Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

New York Knicks 92 – Toronto Raptors 128 – Again, not a Game Recap

Honestly I don’t know what to tell you. This game was probably the worst of the season in terms of actual appeal (I think the Utah one was a bit worse thanks to that dismal first half, but I’m getting to the point where I’m not caring about anything Knicks related for the season. It’s a side effect of the fact that we have so few rootable guys around, I guess) and I found my mind wandering around quite a bit during the game, so I’ll do something different: I’ll reverse engineer our roster, putting into Basketball Reference the exact combination of numbers from every Knick (points, rebounds, assists, minutes played) and selecting the matching performance with the lowest GameScore, just to see what sort of total failure would be needed to assemble a worst team than the one we have right now (hint: it’s possibile that this exercise won’t end with such a bad team).

Ladies and gentleman, I present to you the Alternate History New York Knicks:

At starting center (DeAndre Jordan, GmSc 7.2): Mehmet Okur (6 pts, 6 rebs, 3 ast, 20 mp, GmSc 2.2). Do you remember Memo? He was a stretch big when stretch bigs weren’t all the rage in the NBA. He wasn’t also a bad player at all, finishing his career with a WS/48 of .142, or .065 less than what Mitch Lob is sporting right now. Memo won an NBA title with the Pistons in 2004 as a competent backup big and then proceeded to cash out with Utah, where he was a part of those post-Stockton to Malone iterations that were pesky in the playoffs but never amounted to much. The only Knicks-themed thing I can think of, about Memo, is that Bargs was supposed to be the better version of Okur. Of course, he ended up being just the worse version of BJ Mullens. Anyway, a good choice for starting center. AHNYK start with the right foot. Advantage: tie (prime DAJ would have better than average Okur, but current DeAndre isn’t much better than the big Turk was in his full career).

At starting power forward (Mario Hezonja, GmSc 5.0): Bob McAdoo (8 pts, 5 rebs, 3 ast, 27mp, GmSc 2.9). Wow, really? So the combo PF-C of the AHNYK would be a good stretch five who made an All Star Game and an Hall of Famer? Uh, Mario, you might be in trouble here. Bob McAdoo, who has been a Knick for a full season and two half ones was, was a superb scorer in his heyday, leading the league in total WS in his third season and in PER in his second one, both with the Buffalo Braves. While he was at it, he went on and won ROY in 72-73 and MVP in 74-75. He’s currently 58th ever in career PER. Advantage: AHNYK (but Mario, don’t worry, that block will always be in our hearts).

At starting small forward (Kevin Knox, GmSc 6.9): Danny Manning (12 pts, 6 rebs, 1 ast, 28mp, GmSc 2.8). Oh, wow. Manning was a bit too tall to effectively play small forward even in his much less small-ball reliant era (he actually played just 47 minutes overall at SF since play-by-play data was available for B-R), but he was a pretty good player. The first overall pick in 1988, his career was effectively derailed by injuries, but he found a pretty good niche as a sixth man, winning the 6MOY award in 1997-98, but not before having made two All-Star Games in 1993 and 1994. In a weird stat, he’s 90th ever in personal fouls in the NBA. If someone told me Knox would become a Danny Manning-like player, I’d slap him and myself on the face from joy. So, advantage: AHNYK.

At starting shooting guard (Damyean Dotson, GmSc 6.6): Nate Robinson (11 pts, 0 rebs, 0 ast, 18mp, GmSc 2.7). I don’t think I have to tell you who Nate was, right? It would be strange seeing him start at SG, since he didn’t play a single minutes outside of the PG position in all of his career (his height, or lack thereof, pretty much prevented him from playing his more natural role of combo guard). But, did you know that Nate posted a quite respectable .096 WS/48 for his career? If you asked me before this weird exercise which was the career WS/48 number for the three-time Slam Dunk Champion, I would have guessed .050. He was better that I (we?) remember. He also has a Player of the Week honor under his belt. Advantage: tie (for height purposes, but average Nate was a better player than actual Dot is now).

At starting point guard (Emmanuel Mudiay, GmSc 3.6): Andrew Toney (7 pts, 0 reb, 3 asts, 21mp, GmSc -3.8). I’m quite in awe of the fact that I didn’t force any position in the B-R Game Finder search engine and it still found, in a total random way, a plausible starting five. I mean, I was quite sure this boxscore line (7/0/3 in 21 minutes) could have been posted by any single type of player. Amazingly, of the 23 such performances no single one was posted by a forward or a center. The tallest guy to post such a bad line was the 6’7″ Eddie Johnson. Anyway, Andrew Toney, the prototypical microwave scorer who was a very important cog in the 1983 NBA Champions 76ers, had a brief but prestigious career: two-times All-Star, one-time NBA Champion, an astounding 15th place in MVP votes in 1985. His Knicks ties reside in his running backcourt mate with the Sixers. Mo Cheeks, and the fact that TDDWTDD had Andrew’s surname as his name. Advantage: AHNYK (and if you switched positions and put Toney at SG and Nate as PG, both positions would result in an advantage for the AHNYK, who are actually built, until now, like a 5-th place in the East team).

