New York Knicks 95 – Cleveland Cavaliers 86

A fairly ugly game to end a fairly ugly year (yes I know, this is not technically the last game of the year for the Bockers. The Knicks will be playing on New Year’s Eve, but by the time they’ll be doing that, I’ll already be in 2021. My recap, my rules).

A few numbers: the Knicks committed 27 turnovers. The Cavs shot 7-for-32 from three (aggregate Bucks and Cavs games: 14-for-70. These are sixth grade basketball shooting averages at best, so we can only wait for regression to the mean to rear its ugly head very soon). On the other hand, the Knicks shot 20-for-54 from two, which is a definitely abysmal average and the byproduct of having Payton and RJ share the court for so much time without a really credible shooting threat (other than Bullock) that creates more spacing than what we got. I know it sounds paradoxical on a night where our guys shot the lights out – again – from three, hitting 14 of their 25 tries, but the result is not always the same as the process. I guarantee you that leaving Elfrid and Randle open from the arc all the season long won’t end up in them shooting a combined 75% from there. We’ll be lucky if they get to 34%.

Anyway, we were saying, a fairly ugly game that resulted in a kinda deserved win because, in the end, the effort was there.

It’s way, way too early to try to frame things, but then again it looks like Thibs is leaving a clear footprint here. I can’t stress enough how this no-nonsense approach to things makes the Knicks air so much more breathable. You’ll be watching a lot of terrible basketball at least until half 2021, that’s very likely. But the passion could be there all year long. It’s much more than what we got the last few years.

The good:

– Julius Randle (28 pts, 12 rebs, 11 ast, +3 +/-) posted the first serious Knicks triple double in years. I wish I could still do searches on Basketball Reference to tell you who was the last Knick to post these numbers, but alas, now you have to pay to do that, and while it’s not much, I prefer to waste my money on booze. The Chianti bottles I’ve been drinking these days cost each less that a month of BR queries. That said, I can tell you that this Jarrett Jack and Mario Hezonja (point Mario feels abound) triple doubles don’t hold a candle to what Randle did against the Cavs. Anyway, back to us: I have to confess that I don’t like Randle’s game that much even now, but you can’t deny his production and the overall impact he has on the game. A Julius who cares is a Julius who dares, and a Julius that wins it a Julius who almost never spins (and when he does he finds Mitch under the rim). There’s a great Vorkunov article on the Athletic about the impact that Thibs is having on Randle, and I feel that’s totally on point. While this Knicks sometimes are the same old stunted Knicks of yore, you see that they usually don’t wander around the court and then just stay in place like a lazy impression of Casper the Ghost. They go full Slimer: energetic, kinetic, and yeah quite messy. All this amount of movement unlocks the best Julius traits out there, and our buddy is having the best basketball of his life. He’s not horrendous on defense either (for what it’s worth, his current 107 DRtg would be tied for career best – and the dreaded eyetest seems to confirm that he’s at worst mediocre-to-adequate at that end)! His first quarter tonight is probably the best quarter by someone in a Knicks jersey I’ve ever witnessed since I became a full time fan in 2008. 14 points on 5/5 shooting, 6 rebounds and five assists. In 12 minutes. All hail King Julius until the upcoming doldrums of this season will go full Brutus on him. And yeah, he committed 8 turnovers – 5 live ones and 3 offensive fouls – but he’ll get a pass from me this time because they were… sorta… in the flow? I don’t know. Is this the Chianti buzz who’s talking?

– Reggie Bullock (17 pts, 7 rebs, 1 stl, +4 +/-) was the cog that made everything else possible. Remove him from the rotation and probably the Knicks lose by 20. It’s not that he played great (even if, for what is asked of him, he quite did: hit your shots, defend, rebound, move the ball). It’s that he was the only guy able to really space the floor. You know the famous Archimedes quote, “Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world”?. He was literally the fulcrum upon which Julius could do his long lever work (what the hell, it looks like I’m writing bad Knicks fanfiction). It also doesn’t hurt that he looks like just one of two guys on our roster who could play 40 minutes a night without huffing and puffing, the other one being Barrett who, with all his shooting faults, is built like a perfect if a bit slow athletic machine.

– Mitchell Robinson (9 pts, 10 rebs, 2 blk, +8 +/-) still has a long way to go to become the All-NBA Defensive player we wish he can be, but I can’t help but be amazed at his progress in one of the basic aspects of the game: staying on the floor. Being able to play 30+ minutes on a consistent basis is just what the doctor ordered for Mitch to help the team: while his defensive rebounding is still a bit subpar, everything else he does is essential for our defense. The switching, the running, the highly active hands, all of this clog the paint more than a few times during a game, and often they make a difference. Also you shouldn’t overlook his activity on the offensive boards, where he generates 4-5 points per game which can really be the line between a win and a loss, and the more time he can stay on the court the better are our chances to pull off wins. Oh, and you know those 4 fouls you find on the box score? They’re a fluke, he was whistled for three of them in the last two minutes because the universe conjured to make him go berserk on a whim.

The bad:

– It’s telling how RJ Barrett (12 pts, 7 rebs, 2 ast, +1 +/-) can stink the bed on offense and still not have me worried a bit. I would love for him to hit 45% of his shots, but even on bad nights like this one (4-for-15 from the field, 0-for-3 from three, inconsistent defense) you still have no doubts about him being an NBA player. That said, he better pull his head off of his ass sooner than later or he’ll become a serious liability once teams start gameplanning for the Knicks and stop treating them like “oh yeah, the LOLKnicks, have a free day guys!”. Now this is where Thibs has me worried instead, because I still have the Wiggins experience very present in the back of my mind. But RJ is a way different animal, because he clearly likes the game, even if the rims treat him like the girls I fawned over and over in high school (.387 from the field, .188 from three and .411 TS for the season. Yikes).

Fun-sized bits:

– Elfrid Payton is shooting 54.5% from three and 0% (0-for-4) from the line for the season. I like his playmaking but his play often make my eyes bleed. I really hope we find an alternative sooner or later during the season. Anyway he was a crucial component to the win, with timely shots and drives after he looked like he was back to total bricklaying. Apropos of this: how many more times will we have to watch him go to the rim and basically autostuff himself by hitting the front rim from two feet?

– Frank is in his fourth year and still has the classic deer in the headlights look as soon as someone hands him the key of the offense. I’m starting to feel genuinely embarrassed for him. That said, he could have done way worse as a stopgap for 16 minutes: 5 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals is not that bad.

– Knox got pulled very early from a really angry Thibs, hit two shots from three and did pretty much nothing else apart from throwing a lob to Mitch that sailed at least 10 feet over him just like my free kicks in FIFA21 (they tweaked the system and unless you have a world-class free kick taker you’ll always punt the ball into the stands). He still led the team and the whole game in plus/minus at +14. It just goes to show how much of blossoming boomer I am in putting plus/minus numbers in these recaps.

– Thibs has a well deserved reputation of riding his best players for 38+ minutes per game, but even in these load management times you can’t fault him for last night: we had 8 (6, depending on your take on Knox and Frank) players available, and then there was only rubble. I wouldn’t have minded five minutes from Pinson at the 3 or 4 just to spell RJ and Randle, but whatever.

