For the third time in a row, our Knicks couldn’t reach the triple-digit threshold, and for the second game straight they looked like they could finally pull it off. This time it was a very, very close game until the end of the third quarter, when the two teams were perfectly tied at 71. From there on, our guys kept on misfiring while the Hornets suddenly caught fire from three, and the game was suddenly over thanks to a flurry of Malik Monk trifectas and a few inspired minutes from an unusually lethargic Kemba. Good minutes from Parker and Willy (miss ya) were the icing on the cake for Charlotte.
With Frank sidelined by a groin injury, Kadeem Allen was called up (he’s the recipient of the two-way contract vacated by Trier signing his NBA contract) and was promptly given 18 minutes. I’m not complaining about it, actually I liked it. The thing is, you realize you’re not at rock bottom of a tanking season when you’re actually happy to see a 26 year old former second round pick on the court because you don’t have to watch Burke and Hardaway chuck their way into oblivion. Actually Hardaway didn’t play that bad last night (even 10 boards for him!), but he’s definitely gone into post 2012/13 Melo territory, where you realize he’s the most talented “scorer” you have in your roster but can’t stand to watch him more than a few sparse minutes here and there. This concept fully evolved in my mind while watching this game into a system I called F.A.T.A.L., which stands for Future attractiveness, Actual attractiveness, Tradeabilitly, Aid for the tank and Laughingstock appeal. Since these games don’t have a lot to talk about (especially when your best and most exciting player gets only 13 minutes of play for who knows what reason), let’s examine the guys on our roster through their F.A.T.A.L. scores. If a guy scores more than 28 at F.A.T.A.L., you might find it easier to root for him when he’s on the court.
Before doing that, let’s take a look at how every category is graded:
Future attractiveness: the name says it all. It doesn’t matter if your guy’s young and unproven but has a lot of potential, or if he’s already a star in the making. What matters is how good you predict he will be in three years, more or less. For reference: 1 is Vince Carter/Dirk Nowitzki, 10 is Luka/Zion.
Actual attractiveness: again, the name says it all. How good’s your guy now? 1: Cameron Payne; 10: Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Tradeability: a lot of factors here. The contract is in play as much as the actual skillset and position on the floor. 1: pre-stretch provision Joakim Noah; 10: pretty much every real max player on a long contract plus a few rookie scale contracts where the guys are really good. Let’s say Anthony Davis to stay in the moment.
Aid for the tank: how badly is your guy contributing to the misfortune of his team? This time the scale is inverted as not to mix apples and oranges, so 1 is a good aid for the tank (think LaVine) and 10 is terrible aid for the tank (John Collins?). This category is hard to value for non-tanking teams, but it’s pretty clear that, I don’t know, Pascal Siakam would get 10 nonetheless.
Laughingstock appeal: is your guy prone to at least elicit a burst of laughter in a dreary stretch of games? The scale here is not inverted, as goofy entertaiment is still entertainment, but it’s reduced from 1 to 5. 1: Chris Paul or whatever boring guy you can think of. 5: prime JaVale McGee and/or JR Smith.
Now, with that laid on the table, let’s examine the guys who played last night and the ones we have on the injured/useless list.
Future Attractiveness: 3. A 29 year old welterweight back-up point guard who’s apparently not able to run basic sets must be all the rage in 2022 NBA.
Actual Attractiveness: 4. A 26 year old welterweight back-up poing guard who’s apparently able to hit a few midrange shots might be a tad more helpful to fringe playoff teams.
Tradeability: 6. His contract is very team-friendly, and he’s probably one of the most tradeable guys we have on our roster because of that.
Aid for the tank: 3. He’s not as bad as other guys, but his inability to propel anyone on offense if not himself and his size on defense are not a winning formula.
Laughingstock appeal: 2. Without his cornrows and with his relatively newfound faith, he looks pretty boring.
Final F.A.T.A.L. score: 18.
Tim Hardaway Jr:
Future Attractiveness: 5. A 29 year old Jamal Crawford sixth man type should stick in the league for a while, maybe even helping actual fringe contenders.
Actual Attractiveness: 5. A 26 year old Jamal Crawford sixth man type should be useful. The problem’s in the contract (and consequent role in the team), not in his overall play.
Tradeability: 3. Again, the problem is the contract, and the trade kicker. Yeah, he’s “officially” on the trade block. Fun fact: I’m “officially” in search of a job in the USA, but that doesn’t mean I will likely breathe American air soon. Actually, I’m “officially” in that position since 2008, so…
Aid for the tank: 4. Timmy’s not a tank commander anymore. He’s just a mediocre usage soaking placeholder.