First three reserves:

First one (Allonzo Trier, GmSc 18.3): Danilo Gallinari (22 pts, 4 rebs, 3 ast, 31 mp, GmSc 12.8). It turns out it’s hard to post a bad GameScore with these numbers, huh? Anyway, Gallo is another one I needn’t tell you anything about, apart from my #feels every time I see him play. I always liked his game, and I suffered like hell when we traded him away in the Melo package. Oh, about Melo: don’t look now, but the career WP/48 of Gallo is actually higher than Melo’s one. Here’s your curio about Danilo: he’s currently 20th ever in the history of the NBA in TO% and 14th ever in ORtg (really, look it up). If we strike out in free agency, I would be glad to welcome him back somehow. Advantage: AHNYK (sorry Zo, kinda good game, but Gallo is too good for you).

Second one (Mitchell Robinson, GmSc -0.1): Solomon Jones (0 pts, 5 rebs, 0 ast, 14 mp, GmSc -5.8). Who? Well, actually Solomon Jones was a no-nonsense bruiser who ended up playing 281 games in the NBA (2 with the Knicks in 2012-13, and he even started one!) while doing nothing well enough to grant him a real place in some team’s rotation. His career high in points scored is 14, in boards is 10 and in blocks is 5 (this one, not bad). Somehow, he ended his career with an average WS/48 of .078. You know who doesn’t have a WS/48 of .078 this season? Every current Knick not named Mitch, DeAndre, Kadeem, and Noah. Anyway, advantage: Actual Knicks.

Third one (Kadeem Allen, GmSc -7.4): Chucky Atkins (0 pts, 1 reb, 1 ast, 26mp, GmSc -2.2). As you can see, actually the worst ever has been our own Kadeem last night, but for the sake of this exercise I went with the next one, the perennial journeyman Chucky Atkins, an 11 season veteran sporting a not so bad .077 WS/48 for his career. Somehow he ended up playing the 20th most minutes in the whole league in 2004-05. Advantage: tie (only because I’m feeling generous).

It’s incredible: even cherry picking the worst outings in terms of Game Score with the same exact numbers, the Alternate History New York Knicks end up with this 8 man rotation: Okur/McAdoo/Manning/Toney/Nate Robinson with Gallo as their sixth man and two journeymen filling the other spots. They would simply crush us, like 128-92 crush us. In other news: we have a very, very bad team.

One quick note about the game: in the beginning of the third quarter, with the game already out of hand, Fiz elected to substitute the entire starting five out of the game at once. With 10:55 to go! I supported that move, but it goes to point out how much this game was a debacle.

See you on Wednesday!

 

Liked it? Take a second to support Farfa on Patreon!

30 comments on “New York Knicks 92 – Toronto Raptors 128 – Again, not a Game Recap

  1. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    First impression: This is the worst draft class I have ever seen.

    In terms of peak talent, or the numerous scrubs slated to go in the top 10?

  2. mase

    I’m starting to feel the best players are late firsts early secound rounders. Both saminc and simanic are prime examples. Someone is getting lucky with one or both

  3. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Maybe this is what you meant, but I think you’re saying that the best players are (on average) *chosen* at the end of the 1st or beginning of the second. Why do you think that is?

  4. ess-dog

    I’m convinced we’ll be picking 5th, in which case I like one of Hachimura/Hunter/Johnson – solid shooting, switchable wings. They might be role players, but we just need good players regardless of usage.

  5. Z-man

    I’m looking for a bias/heuristic to explain why NBA decision-makers may value draftees based on “expert” opinions that become mainstream and are deathly afraid of “reaching” for a player who is ranked much lower than the draft experts say. Maybe it’s the “Availability cascade?” For example, drafting Kawhi Leonard at #1 would have seemed dumb at the time, even though he turned out to be the best player in that draft. Jowles really liked him pre-draft, but if he were a GM of an NBA team, would he have had the cohones to pick him at #1? Or even at #3? (some mock drafts had him as high as #7, but the consensus had him in the low lottery and no one had him in the top 3.

    So once you are drafting outside the lottery, maybe pre-draft rankings matter less and players that fall through the cracks of the hype machine are safer to pick.

    It is truly amazing how many guys drafted outside the top 14 have become top-10 players by VORP in the average draft:
    2000: 7
    2001: 4
    2002: 5
    2003: 4 (greatest draft ever?)
    2004: 6
    2005: 6 (4 pick #40 or later!)
    2006: 4
    2007: 4
    2008: 6
    2009: 5
    2010: 1 (but a shitty crop and Hassan Whiteside is weirdly #12 on the list)
    2011: 7 (including Kawhi)
    2012: 5
    2013: 4 (including Giannis)
    2014: 5 (including Jokic)
    2015: 5 (too early to tell though)

    And lots of these guys were drafted in the very late first or second round, even at #60 (Isaiah Thomas).