– How much of a luxury is having second half Noel as your backup? And why does he still go space cadet from time to time like in the first half? But, more to the point: how is it possible that a team pays Mason Plumlee 24 million for three years and Noel has to come to play for us?

– Dean Wade looks like someone made a deepfake of Adam Scott on Chandler Parsons’ body.

And for 2020, it’s a wrap. It’s been an eventful year, on a global scale and probably on a personal basis too. Mine surely was (in a good way, I guess? I’ll tell you more another time, anyway. A lady friend of mine says that I have to pay her a dollar everytime I speak about myself in a totally umprompted way, and I’m not ready to break the piggy yet). I know it was the same for many of you. But here we are, a year older, a year of Knicks suckiness stronger, friendly to each other with the occasional Jowles bleach-inspired (at least in spirit, there’s no bleach mention anymore) quip and sparse triangle rants from a certain excess e in the name poster (love you strat, too). In short: I love you all. God bless Knickerblogger and our stubborn WordPress facade that hides unseen depths of collective competence like no other (not professional) place on the net.

On New Year’s Eve I’ll uncork my Franciacorta while looking at the Torontampa game and thinking about how blessed we are to share this fucking Knicks curse.

May your new year begin as happily as this one is ending for swiftandabundant and may you all see as clearly as Bruno wrote about triangle and tiki taka in a former thread.

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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).

256 thoughts to “New York Knicks 95 – Cleveland Cavaliers 86”

  1. Great work as usual,
    many thanks Farfa “from Italy to Italy” for giving us many many many lines to laugh, depress, cheer and reflect.

    Best wishes for a Happy New Year to you, your family, all my beloved KB’s brothers in blog and their dear ones.

  2. It’s telling how RJ Barrett (12 pts, 7 rebs, 2 ast, 1 /-) can stink the bed on offense and still not have me worried a bit.

    i’m going to wait for the 5th game and the new year for a deep dive into rj’s numbers but if you guys take a peek there’s encouraging stuff in there despite the shooting woes… and it’s not just the free throws!

  3. Randle had 9 TOs last night, but clearly this was an unusual situation. We were playing without Burks (and Quickley) and RJ was having a rough night. On top of that his normal substitute (Obi) was out. So he had to do a lot more than usual for us to score and win. The guy was totally gassed from both the effort and the minutes.

    You can’t just write it off because he has a tendency to turn the ball over trying to do too much to begin with, but when you are being asked to both score by creating shots for yourself and also be a primary playmaker, you are going to turn the ball over more often.

    Jokic is the best passing big man in the league right now. He had 10 TO’s last night. It happens.

    We’ll learn more about Randle as the season progresses, the team gets heathy, and his role is more clearly defined. Obviously his 3p% is going to fall from where it is now, but it’s not impossible it settles in somewhere just under 35% or even at 35%. That would be fine if he’s being efficient around the basket, piling up assists as a secondary playmaker, and limiting the “trying to do too much” TOs.

  4. Thanks Farfa, brilliant as always. I look forward to your recaps as much as the games themselves.

    Re: trading Randle – we have to keep in mind he won’t have as much value to a contending team as a lights out 3 point shooter or maybe a shot blocking big. There aren’t any teams I can think of that would turn the keys over to Randle like we have.

  5. Happy New Year Farfa – and to the rest of Knickerblogger! Some comments on your comments.

    (Julius) a Julius that wins it a Julius who almost never spins (and when he does he finds Mitch under the rim).

    I’m giving Randle more credit. His conditioning is part of it. It also looks like he’s been reading all the tweets and maybe even Knickerblogger and realized that Knick fans ain’t dumb. He was called out and had 9 months to sculpt his body so he ran every day. I will credit the scheme having shooters open for a kick-out putting Mitch in the right spot for the dunk when his man doubles.

    (Mitch) Oh, and you know those 4 fouls you find on the box score? They’re a fluke, he was whistled for three of them in the last two minutes because the universe conjured to make him go berserk on a whim.

    Two of those late fouls were awesome because they were on Drummond and he stopped the shot with them. Instead of 2 or 3 points on the play, Andre went 2-4 on those foul shots (actually improving his FT% for the night).

    (Elfrid) he looked like he was back to total bricklaying

    I’ve gotta think he can fix this, but after 8 years, how? It’s mental – the yips. Missing so consistently from point-blank range is frustrating to watch.

    (Noel) How much of a luxury is having second half Noel as your backup?

    His and Burks were the only FA signings I liked. He’s not a luxury, he’s a necessity. And it’s not enough. The Knicks need a 3rd big but it’s got to be a real truck of a human. They need a player that can belly up the Drummonds and the Adams’s of the NBA.

    (Knox) got pulled very early from a really angry Thibs

    He started hot and has since disappeared. Sad. He needs IQ to facilitate for him.

  6. Re: Randle – it is pretty remarkable how different he is this year than last. Even in the 9 turnovers last night, a few of them are not really indicative of the kinds of dumb plays he made last year (you can see them all on the NBA stats website). 1 TO really wasn’t a turnover at all (he was fighting for a rebound and then lost control of it out of bounds – never even really had possession). On another he had a foot on the sideline when he caught the pass. There were a couple truly BS offensive fouls called (moving screens and such things). One was a technical foul (are those considered TOs?). In fact there were zero lost-ball-off-live-dribble-spin-move sorts of TOs.

    Re: his assists — he had 11, and 6 led to made 3 pointers and 5 led to layups or dunks. That is pretty fantastic.

    I continue to really like what we’ve seen from Frank – it’ll be really interesting to see what Thibs does when Rivers and Quickley are available. I think maybe we’ve seen the last of DSJ for a long while, or at least I hope so.

    Early yet of course, but Bullock and Burks look like guys that could have value at the trade deadline. My guess is that one of them goes and the other stays. Bullock we at least have early bird rights on (although how does that work if we have a gajillion$ in cap space?).

  7. Looking at Randle’s assists again – this team is just so much more disciplined and organized on offense now. When Randle has the ball, there are always 3 guys behind the 3 point line and either Mitch or Noel in the dunker spot. Anytime anyone is not in one of those spots it’s because they are cutting to the hoop. I think Thibs and co. have really simplified his reads so he knows where everyone is going to be. Last year it really seemed like people were just strewn all over the court with no real plan.

    Some of those passes were really nice. whew. I love being on Randle Island. I am sure it will sink into the ocean in a few weeks but I am enjoying the view here as of now.

  8. Weren’t three of the turnovers really offensive fouls? We lose the ball either way, but I look at them differently than if he overdribbles or throws a bad pass.

  9. I haven’t read the recap yet, so i’ll say something when i read it, Farfa.

    For now, just answering some posts from the previous thread.

    Z-Man wrote:
    Locks to be better than us: Bucks, Nets, Celts, Raps, Heat, Pacers, Sixers, Hawks
    Highly likely to be better than us: Magic
    Probably slightly better than us: Hornets, Wizards
    Same or worse than us: Cavs, Pistons, Bulls

    Then you said that for us to be 10th we need to better than CHO or WAS, but that’s not true, we have to be better than both.

    In the meantime i have to clear this idea that i’m a Sam Hinkie’s process fan, and i’m not. I don’t like tanking, but we tend to lose anyway, and with the flattened odds, i just said we should be careful and if we don’t have the play-in at reach, to try to maximize our odds. But fortunately, since the flattened odds nobody tanks all the way, like those 76ers teams, so we just have to think about this from game # 48 (2/3 of the season) and on.