Laughingstock appeal: 3. I think Timmy’s an underrated comedic rant guy. I wish they would mic him up, I found his recent bitching promising.
Final F.A.T.A.L. score: 20.
Future Attractiveness: 6. Mayyyybe he’ll reach average efficiency by year 22, becoming a good tertiary piece. Or maybe he will bust out of the league after having changed three teams. Dunno.
Actual Attractiveness: 3. A starting wing who’s posting negative WS/48 and highly negative BPM (-5.9) has only his young age and a few high-scoring games as reasons to like him.
Tradeability: 7. He’s a rookie lottery pick and he’s scoring in double figures. That’s all it takes to convince a GM it makes sense to trade for him.
Aid for the tank: 1. See “actual attractiveness”. He’s a master tank commander right now.
Laughingstock appeal: 3. He looks always half asleep, but his confused drives and awkward floaters are exactly at the edge between “morbidly funny” and “absolute cringe”.
Final F.A.T.A.L. score: 20.
Future Attractiveness: 1. The most likely guy in the whole league to stick around only as a chemist, the role Bill Simmons invented for Royal Ivey. A guy who doesn’t contribute anything on the court but makes everything run smoothly in the locker room.
Actual Attractiveness: 2. It would be a 1, if not for the fact that him starting makes it possible not to play Enes.
Tradeability: 3. He’s essentially an expiring contract, could be good for matching salaries purpose.
Aid for the tank: 2. Lance can’t even be super bad. He’s mediocre even at being bad.
Laughingstock appeal: 4. The guy seems a serious professional. The player is an uncoordinated mess who looks like a mix between a lamppost and a housewife doing a botched impression of a whirling dervish. It’s impossible not to laugh at his spin moves. He’s also easy to build funny metaphors around.
Final F.A.T.A.L. score: 12.
Future Attractiveness: 7. A mini Draymond Green (if this is not a contract year phenomenon) will be very useful in his prime in 2022.
Actual Attractiveness: 6. His recent slump shouldn’t take away anything from the fact that he’s a solid player.
Tradeability: 6. This is one of the cases where having a short contract makes it harder to trade the guy, especially because he’s at the minimum so it’s pretty much impossibile to retain him with non-Bird rights. Still, he might be in demand around the league for teams looking to shore up their frontcourt with solid if unspectacular guys.
Aid for the tank: 6. I don’t think he could be bad enough this season to really be a tank factor even if he wanted to. He helped the tank anyway in a few games via fouling and/or turning the ball over.
Laughingstock appeal: 2. I find him a bit blah on this. He actually fits the part of an old-school guy.
Final F.A.T.A.L. score: 27.
Future Attractiveness: 6. He’s an old rookie. In 2022 he’ll be 26. It’s unlikely the finished product will be better that what it is now, but it still looks like a capable NBA player.
Actual Attractiveness: 7. Yes, old, but still a rookie. It feels good when a first-year guy is even slightly productive (if his role was full-time PG, this grade would take a nosedive to 4). A bonus point for the fact that he’s the only guy who can find Mitch for a lob.
Tradeability: 7. An even better version of the Trey Burke contract for a better level of production.
Aid for the tank: 5. If he plays off the ball, he’s not a tank factor. If he plays PG, he’s a tank feldmarschall
Laughingstock appeal: 2. I don’t find anything about Trier funny. Maybe the fact that he looks like a cross between Pharrell Williams and Sam Cassell? Bonus point for the Twitter blunder.
Final F.A.T.A.L. score: 27.
Future Attractiveness: 6. If you hit 38% of your threes and don’t turn the ball over you’ll always have a spot in a rotation.
Actual Attractiveness: 5. Maybe 5 is low, but he’s on an extended slump where he doesn’t score a lot and doesn’t rebound well.
Tradeability: 8. His contract is ultra team-friendly. Apart from our 2019 1st and Mitch, he’s our best sweetener.
Aid for the tank: 5. He’s so average that he can neither help nor hinder the tank.
Laughingstock appeal: -1. I can’t overlook the alleged accusations. I’m sorry.
Final F.A.T.A.L. score: 23.
Future Attractiveness: 1. Does anyone really think that in 2022 Hezonja will still be in the NBA?
Actual Attractiveness: 3. His rare bursts of good basketball are too few to think it’s a good thing to have him on the court. A bonus point for the Giannis stepover.