    So it seems that very few players are chosen in sharp contrast to composite rankings, and those who are tend to be busts (see: Anthony Bennett). OTOH, lots of players that are passed over for sketchy reasons (e.g. he’s too old, can’t draft a senior when everyone else is drafting freshmen and sophomores, even though the freshmen and sophomores available suck.)

  6. geo

    yay, frank is back practicing…he’s with the westies, cuz the varsity squad got the day off…

    I wonder if those g leaguers tuned frank up today…

  7. djphan

    this is absolutely not the worst draft class in recent memory… that distinction would probably goto 2016 with either 2013 or 2014 close behind…

    zion of course rates very highly.. hes a true #1 pick… but morant and culver also rate to be good chance at stars… then white.. langford and barrett also have good shots to be solid to good players…

    2016 was bad aside from simmons… even guys like brown, murray or hield werent really true blue chippers going in … this draft should be better than that at least…

  8. Bruno Almeida

    @6

    It’s very interesting data. I think the one thing about the draft we can’t forget is that very often the worst teams will either have a GM that’s on the hot seat after a terrible year, a new GM or a guy who inexplicably stays with the team despite being terrible at the job (Grunfeld, Wallace, Gar Forman etc). With these kind of guys, the media, fan perception and the thoughts of ownership groups on a pick can matter a lot, the promise of a seemingly very talented young player or a bigger name can buy these guys a couple more years at the job, make a good impression at the start of their jobs etc.

    Of course the line gets blurred a bit when it comes to risk; 5 GMs passed on Steph Curry even though he was an extremely exciting player to watch who would certainly bring viewers and hype, because they didn’t want to take the risk on the guy who seemed injury prone and physically challenged; so obviously this propensity to take risks versus potential excitement the pick brings varies from team to team and with each draft depending on the players themselves. Some GMs would rather try to not bust at any cost, even though they might end up drafting a lower quality player, some others will shoot for the stars trying to land the next big thing. But the situation the front office is in definitely matters the way I see it.

  9. ess-dog

    It’s also such a different league post-Curry. The rule when drafting used to always be size and youth first, but the 3-pointer (and defending it) has skewed that a lot.

    Looks like Culver’s really raising his stock and Ja is maybe slipping a little. It will be really interesting to see which non-Zion picks go on to find success later on. Could be a guy no one’s even considering like Jontay.

  10. Hubert

    Another thing to ponder: do these guys feel pressure by the perception of a player’s draft status in the media, or are they sources of that player’s perception in the media? I think a lot of the draft guys get their info from teams, and then a lot other draft guys just copy each other’s work.

  11. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Googling “Knickerblogger availability heuristic” brings back some CONTENTIOUS threads. One where Ted Nelson calls half of us assholes and rama goes, “Uh, I think you’re a little off there, bud.”

  12. Bruno Almeida

    @11

    I think both can be true to some extent. We hear stories all the time about GM’s ignoring their own scouting staff advices and going with the guys they like the most, but there’s a ton of reasons why that could happen. I think most GMs do understand that the NBA is a business and that definitely factors in the decisions they make, and you have to at least understand where the media is coming from to do that.

  13. DRed

    Part of it is that you can make a pretty good pick and have it fail terribly, like with Markelle Fultz. I thought it was a slight mistake to want to draft him #1, and it was definitely a mistake at the time to trade from #3 to #1 to draft him, but he was absolutely a worthy lottery pick and he’s been completely terrible. Unless there was something your team doctors should have been able to see he was a perfectly good draft pick who didn’t work out.

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

    I wonder if Curry would be the same player if drafted by a different team. For example, would some coach insist he drive and dish all the time instead of developing his three point shot as a weapon?

  15. DRed

    Idk, Curry led the league in 3 point attempts for two years under Mark Jackson. You’d have to be completely incompetent at coaching to not want Steph shooting 3s.

  16. Brian Cronin

    Yeah, the only reason Curry was a top ten pick was because he shot threes really well. Granted, I guess if Jackson drafted him he might have had him shoot more long twos, but generally speaking, everyone knew that you had to let that guy shoot a lot of threes.

  17. rama got that Fizdale Magic

    Reading old threads is alternately amusing and depressing. I used to think JK47 had gone too dark on the team, and then you see a gem like this:

    Assuming Noah is a done deal, Phil has succeeded in putting together exactly the kind of roster that I did not want him to put together: a win-now type roster that is not even close to good enough to compete for a championship.