    If we’re in the play-in hunt, even better, go for it and if we’re 10th, we have 5 teams in the east ahead of us in the draft order, but most likely just one or two from the west. So we’d be 8th in the draft, if we don’t win the play-in games. No problem at all with this, the 8th still has a 26.2% chance to jump to the top4, and that’s good for me.

    Are we clear now? I don’t want you guys to think i’m rooting for anything else than to win all of the 68 games left! ;)

  10. On another he had a foot on the sideline when he caught the pass. There were a couple truly BS offensive fouls called (moving screens and such things). One was a technical foul (are those considered TOs?). In fact there were zero lost-ball-off-live-dribble-spin-move sorts of TOs.

    I forgot about a couple of those TOs. They weren’t even typical “Randle” TOs.

    It seems like we’ve had more than our fair share of those foot on the line TOs in the corner. It may have something to do with Thibs wanting as many of out 3 point attempts as possible coming from the corner and some guys are not as used to being positioned there properly. Those are dumb, easy to correct, and have to be weeded out.

  11. Well, offensive fouls aren’t just fake turnovers particularly his when it’s almost always him uncontrollably and clumsily barging into someone on an ill-fated journey of whatever kind. He had 9, the team had 26.

    To use the terminology of the other thread, sign me up for Team Psychosis. I don’t want the team built around him and this offense; it’s the road to perpetual mediocrity, if that. Couple of flukish games where the other team shoots unsustainably low from 3 and the Knicks shoot unsustainably high from 3 isn’t going to change my mind, especially when the memories of the last 5 preseason quarters where the Knicks had a modern, spaced offense and he had a marginal role, are still fresh. I also don’t trust a guy getting in shape in a contract year. Some optimistic stuff going on, but just not going to pay him, not going to build my team around him. Count me out. Time to sell high.

  12. It seems like we’ve had more than our fair share of those foot on the line TOs in the corner.

    And each time it allows Clyde to make the same joke about 50 feet not being wide enough for the likes of Knox or Randle!

  13. Another thing from the previous thread. You guys asked how the play-in games work, and how that affects the draft order.

    Well, on NBA.com they explain the play-in, and it’s like this:
    – the 7th seed hosts the 8th seed. the team that wins gets the 7th seed.
    – the 9th seed hosts the 10th seed. the team that wins will play with the loser of the 7th/8th game.
    – the loser of the 7th/8th game hosts the winner of the 9th/10th game. the team that wins gets the 8th seed.

    As for the draft rules, i couldn’t find anything, but my guess is the teams that get the 7th and 8th are not in the lottery and the other two are. The team’s record will be used to order those teams in the lottery, and in the rest of 1st round, separately.

  14. Happy New Year, all.

    Looking at Randle’s assists again – this team is just so much more disciplined and organized on offense now. When Randle has the ball, there are always 3 guys behind the 3 point line and either Mitch or Noel in the dunker spot. Anytime anyone is not in one of those spots it’s because they are cutting to the hoop. I think Thibs and co. have really simplified his reads so he knows where everyone is going to be. Last year it really seemed like people were just strewn all over the court with no real plan.

    +1 —

    It might be the first time some of our guys have been taught to play team basketball. They look better even when they fail now. Baby steps.

  15. even if the rims treat him like the girls I fawned over and over in high school

    As always, thank you Farfa. In elementary school teacher lingo, I made a text to self connection to the above quote.

  16. cybersoze: If there’s no deal to be made, then keep him as he’s a good player now.

    I guess the question is what deal do you find acceptable for a .191 WS/48 player? Assuming he maintains this level of play, carrying the team on his back with a reasonable contract for that type of production, we better receive more than what we got for KP – which was DeAndre Jordan, Wesley Matthews, Dallas’ 2021 unprotected first-round pick, a top-ten protected first-round pick in the 2023 draft, and a previous top 10 pick rookie.

  17. As for the draft rules, i couldn’t find anything, but my guess is the teams that get the 7th and 8th are not in the lottery and the other two are. The team’s record will be used to order those teams in the lottery, and in the rest of 1st round, separately.

    Yeah, they’re clear how the tournament itself goes, but they’re bizarrely silent on the lottery aspect of it all. So, the #7 seed in the West could have 50 wins and then pick in the lottery if they lose two games in a row?

  18. Maybe they haven’t announced how the lottery works because they want to prevent tanking. Seems a bit weird though that they haven’t said what the rules are.

  19. Maybe they haven’t announced how the lottery works because they want to prevent tanking. Seems a bit weird though that they haven’t said what the rules are.

    It does bring up some very interesting concepts if you’re the 50-win #7 seed and you just lost the first game and thus will only be competing for being the #8 seed. A 50-win team adding a lottery pick rather than having to beat the Lakers in a seven-game series? That’s pretty damn enticing.

  20. Knicks reportedly exercised their 2021-22 option on Omari Spellman. Their cap outlook for next year allows the front office to create over $60MM in space.

  21. Spellman makes $3.5 million next year. Seems like a decent flier going forward, if you believe Kenny Payne can work his fitness magic on the guy.

  22. Still a bit of a surprise, though. $3.5 million isn’t a lot, but for a guy who looks like he’s barely worth the minimum now, it’s curious.

  23. Yeh the Knicks have the best opponent 3P% in the NBA, but:- they've given up the second most wide open (6+ feet) 3's in the league with 88.- yet teams are shooting 26.1% on these looks, by far the worst mark in the league, and waaaaaay below league average.Basically – luck.— Jack Huntley (@Knicks_Nuance) December 30, 2020

  24. That’s definitely what it looked like in these last two games. It wasn’t like they were forcing the Cavs and Bucks into bad looks. They were just bricking open look after open look. It got to the point where I was seriously assuming every open three would clank and I was mostly right.

  25. Still a bit of a surprise, though. $3.5 million isn’t a lot, but for a guy who looks like he’s barely worth the minimum now, it’s curious.

    I take it as a promising sign that the front office is committed to the player development program. Spellman looks like garbage right now, but if they can unlock the stretch 5 that seems buried underneath some extra carbs, that’s more valuable than a vet they could sign next year for the same amount. And if they fail, it’s ultimately a tiny amount (and could be made even smaller by stretching him if he’s just an utter waste).

  26. Haha, and nevermind:

    @KnicksAlerts

    @KeithSmithNBA
    clarifies that Omari Spellman’s team option for 2021-22 was NOT exercised by the Knicks. Sorry for the confusion

    I deleted the original tweet to avoid confusion

  27. We’re winning because we lead the league in team 3P% made and 3P% allowed. That differential is tough for an opponent to beat. Assuming a best case scenario that some of this is because of scheme and that we’re walling off the rim to allow the shooters we want to take open 3s we’d still have to expect major regression to the mean if we’re executing an elite level. For example, Milwaukee and Toronto also were willing to allow certain players to shoot open 3 pointers and were allowing them at 35-37%, which was tops in the league.

  28. i was going to say.. why would they exercise a team option next year right now? i thought that would be during this upcoming offseason….

