the difference between a 38.8% 2PT, 30% 3PT shooter and even a 25th percentile shooter. Right now, Frank is a 1st percentile shooter. “Defining his role in the offense” will not make him any more prone to hitting open shots. It’s basketball. Guys switch teams and are productive right away when they shoot well and do the tangible stuff like fight for rebounds, pass to open teammates, and take the ball from their opponents.

    It’s not rocket science. If Fizdale’s system is that bad that it’s responsible for him being among the worst players in the league, Fizdale should be fired yesterday. And if the system isn’t responsible, who is? (A: Frank Ntilikina.)

  47. JK47

    We all know about Dolan’s Razor.

    Occam’s Razor, on the other hand, pretty much says that Frank Ntilikina sucks.

  48. Z-man

    is there a possibility that maybe frank would be better off in another situation?

    Yeah, most definitely. He’d be far better off on any team that isn’t one of the 30 teams in the NBA.

  49. BigBlueAL

    Guys, Frank was drafted 8th overall in the NBA draft. If Frank was a 2nd rd pick or undrafted signed to a 2-way contract then whatever. But he is making almost 5m this season with team options of 6m and 8m the next 2 years. He barely belongs in the G-League let alone making that much money on an NBA roster.

  50. ptmilo

    of course we don’t know with high confidence what frank will be. I don’t think it’s close to obvious he busts out of the league. but two things are unavoidable. the vast majority of nba players who turn out to be really good and start out terribly tend to improve quickly. like what fox is doing this year. defined role or not, it’s hard to imagine anyone has watched frank this year without downgrading the odds of really good case outcomes for him.

    the corollary to that is that slow developing useful but merely decent players have very low npv for their draft team. draft value mostly comes from players who can contribute while on rookie scale and/or eventual homeruns who are so good their second deal is a predictable discount even at 25pct max. sometimes you get lucky in a second contract like Steph curry not being an injury disaster or Winslow being a later developer (oh sorry got ahead of myself there), but those are offset by second contract overpays like Wiggins or Allen Crabbe (or cj, for that matter).

    and we already are getting many signs that frank is likely to fit in the latter category as a good case. he’s not likely to provide notable excess value on his rookie deal, and even if he improves it probably won’t be into a 25pct max type player. the incumbent advantage of betting on his next contract just isn’t that great.

  51. geo

    so, there’s most certainly some skepticism towards the general integrity of the front office…

    was wondering last night if all the knox minutes logged recently are a directed effort by knicks to buff his numbers and get him some industry recognition (as someone mentioned earlier not a great rookie class in the east)…

    if so, to whose benefit: knox or the front office…

    not sure, minutes wise, when the rookie wall kicks in, but, if fiz feels the need to have fox out there 35 minutes a night – hopefully he breaks up the time on the court more…

  52. mokers

    @57 interesting to think about. Would you take Mudiay at 2/12 if it meant we declined frank’s team option?

    I think he could be good but he needs to learn so many basketball basics even with this natural defensive instincts. He needs to play every day in the g league to see if he progresses if nothing else.

  53. BigBlueAL

    I believe Frank’s 3rd yr option has already been picked up, think it had to be picked up prior to opening night.

  54. Bruno Almeida

    @60

    The Knicks have already picked up Frank’s option for next season, 19-20, they did it before the season even started.

    They could decline his 4th year option eventually, but I really don’t see the point unless those 5 million is the difference between a very good player coming or not, and that’s very very unlikely.

    Leave the kid on the roster and see what happens, there’s no point in getting rid of him just because he doesn’t provide surplus value right now.

  55. BigBlueAL

    His 4th yr is his qualifying offer which is slightly over 8m. Many lottery picks, Mario being one of them, get that offer declined and become unrestricted FA’s. Pretty sure that’s where Frank is headed.

  56. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    At the time of this post, Zion has scored more 8 points than Barrett and Reddish combined, on about half the shot attempts.

    Is there anyone on this board who’d take either over him? If so, can you please jump in the East River?

  57. DRed

    that Zion 3 pa might have been short from the foul line

    Did you see the way he just floated in the air on that 360 dunk?

  58. Bruno Almeida

    @63

    you’re wrong. Frank’s 2020/21 year is a team option for 6.1 million, and then the next year is the qualifying offer year for 8+ million.

    What happened with Hezonja is that Orlando straight up declined to pick his 4th year team option.

  59. ptmilo

    if Ed stefanski isn’t on the phone 8 hours a day trying to trade Blake Griffin he should be fired. Jose Calderon has recently become a key cog for the pistons, and not on the the coaching staff.

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

    I can understand being disappointed in Ntilikina’s performance so far this year. I’m disappointed too, even though I always expected him to be a three or four project to develop. But worrying about paying him, when his salary will only be $6M in 2020-21 (his fourth year), is ridiculous. I mean, Shumpert makes $11M now, and his second season stats were only slightly better than Ntilikina’s stats this year despite being 22 instead of 20. If Ntilikina is a backup guard but is in a team’s normal rotation (one that isn’t musical chairs), then $6M is a bargain by NBA standards.

  61. Donnie Walsh

    Many lottery picks, Mario being one of them, get that offer declined and become unrestricted FA’s. Pretty sure that’s where Frank is headed.

    Mario Hezonja, Marquis Chriss, Dragan Bender…

    All three of these guys recently had their 4th year option declined. All three of them went from bad to worse in their second seasons. All of their drafting teams regret drafting them, but won’t regret letting them go.

    Frank hasn’t shown himself to be any better than any of these three yet. In fact, in many ways he’s shown himself to be even worse.

    And you can’t even send him down to the G-League cause that’s a place where the Jimmers of the world go to feast. What happens if Frank doesn’t stand out down there? It would ruin whatever small chance of development that he has.

    Phoenix and Orlando are both in extended rebuilds with plenty of time to wait, and even they cut and run on their busted lottery picks. I think the Knicks declining the 4th year option on Frank next year is a pretty realistic bet to make.

  62. Donnie Walsh

    Shumpert makes $11M now, and his second season stats were only slightly better than Ntilikina’s stats this year despite being 22 instead of 20. If Ntilikina is a backup guard but is in a team’s normal rotation (one that isn’t musical chairs), then $6M is a bargain by NBA standards.

    But you can hire bad players to be your backup guards for basically free, so why pay bad players 6-11 million to do it, especially in a salary capped economic system? It’s the recipe for failure.

  63. Brian Cronin

    If they’re even seriously considering declining his fourth year option this offseason, they really need to trade him now then. He loses any slight trade value the moment you do that.

  64. Farfa Post author

    But does it make any sense? A lottery pick, as much a bust as it can be, keeps some trade value by virtue of its draft selection (it’s terribly stupid but – ahem – Mudiay).

  65. Brian Cronin

    Agreed, but once you decline that fourth year, you kneecap any team trading for the guy, as he’ll be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year. Who would want to trade for a year of Frank, ya know?

    I think they probably will end up picking up the fourth-year option, just noting that if they are considering dropping it, then they gotta get rid of him now.

  66. Farfa Post author

    Actually I was agreeing with you Brian, I just phrased my sentence in the wrong way :)

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