    And you’re like yeah, even the darkest of us weren’t dark enough. I mean, we all hated the Noah contract – but did we hate it enough? Because it was worse than anything we predicted.

    And so on, and so on. What a persistent misery it is to actually care about this team.

  18. DRed

    Would Curry have been STEPH CURRY on any team? That’s an interesting question, but he would have been really, really good anywhere I think (unless he got too hurt)

  19. Z-man

    I think Curry would have become pretty much who he is on any team because it would become clear that he could utterly dominate from beyond the arc. It would be clear in practice and in games. It’s not like Mark Jackson is the most imaginative offensive mind out there, and Curry was well on his way to becoming a superstar on his watch.

  20. Z-man

    What’s funny about Steph is that you can reasonably argue that he was not the best player in that draft!

  21. DRed

    Hasheem Thabeet and Jonny Flynn lol. It was pretty disappointing Steph went one pick before the Knicks but it took some incredible stupidity for it to be that close.

  22. Brian Cronin

    What’s funny about Steph is that you can reasonably argue that he was not the best player in that draft!

    Seriously! At least no one can give OKC guff about passing on Curry that year.

  23. Brian Cronin

    What an insane comeback by the Nets

    They’re a really fun team to live vicariously through while the Knicks suck.

    Man, Russell is going to get paid, huh? What I loved the most about him is that I thought his shot was so fucking pure coming out of college and then he came into the league and sucked at shooting for years until suddenly he seemed to have put it all together this season (after starting slow this year, as well, so his overall shooting numbers are still not all that great). What’s funny is that he’s been in a big slump recently this month before breaking out big tonight.

  24. Bruno Almeida

    I watched the entire 4th quarter and there’s no way Russell isn’t getting the max next season. I still don’t think it’s a good idea by any means, but it was really fun to watch.

    And yeah, Curry is simply way too good, he would have become a mega star anywhere he went. Guys who are at his level change the teams they go to, not the other way around. He might have never won a championship in an incompetent franchise who couldn’t build anything around him, but the best shooter in the history of the NBA would have made it anywhere he landed.

  25. Brian Cronin

    I watched the entire 4th quarter and there’s no way Russell isn’t getting the max next season. I still don’t think it’s a good idea by any means, but it was really fun to watch.

    Oh yeah, I think it’s a bad idea, as well. Even with his improved shooting this year, his TS% is under 53%! His assist ratio, though, is at 40%! Holy shit! But if you max him out, you’re betting that the shooting continues to improve and I don’t know if you should take that bet.

    And yeah, Curry is simply way too good, he would have become a mega star anywhere he went. Guys who are at his level change the teams they go to, not the other way around. He might have never won a championship in an incompetent franchise who couldn’t build anything around him, but the best shooter in the history of the NBA would have made it anywhere he landed.

    Unless he was drafted by the Knicks, in which case he would have been traded to clear cap space to sign Lebron and another max free agent. ;)

    Actually, I kid, I think Curry would have been so good that he would have been untouchable in both that deal and the Melo deal.

  26. Z-man

    Actually, I kid, I think Curry would have been so good that he would have been untouchable in both that deal and the Melo deal.

    Well, Curry’s career kinda got off to a rough start with his ankle injury. With the Knicks, who knows?

    Seriously! At least no one can give OKC guff about passing on Curry that year.

    It’s hard to fault the Clips for drafting Blake Griffin as well. He was the Zion of that draft and at least turned into a perennial all-star and probable HOFer. No one in their right mind would have picked him #1. Which is why a guy like Garland is so intriguing. Who knows where his ceiling is? In his few games, his shot looked pretty fucking pure.

  27. Nick C.

    I think people are misrembering Steph Curry in college. He was a phenomenon. The negatives were size, switching to PG his junior year and bias regarding non-brand name colleges (he went to Davidson). He was first team All-American and NCAA scoring leader as a junior and had been MOP of his NCAA Regional as a sophomore. Back then one and done was not as ubiquitous as it it currently.

  28. Brian Cronin

    Well, Curry’s career kinda got off to a rough start with his ankle injury. With the Knicks, who knows?

    That wasn’t until Year 3, right? Now, would the Knicks have given up on him in Year 3? Well…yeah, probably. ;)

    It’s hard to fault the Clips for drafting Blake Griffin as well. He was the Zion of that draft and at least turned into a perennial all-star and probable HOFer. No one in their right mind would have picked him #1. Which is why a guy like Garland is so intriguing. Who knows where his ceiling is? In his few games, his shot looked pretty fucking pure.

    Oh yeah, no one begrudges the Clippers Griffin, either. He was on the high end of hyped prospects (and he’s obviously been an outstanding professional, just not a sure fire Hall of Famer like Steph and Harden). Just noting that that draft is often looked at as “Griffin and then four dumb teams,” but obviously OKC ended up with a really great player, too.

Comments are closed.