  29. yes a big part of these wins is the 3pt differential… but it doesn’t explain all of it…. we still would’ve been competitive with both the bucks and the cavs even with normalized 3pt performance….. and we probably lose one of the bucks or cavs game but probably not both….

    in other words most folks probably would have had us at 1-3 at this point and with some luck we are 2-2… that’s sort of par for what goes on at this point in the season…. we’re still bad… and it’s still an open question of how bad we are but there’s some hope that we aren’t as bad as most pessimists thought….

  30. why would they exercise a team option next year right now? i thought that would be during this upcoming offseason….

    The deadline for that kind of rookie contract option is around the start of the previous season. We’ve already picked up RJ and Knox’s options for next year, for instance.

  31. There are areas we can improve up as well…particularly in turnovers where we’re 3rd worse in the NBA right now. We really haven’t had our guard situation sorted out with Rivers and Quickley out. I assume if there’s a place where we should improve with greater continuity and availability from our top ballhandlers its there.

  32. FO must find a way to use all that cap space next year.
    After the recent signings the free agent market has thinned,
    time to discuss the range for a probable Mitch’s extension
    and/or arguing the benefit of offer sheets for the like of Lonzo, Collins and Markkanen.

  33. in other words most folks probably would have had us at 1-3 at this point and with some luck we are 2-2… that’s sort of par for what goes on at this point in the season…. we’re still bad… and it’s still an open question of how bad we are but there’s some hope that we aren’t as bad as most pessimists thought….

    Yeah, agreed. I think the team looks as good as I hoped for (I picked over 30 wins), but it’s just that they also got very lucky in two straight games with unsustainable three-point shooting. 1-3 while the team looks promising would still have been quite good.

  34. Great ‘cap.

    The only thing I have to add to the tanking/should we trade Randle etc. discussion is everyone should be wary of adjusting their priors from before the season. We are truly in meaningless sample size territory right now and as others have pointed out these wins have come with all kinds of wonky statistics. It wouldn’t be the first time we’ve gotten off to a decent start and went at each other’s throats re: the value of wins vs draft position, only to watch the team regress.

    I’ve enjoyed watching Randle turn into Jokic and he has made some adjustments I think are sustainable (more assisted shots and more passing in general), but asking if we should trade him if he continues at this pace is just kind of a silly question. The man is shooting a nice 69% from 3. The better question is what we should do if he rebounds to his 2018-2019 level of production, which seems possible. I would still be in favor of trading him if there’s interest, as I just don’t see him as a plausible building block for a contender at $19M AAV. However we should unambiguously hold out for a first.

  35. Assuming Randle continues to play at an All Star level what do you think an acceptable haul should be? I cant wrap my head around accepting anything less than what we got from Dallas for KP.

  36. I get that every Knicks fan suffer from PTSD but, as of now,
    the new management and coaching staff stayed away from some of the Kbloggers surefire predictions:

    – They’ll spend big on mediocre free agents: NO
    – They’ll trade picks and assets for aging & expansive veterans (Paul, Westbrook): NO
    – They’ll refuse to play the youngsters NO (injuries aside)
    – They’ll start Noel over Mitch NO

    My two predictions/fears were:

    1. They would fuck up the 2020 draft by taking Obi Toppin

    2. They would fuck up the 2021 draft by chasing a playoff berth.

    Considering those two picks are – by FAR – the most important pieces in our rebuild, I’m not about to throw a parade for the guy bc he didn’t trade for Russell Westbrook.

  37. Assuming Randle continues to play at an All Star level what do you think an acceptable haul should be? I cant wrap my head around accepting anything less than what we got from Dallas for KP.

    It’s an interesting comparison because Randle has been more productive than KP ever has, but I also won’t deny that KP’s ceiling is a lot higher. Randle is very much a known quantity at this point and there are fair questions about how conducive he is to legitimate contention. KP at his projected ceiling comes with far fewer questions, but I’m not sure how much more time people are willing to give him to, well, be any better and/or healthier than he is now.

    Ultimately I’d say an unprotected first and some other small asset like a second or a decent young player would be enough for me to pull the trigger on Randle.

  38. Ntilakilla:
    Assuming Randle continues to play at an All Star level what do you think an acceptable haul should be? I cant wrap my head around accepting anything less than what we got from Dallas for KP.

    Randle numbers are bound to decline, the difference will be where the fall will stop.
    Good article from Vorkunov on the subject weighing what could be susteinable and what is absolutely not (3PFG% anyone?).

    KP trade included a lot of stuff in&out (DSJ, DAJ, Matthews Jr., Burke, THJ, Lee, draft picks),
    if we go straight for Randle right now I’ll try for two first with no or low protection (but I’m okay with a first unprotected and a pair of seconds) and a young flyer.
    But there could be instances in which you have to balance the money so we could be forced to take veterans back.

  39. Hubert: My two predictions/fears were:

    1. They would fuck up the 2020 draft by taking Obi Toppin

    2. They would fuck up the 2021 draft by chasing a playoff berth.

    Considering those two picks are – by FAR – the most important pieces in our rebuild, I’m not about to throw a parade for the guy bc he didn’t trade for Russell Westbrook.

    So you’re 2 for 2 on predictions, good for you, many KBloggers are 0 for 4.
    Be aware, if you shoot too well you could miss the lottery :-)

  40. Hubert: My two predictions/fears were:

    1. They would fuck up the 2020 draft by taking Obi Toppin

    2. They would fuck up the 2021 draft by chasing a playoff berth.

    Considering those two picks are – by FAR – the most important pieces in our rebuild, I’m not about to throw a parade for the guy bc he didn’t trade for Russell Westbrook.

    I’m not as down on Toppin as this, but basically this. What is the point of what they’re doing now? Does anyone here seriously think you can build anything real around Julius Randle and his current role? Once you conclude the obvious, which is that you need better players around Randle to build anything, his role then changes into something you don’t need anymore. (See, e.g., Preseason Final Five Quarters). And it’s a role he has zero interest in ever accepting. This is the road to nowhere. Or, if the Greeks are more your thing, Scylla and Charybdis.

  41. It would require a deep dive into the data of our games, but not all open 3s are the same.

    There are players you want taking open 3s and players you don’t want taking them.

    There are players that are good from some spots but not so good from other spots. So depending on what you are giving up it could be good or bad.

    There is an open 3 where you are set and stepping into it comfortably and one where it’s a bit rushed because the close out is coming.

    The results have been so favorable on both sides, there almost has to be some good luck involved, but some of it could easily be what we are getting and what we are forcing.

  42. I’m not sure if it’s Thibs or luck or a combo, but opponent 3-pt percentage is way down so far this year. We are using a lot of the same players, so maybe less switching helps… but also I think the last two teams were just ice cold at the right times.

  43. The team that laid bricks for four straight quarters Sunday night set an NBA record for most threes against a very well-coached team the very next game. The team that was leading the NBA in 3PT% laid brick for four straight quarters against the Knicks last night. It’s almost pure noise.

  44. Max: if we go straight for Randle right now I’ll try for two first with no or low protection (but I’m okay with a first unprotected and a pair of seconds) and a young flyer.

    If we get this, i’ll send a bottle of Port wine to each one of you (but no burner accounts, please :P) !! :D

  45. thenoblefacehumper: It’s an interesting comparison because Randle has been more productive than KP ever has, but I also won’t deny that KP’s ceiling is a lot higher. Randle is very much a known quantity at this point and there are fair questions about how conducive he is to legitimate contention. KP at his projected ceiling comes with far fewer questions, but I’m not sure how much more time people are willing to give him to, well, be any better and/or healthier than he is now.