Tradeability: 3. He’s an expiring, which counts for something.
Aid for the tank: 1. When he was starting, he was an amazing tank officer.
Laughingstock appeal: 4. I like his banters with Kanter (which brings to my attention the strange fact that Clyde never rhymed Kanter with banter).
Final F.A.T.A.L. score: 12.
Future Attractiveness: 8. You can’t look at him without thinking he has at least a 25% chance to become the next best rim-running big man in the League. At worst, he’ll be a Chandler-lite at 23.
Actual Attractiveness: 9. Bonus point for being a rookie. I wish NBA League Pass had an option where you could select a guy and it would show you only the portions of the game where that guy was on the floor. I wouldn’t use it this season because I have to write things, but I would certainly recommend it to everyone.
Tradeability: 10. His contract is absurdly very team-friendly, and he’s posting absurd advanced stats.
Aid for the tank: 4. Fouls too much and doesn’t rebound enough.
Laughingstock appeal: 3. I think he will become a very funny guy. Right now I like the faces he makes out of frustration when he fouls out.
Final F.A.T.A.L. score: 34.
Future Attractiveness: 4. As a 26 year old back-up point guard, maybe you could do worse. Not sure, but there’s a chance.
Actual Attractiveness: 4. Until last year I would have said he was a 2. Baby steps!
Tradeability: 6. He’s an expiring young PG with Bird-rights attached and a soon to be RFA. A savvy front office would be calling everyone to trade him away and it wouldn’t be that hard.
Aid for the tank: 2. If not for his improved, if unsusteinable, midrange shooting, he’d be the definitive tank commander. As it is he’s bad enough to make up for his semi-efficiency to be offset by his terrible defense and inability to involve other guys consistently.
Laughingstock appeal: 2. I can only see sadness when I look at Mud, even during his 30-point outings.
Final F.A.T.A.L. score: 16.
Future Attractiveness: 5. At least three bonus points for defense and some hope he’ll fix his three point shot. If I had to guess his future only from his offensive ability, he’d be a nice backup in the French second division.
Actual Attractiveness: 4. Only because he’s young, enjoys playing defense and we picked him. He shows glimpses, but I’m afraid that he’s too unathletic to really pan out.
Tradeability: 6. Former lottery pick, contract not that big. Fairly easy to trade away (for a bag of beans, but still).
Aid for the tank: 3. I think he’s actually a bit better than Mudiay, even with all his flaws. People seem to play a bit more focused around him.
Laughingstock appeal: 2. He had a few funny turnovers, and that’s all.
Final F.A.T.A.L. score: 21.
Future Attractiveness: 7. If Matt Bullard played until 34 in a League that wasn’t as perimeter oriented as it is now, Kornet will be a nice commodity for a few years.
Actual Attractiveness: 5. He’s definitely not a starting-caliber center. He’s also a weak rebounder.
Tradeability: 6. Expiring, but without Bird rights.
Aid for the tank: 5. I actually think he would have been instrumental to a few wins if not for the personnel around him.
Laughingstock appeal: 3. Again, goofy is funny.
Final F.A.T.A.L. score: 26.
Future Attractiveness: 6. If he accepts the fact that he’s not gonna get paid and he’s not gonna start, he’ll be useful until his late thirties. His game doesn’t age.
Actual Attractiveness: 5. He’s in the wrong situation, in the wrong city, in the wrong decade. A bonus point for fighting that lunatic Erdogan.
Tradeability: 3. Expiring, but no chance in hell that he’ll get traded for anything valuable.
Aid for the tank: 3. Great numbers, horrible defense. He was also actively stunting the development of a few pieces.
Laughingstock appeal: 4. “Watch me being selected for the All-Star Game!”.
Final F.A.T.A.L. score: 18.
Kadeem Allen: INC (“Is it good that two two-way contract players in the same season look better than your 2017 lottery pick? Discuss”)
Future Attractiveness: 1. I think this is his last contract.
Actual Attractiveness: 3. Solid veteran. Nothing else.
Tradeability: 2. Thanks Phil!
Aid for the tank: 5. He’s not good for the tank, but he’s not good for anything as of now.
Laughingstock appeal: 2. A good professional. Bonus point for the old “dumb and dumberer” tweet about Ron Baker starting in his place in 2017.
Final F.A.T.A.L. score: 13.
And that’s your F.A.T.A.L. chart:
I think it works!
And now on to see how Luka (F.A.T.A.L. score: 42) will ruthlessly shred our pathetic defense.