    Ultimately I’d say an unprotected first and some other small asset like a second or a decent young player would be enough for me to pull the trigger on Randle.

    It’s interesting to me considering for an opposite reason: KP was a bit of a known quantity. We knew at the time that he suffered a major knee surgery after just three NBA seasons where he fatigued by the year’s end. Knowing this we were able get DeAndre Jordan, Wesley Matthews, Dallas’ 2021 unprotected first-round pick, a top-ten protected first-round pick in the 2023 draft, and a top 10 rookie pick from the year before for a guy who was a career .100 WS/48 player. I don’t see how we shouldn’t expect something comparable from Randle should he continue to play at an All-Star level. His contract is reasonable, unlike KP who expected to be maxed. And he was the more productive player of the two going into age 25.

  46. What is the point of what they’re doing now? Does anyone here seriously think you can build anything real around Julius Randle and his current role?

    You are locked into the mindset that the only way to get a star player and build a championship contender is to get lucky in the draft and wait years while the kids develop and start peaking. You may have a chance to draft a star because you stink, but you can also move up in the draft via trade and get one, sign a free agent, trade for one, develop one from among the young player you already have etc.. Some of those things require that you already be pretty good and have pretty good players you can trade to roll up the ladder. You aren’t going to win a title with Randle as your #1 player, but he can certainly be part of a very good contending team if he’s actually improving his game. So you take it day by day, keep trying to get better, keep trying to develop players, and you see what opportunities present themselves over time.

  47. Who would want Randle? That’s where you start. I’d see if maybe I could convince Chicago to give up Markkanen for him, but I wouldn’t hold out much hope.

  48. There is no comparison between Randle and KP.

    A healthy KP is the much better player because he has an impact on both sides of the ball and stretches the floor well beyond the 3 point line. Now if Randall can sustain some of what he’s doing now, it’s a serious conversation even if KP remains the better defender.

  49. Deeefense: You are locked into the mindset that the only way to get a star player and build a championship contender is to get lucky in the draft and wait years while the kids develop and start peaking.You may have a chance to draft a star because you stink, but you can also move up in the draft via trade and get one, sign a free agent, trade for one, develop one from among the young player you already have etc..Some of those things require that you already be pretty good and have pretty good players you can trade to roll up the ladder.You aren’t going to win a title with Randle as your #1 player, but he can certainly be part of a very good contending team if he’s actually improving his game.So you take it day by day, keep trying to get better, keep trying to develop players, and you see what opportunities present themselves over time.

    My mindset is more that you can’t build anything around him and that he won’t change his role, so it’s better to try to get some sucker to give up a bunch of assets for him.

  50. E, two-way G-Leaguer: I’m not as down on Toppin as this, but basically this.What is the point of what they’re doing now?Does anyone here seriously think you can build anything real around Julius Randle and his current role?Once you conclude the obvious, which is that you need better players around Randle to build anything, his role then changes into something you don’t need anymore.(See, e.g., Preseason Final Five). This is the road to nowhere.Or, if the Greeks are more your thing, Scylla and Charybdis.

    Alan! It’s all your fault for using the “build around Randle” term :-)

    I haven’t seen anyone here advocating the “build around Randle” cause (Alan later clarified his comment),
    we’re already talking about the right price to sell him!

  51. Ntilakilla: It’s interesting to me considering for an opposite reason: KP was a bit of a known quantity. We knew at the time that he suffered a major knee surgery after just three NBA seasons where he fatigued by the year’s end. Knowing this we were able get DeAndre Jordan, Wesley Matthews, Dallas’ 2021 unprotected first-round pick, a top-ten protected first-round pick in the 2023 draft, and a top 10 rookie pick from the year before for a guy who was a career .100 WS/48 player. I don’t see how we shouldn’t expect something comparable from Randle should he continue to play at an All-Star level. His contract is reasonable, unlike KP who expected to be maxed. And he was the more productive player of the two going into age 25.

    Besides KP Dallas still has a starter and an important rotation piece from that trade, we have the draft picks (finger crossed) and DSJ… :-(

  52. Deeefense:
    It would require a deep dive into the data of our games, but not all open 3s are the same.

    There are players you want taking open 3s and players you don’t want taking them.

    There are players that are good from some spots but not so good from other spots.So depending on what you are giving up it could be good or bad.

    There is an open3 where you are set and stepping into it comfortably and one where it’s a bit rushed because the close out is coming.

    The results have been so favorable on both sides, there almost has to be some good luck involved, but some of it could easily be what we are getting and what we are forcing.

    More generally, the goal is to maximize PPP on offense, and the way to maximize that will depend on the personnel you have out there. To add to your list, seems like they are reluctant to put up 3’s early in the shot clock…sort of anti-7SoL…i.e. if nothing in transition, run the offense and get the highest point generating situation possible…the dunk, foul shots on a mismatch, open corner 3, open 3 for good 3-pt shooters…

    There also seems to be an element of considering how a given shot will affect the ensuing defensive possession…

  53. Deeefense:
    It would require a deep dive into the data of our games, but not all open 3s are the same.

    There are players you want taking open 3s and players you don’t want taking them.

    There are players that are good from some spots but not so good from other spots.So depending on what you are giving up it could be good or bad.

    There is an open3 where you are set and stepping into it comfortably and one where it’s a bit rushed because the close out is coming.

    The results have been so favorable on both sides, there almost has to be some good luck involved, but some of it could easily be what we are getting and what we are forcing.

    And i’m going to agree with you a 2nd time in a row, Strat! 2020 doesn’t stop to amaze me!

    I was getting mad at so many open looks from 3, and then looked at Thibs and he was calm, so i think this was in the game plan. And with Milwaukee too. In the first 2 games i don’t remember that we allowed so many of those open looks, so probably Thibs and the coaching staff analyzed the oponents and decided it would be better if we protected the paint and left the other players open.

    It was that or Bo Nateman’s “invisible 6th man” strategy (one of the best posts of the year). :D

  54. E, two-way G-Leaguer:
    Who would want Randle?That’s where you start.I’d see if maybe I could convince Chicago to give up Markkanen for him, but I wouldn’t hold out much hope.

    Markkanen will be a RFA because CHI didn’t exercise his option, we could have him for money in the summer and spare Randle for picks if we could find the right taker.

  55. Deeefense:

    A healthy KP is the much better player…

    But he wasn’t healthy when we traded him and wasn’t healthy for stretches of time the seasons he did play for us. If he was healthy we’d have probably Maxed him out and never traded him to begin with. So this preface is an “If my aunt had a dick she’d be my uncle” type counterfactual.

  56. Oh, and great recap as usual, Farfa! It’s good to win, but it’s even better if that means we have one of your recaps the following morning! ;)

    I wish you a happy new year, and subscribe your words “May your new year begin as happily as this one is ending for swiftandabundant” for the rest of the guys! :)

  57. Max: Besides KP Dallas still has a starter and an important rotation piece from that trade, we have the draft picks (finger crossed) and DSJ… :-(

    They did us a favor taking Hardaway, especially at that contract.

  58. We won’t keep up the 3pt shooting on offense or defense.

    But we were up 30 on the Bucks when they benched their rotation players. It’s not like we were squeaking by with a win.

    I’ll also say our 3PA are open or wide open shots. We can’t sustain 45% because of our personnel, but even Randle & Payton should be well above 30% on the open shots they’re taking.

  59. Ntilakilla: They did us a favor taking Hardaway, especially at that contract.

    Agreed (less now than at the time, we haven’t done wonders with that saved money, if not for Portis’ and Gibson’s bank accounts), what I mean is that the trade wasn’t KP straight for something/someone.

  60. Ntilakilla: It’s interesting to me considering for an opposite reason: KP was a bit of a known quantity. We knew at the time that he suffered a major knee surgery after just three NBA seasons where he fatigued by the year’s end. Knowing this we were able get DeAndre Jordan, Wesley Matthews, Dallas’ 2021 unprotected first-round pick, a top-ten protected first-round pick in the 2023 draft, and a top 10 rookie pick from the year before for a guy who was a career .100 WS/48 player. I don’t see how we shouldn’t expect something comparable from Randle should he continue to play at an All-Star level. His contract is reasonable, unlike KP who expected to be maxed. And he was the more productive player of the two going into age 25.

    Julius Randle makes sense for LAC, Utah, Minnesota, Dallas, Phoenix, Charlotte, Portland, and Boston. Automatically you have to remove Boston from consideration because Danny Ainge only makes trades when he’s beating you over the head. I think a great return for this peak version of Julius Randle would come in a three team package with Charlotte and LAC. Rozier and maybe Burks would go to LAC, who finally gets their point guard, Randle heads to Charlotte who is ready to move forward with Ball and Graham in the starting back court, and we get back something like Luke Kennard (CAA), PJ Washington (Kentucky), and maybe swap rights on the Hornets’ 1RP with Dallas’ 2021 1RP. Quickley, Kennard, Barrett, Washington, and Robinson would be a very fun unit to watch post trade deadline, and then there’s hope of doing something stupid like grabbing Jalen Suggs in the draft.

  61. THJr’s cap space turned into Quickley. Sure, maybe we should have signed Morris anyways had we not been dumb, but we were dumb.

  62. Brian Cronin: It does bring up some very interesting concepts if you’re the 50-win #7 seed and you just lost the first game and thus will only be competing for being the #8 seed. A 50-win team adding a lottery pick rather than having to beat the Lakers in a seven-game series? That’s pretty damn enticing.

    I don’t think it’s enticing at all. That team, even in the stronger conference, would be picking in the 18-20 range. If they lose the 2nd play-in game, they’d be trading a playoff series for a jump to pick 14th, with the remote chance (2.4%) to jump to top4. Is it worth it?

  63. Look, there are many teams in the league that could use this version of Julius Randle – but of course this is a tiny sample and he is extremely likely to regress in many ways, most notably his 3P% which is at 69.2%. The question is whether the way in which he is playing will regress back to the old Julius Randle also.

    Old Julius Randle was a mid-high usage guy with good efficiency (USG mid-high 20s with TS 60) prior to coming to the Knicks. His TS took a dip last year, which hopefully was the outlier. If you add a 30 AST% to old Julius Randle, that’s still a very useful player even with his warts as a shooter and as a defender – easily worth his 1 year 20MM contract that he’s up for next year.

    Honestly, if you look for USG>25, TS>60, and AST>30 in B-R (very hard to do now that it’s behind a paywall), you’re left with basically max contract guys.

  64. Can you build anything serious around Julius Randle?

    I guess it depends on your definition of serious? But I think its worth considering because he’s 26. The next 4 or 5 seasons of his career are going to be the most productive ones (barring a serious injury). If this is the new normal for him going forward, we have him at very good value this season and next and would have his bird rights after that.

    People wanting to trade him. What do you think you’ll get? Most likely it would be something like what we got for Morris last year. A late first rounder from a playoff team. Any team that is projected to be bad like we are isn’t trading away a top ten pick for him.

    Sometimes a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. At the very least, its worth considering to pick up his team option cause he’d be valuable (even more so) next year with no guaranteed money after that.

    But like what is so wrong with keeping a really good PF starter at age 26 on a rebuilding team? If RJ ever improves the outside shooting and Mitch can hit a mid range from time to time, suddenly now the Randle/RJ/MItch trio fits a lot better (especially if we have Quickley or another good shooting PG eventually over Elf).

    BEing worried that he’s “too good” and is going to hurt our draft position is silly. How many times have the Knicks gotten lottery picks that were worse than they were statistically supposed to get? All the time! So tanking is not a guaranteed thing anymore especially with the flattened odds. And we could easily have drafted better in the Frank and Knox drafts. Great players are found outside the top ten all the time. Just off the top of my head…Jokic, Murray, Hero, Bam, Greek Freak, Kawhi…just to name a few. NO had Davis for years and had plenty of seasons where they weren’t good despite him being awesome. Minny has had KAT and still struggles. Sacramento picks in the top 10 pretty much every year for the last decade or more and still sucks.

  65. Querly Q-Word, Pen Name of Pen Name Early Bird:
    THJr’s cap space turned into Quickley. Sure, maybe we should have signed Morris anyways had we not been dumb, but we were dumb.

    Shaming ourselves by picking a player that reneged his word with another team turned into Quickley.
    Classy move.
    Sooner or later some player’ll play the same trick on us and it’ll be well deserved.

  66. The other factor in keeping or not keeping Randle is what Toppin is like. If Toppin looks to be a bust then I don’t see how we could let Randle go unless it’s in a very Knick-friendly deal.

  67. Saw on twitter also that at least through 4 games, NYK is 4th in the league in one of the shot quality metrics (I am not sure the quality of this shot quality metric, but seems reasonable, read here). This metric presumably is not affected by outlier shooting percentages – it’s just a measure of how good the shot was when it was taken — ie. is the offense producing the types of shots you want your players to take. And the answer is yes.

    We should bear in mind also that we’ve played 4 games so far but 3 of them were against top 10 defenses from last year (MIL #1, IND #5, PHI #7) – all the more impressive that we’ve been able to get quality shots up.

  68. i’ve made this comparison before the signing but this version of randle is somewhere between a zach randolph and blake griffin…. that’s a pretty wide net but that’s the profile of a good offensive big with little defense….

    blake griffin at his peak was a very good player….. randle is not there yet but i’m not going to rule it out …. but even still blake needed deandre jordan and most importantly cp3 to make deep playoff runs…. mitch could replicate some of what you got with jordan but cp3 we don’t have…. at least 2014 cp3…. that’s a tall order… but hopefully rj pans out and we can grab another foundational piece in the draft or sometime in FA…

    that’s probably not enough for a championship but i’d like to stress that you shouldn’t let perfect be the enemy of good…. if you don’t have lebron or harden or giannis you’re dealing with imperfect players so you have to maximize the best you can get with whatever your opportunities are.,…

    and randle is an opportunity… last year he wasted it but this version of him is useful and we should figure out how to compete with this if it continues…. we might figure out this year that it’ll never work out even at his best but you’re not going to find out unless you give it an honest shot….

  69. In a perfect (but reasonably realistic) world, by taking selective attempts, Randle shoots around 35% from 3, Payton around 30%, RJ around 33%, Obi around 33%. The bulk of 3’s should be taken by Bullock, Burks, Quickley, Knox, and Frank. If they can do that, 36% as a team (around league average last year) is not out of the question.

    As I said recently, punishing teams for going zone against us is a big part of what needs to happen if we are going to win more than 24 games. In a non-zone, we can score inside with RJ, Randle, even Elf…and have more success on kick-outs for 3’s. The triangle-style offense with Randle not doing the whirling dervish stuff can collapse that zone, but only if guys can make 3’s when he kicks the ball out. The straight high PnR will not work well without the right shooters on the floor to distort the zone.

  70. But like what is so wrong with keeping a really good PF starter at age 26 on a rebuilding team? If RJ ever improves the outside shooting and Mitch can hit a mid range from time to time, suddenly now the Randle/RJ/MItch trio fits a lot better (especially if we have Quickley or another good shooting PG eventually over Elf).

    My sentiments exactly.

  71. Frank:
    Saw on twitter also that at least through 4 games, NYK is 4th in the league in one of the shot quality metrics (I am not sure the quality of this shot quality metric, but seems reasonable, read here).This metric presumably is not affected by outlier shooting percentages – it’s just a measure of how good the shot was when it was taken — ie. is the offense producing the types of shots you want your players to take.And the answer is yes.

    We should bear in mind also that we’ve played 4 games so far but 3 of them were against top 10 defenses from last year (MIL #1, IND #5, PHI #7) – all the more impressive that we’ve been able to get quality shots up.

    Definitely interesting. In regards to the Knicks though, it fails to account for RJs penchant for forcing up shots against 4 guys in the paint and Payton’s complete inability to hit point blank shots.

    But overall it sure seems like the concerns about Thibs running a modern offense should be put to rest.

  72. swiftandabundant: and Mitch can hit a mid range from time to time

    I can’t wrap my head around this. Are they even trying to expand his game? This should be one of the top priorities.

  73. Frank: The question is whether the way in which he is playing will regress back to the old Julius Randle also.

    This is where having Thibs as a coach makes a huge difference. Deservedly or not, he is a much higher stature coach than Miller, Fiz, Horny, or Fisher, and he’s here for the next 3-4 years. If he tells Randle to play a certain way and Randle refuses (either actively or passively or competency-wise) he won’t be in the lineup for long.

    Now, Thibs should not ask Randle to do stuff he can’t do well…like put up 8 3’s per 36 or concentrate on shot-blocking…but it seems that all he has asked him do do differently is to make quick, sound decisions with the ball, take higher % shots, trust his teammates, and to utilize his exceptional conditioning to play extremely hard every minute he’s on the floor. And now that Randle has had a taste of the benefits of playing like Thibs expects, there should be a synergy going forward and he should continue with it.

  74. Querly Q-Word, Pen Name of Pen Name Early Bird: But overall it sure seems like the concerns about Thibs running a modern offense should be put to rest.

    Thibs mentioned that he attended a conference at MIT re: analytics and is incorporating what he learned into his game planning. Seems pretty apparent that he has done that, despite us being at the bottom of the league in 3PAr. But hey, the Lakers were 22nd in 3PAr last year, the Nuggets were 27th, Celtics were 15th (and so far, 28th this year!) so not shooting lots of 3’s doesn’t necessarily equate to losing.

  75. This is where having Thibs as a coach makes a huge difference. Deservedly or not, he is a much higher stature coach than Miller, Fiz, Horny, or Fisher, and he’s here for the next 3-4 years. If he tells Randle to play a certain way and Randle refuses (either actively or passively or competency-wise) he won’t be in the lineup for long.

    I don’t think we can discount Kenny Payne coming in also, as well as the Knicks rather pointedly drafting a player who plays his exact position. There were plenty of articles about the close relationship Payne had with Randle when the Payne hiring was announced. Figure Kenny has known Julius since Julius was 15 or 16 presumably, and was likely a mentor to him during his freshman year of college, which I know personally was one of the most formative years of my own life.

    Now add on Kenny Payne having that connection, being able to speak the truth to him from a different place than guys like Fizdale or Mike Miller, then add on the overall coaching staff’s ability to create schemes to give Julius the best chance to succeed at what they are asking of him, and I think what you get is this kind of start. Hopefully this is not just a blip.

    djphan – I like that Blake Griffin comp a lot – that would be an amazing outcome for him.

  76. The Honorable Cock Jowles:
    https://youtu.be/u_CmKrzn4Fs?t=17

    Will he be able to play the point or get his shot off in the NBA? I still don’t know!

    Something, something small sample size… uh, Obi Toppin will win a dunk contest

    Z-man: Thibs mentioned that he attended a conference at MIT re: analytics and is incorporating what he learned into his game planning. Seems pretty apparent that he has done that, despite us being at the bottom of the league in 3PAr. But hey, the Lakers were 22nd in 3PAr last year, the Nuggets were 27th, Celtics were 15th (and so far, 28th this year!) so not shooting lots of 3’s doesn’t necessarily equate to losing.

    That number should go up when IQ, Rivers, & maybe Toppin come back. Right now we only have 2 players who should shoot 3s at volume and they both play the same position and we didn’t even have Burks last night.

  77. by the way guys these threads are so much more fun than the doomsday ones we’ve been having for years now.
    so much more fun to try and explain better than expected outcomes …

  78. Yeah, its hurting me a lot to know that Halliburton features a lot of the skills I wanted from Lonzo Ball — tall, long advanced 3 and D guard with high level playmaking skills — coming out of college and that we could’ve had him but passed up on the chance.

  79. I remember watching a segment on Randle;s regimen last year, I think it was based off a Slam article, but Randle was definitely in shape last year. He was ridiculously ripped actually but much heavier. I think coming in a little leaner COULD be helping. But then again, it’s four games and his three point shots have been falling. I do think he puts in the work though.

    The idea that you want to build around Randle long term is, I think, absolutely ridiculous. He’s a 4 who can’t defend at all and I really really doubt he has the body type for longevity in the NBA. He has one of those peak early Carlos Boozer kind of frames.

    This could be the best season he ever has and I think he deserves to spend a big chunk of it with a competitive team.

  80. And I had the exact same thought about Halliburton and Ball. Ball will probably get buckets of cash and we could have had Tyrese for seven years with the first four at a low base.

    It’s too early to declare victory on the Halliburton take. His shooting motion is so funky. But so far, all I feel is deep and extreme regret.

  81. NY_KnicksPR
    @NY_KnicksPR
    ·
    2m
    Injury Report 12/31 vs Tor: Probable – Knox II (sore left knee); Questionable – Burks (sprained left ankle), Quickley (sore left hip) and Rivers (sore groin); Out – Ntilikina (sprained right knee), Smith Jr (left quad), Spellman (right knee) & Toppin (right calf)

    The people who have been insisting for years that Frank play 40 minutes per game should probably grapple with the fact that he can’t play, like, 15 without getting hurt.

    Good to see Quickley and Rivers upgraded to questionable.

  82. Two minor eye-test quibbles, so those looking for hard facts please move on to the next post…

    One: I agree with someone from last post (Strat?) who pointed out two 3-pters that Frank should have taken but didn’t, and one drive where he absolutely needed to shoot (or dump it off inside) but pulled back out like a… (oh never mind). I still think this version of Frank is better than previous versions — it feels like he’s quitting on half his opportunities instead of 3/4 of them like last year. It’s also helpful that the 50% of the shots he should be taking are mostly going in so far.

    Two: a really minor quibble. Watching Randle, when he drives the defense collapses on him and there are usually two-to-three wildly open Knicks around the three-point line. Last year it felt like most times he would just keep going into traffic; this year he seems to be noticing the collapse, stopping, and looking for the open player. The problem is this stop-and-look moment allows the defense to recover, and there’s usually only one Knick left open, if any, by the time he’s ready to pass. If Julius can actually go into a drive ready to immediately recognize the double/triple teaming and pass as it is happening, the results could be amazing. Not sure if he has that in him, but that would be the logical next step for a big improvement for him and the team.

  83. thenoblefacehumper:
    NY_KnicksPR
    @NY_KnicksPR
    ·
    2m
    Injury Report 12/31 vs Tor: Probable – Knox II (sore left knee); Questionable – Burks (sprained left ankle), Quickley (sore left hip) and Rivers (sore groin); Out – Ntilikina (sprained right knee), Smith Jr (left quad), Spellman (right knee) & Toppin (right calf)

    The people who have been insisting for years that Frank play 40 minutes per game should probably grapple with the fact that he can’t play, like, 15 without getting hurt.

    Good to see Quickley and Rivers upgraded to questionable.

    Thibs may finally get his wish to play his starters all 48 minutes

    It’s kinda ridiculous. We have 6 PGs on the roster counting Burks, yet we may only have Payton for tomorrow

  84. I really don’t get why Frank is always hurt. It’s not like he’s some high flying freak like Morant or Westbrook, or a 7 footer prone to foot or knee issues. And he rarely gets fouled or is involved in serious contact.

    I’d make some joke about him being French but I can’t come up with one.

  85. I read somewhere even though its early in the season one thing the Knicks on offense are doing much better is shooting corner 3pters and its something Thibs talked about alot in his early press conferences. Last year they were in the bottom 10 in corner 3pters and so far this season I believe they are in the Top 10 in corner 3pters.

  86. Tom Thibodeau says Frank Ntilikina hurt his knee in the 1st quarter last night but played through it. He suggested that Ntilikina would been a couple days of treatment for the injury. Ntilikina is officially considered day to day and injury isn’t considered serious.

    via Begley emphasis added

  87. cybersoze, I don’t now but at least twice last night Mitch was WIDE open from 3 and didn’t take a shot. Maybe he’s instructed not to do that yet? But he drains them on Instagram. If he’s left wide open like a few times a game he should hoist a 3 up at least once a game.

    But I’m cool with Mitch just focusing on staying on the court for starter’s minutes right now. The fact that he hasn’t picked up quick fouls and has been able to stay in the game longer…that alone is a big development for him.

    Yeah, the Frank injuries are really frustrating. All of these injuries are kind of crazy. I wonder if its because they had so much time off and the shortened preseason? Like even if they’ve been working out and practicing these last 8 months, its not like being in a full intensity game?

  88. Frank’s body gets injured faster than the French army retreated in WW2?

    Frank’s body is softer than Brie cheese?

    Frank’s knee is more abstract than an impressionist painting?

    Frank’s body has more existential dread than Albert Camus?

    Frank’s groin gets aggravated faster than a French waiter’s nose upturns when a tourist attempts to order in French?

  89. The French are always surrendering. If they can’t surrender wide open shots at the basket, they’ll surrender by just not suiting up for the game.

    For all our Euro Knicks fans, we don’t have any from France to my recollection. No idea why.

  90. The fact Frank’s injury isn’t serious and he played through it yesterday makes me think the Knicks expect to have someone else available.

  91. This team is going to have to be 4-5 games out of the 10 seed to entertain trade offers for Randle and Burks, so I think we should expect them to finish out the season here. But since we’re imagining things, and someone asked who would want Randle, the one team that immediately jumps to mind is Dallas. He’d be a seemless fit on the offensive end with Luka (and Luka really needs the help).

    I feel like this is a fascinating hypothetical that wraps a bow on a year’s worth of conversations:

    Randle for Porzingis. I know there are some rational Porzingis fans on this site, but given the contracts and the fact that KP can’t stay on the court, is there anyone other than Strat who would do that trade straight up? I’d want at least 2 firsts coming back to balance that trade out.

  92. The Francophobia in this site is disgusting, offensive and I fully condemn it in no uncertain terms. I call upon the mods to strike these posts from the thread.

  93. swiftandabundant: Frank’s groin gets aggravated faster than a French waiter’s nose upturns when a tourist attempts to order in French?

    This is the best! Don’t you ever try to parlez en français !! :P

  94. Ntilakilla:
    The Francophobia in this site is disgusting, offensive and I fully condemn it in no uncertain terms. I call upon the mods to strike these posts from the thread.

    Don’t expect our mods to just lay down and do what you tell them to. They’re not French.

  95. Raven:
    Two: a really minor quibble. Watching Randle, when he drives the defense collapses on him and there are usually two-to-three wildly open Knicks around the three-point line. Last year it felt like most times he would just keep going into traffic; this year he seems to be noticing the collapse, stopping, and looking for the open player. The problem is this stop-and-look moment allows the defense to recover, and there’s usually only one Knick left open, if any, by the time he’s ready to pass. If Julius can actually go into a drive ready to immediately recognize the double/triple teaming and pass as it is happening, the results could be amazing. Not sure if he has that in him, but that would be the logical next step for a big improvement for him and the team.

    I agree and was thinking the same thing watching him…it’s almost like he is still a reluctant passer…only does it because once his twirl is elminated it has been hammered into his brain that there are going to be guys standing at the three point line or under the hoop (he could have a half dozen more assists if he just learned to lob it up to Mitch) waiting for a pass but he hasn’t processed the fact that he can make the pass earlier and it would be even more productive…I am watching to see if that light bulb comes on but I would also think that the crack coaching staff could sit him in front of the tape and let him see that….I still feel he is in one on one/get to the hole mode most of the time but the concept of creating is slowly being injected into his thought process…maybe he will take that next step…in the Post today it was either Mitch or actually Randle himself who mentioned “creating” for his teammates….I also like Mitch’s quote on Randel in that article “…he is just out there doing his thing”….

  96. I can’t tell if you’re actually serious or not but just so you know, my Dad’s side of the family is French and I actually speak french. Its perfectly acceptable for me, as a white dude, to make fun of other white people. The French, English, Germans, Dutch and Americans/Canadians are all fair game as the main oppressors of the last 500 years of history. Its called punching up.

    Maybe put down the espresso, go outside and smoke a cigarette or eat a baguette and calm down.

  97. swiftandabundant:
    I can’t tell if you’re actually serious or not but just so you know, my Dad’s side of the family is French and I actually speak french.

    I was just kidding. But did you just use the “I’m French” card? I’ve never seen that before.

  98. E, two-way G-Leaguer:
    To use the terminology of the other thread, sign me up for Team Psychosis.I don’t want the team built around him and this offense; it’s the road to perpetual mediocrity, if that.Couple of flukish games where the other team shoots unsustainably low from 3 and the Knicks shoot unsustainably high from 3 isn’t going to change my mind, especially when the memories of the last 5 preseason quarters where the Knicks had a modern, spaced offense and he had a marginal role, are still fresh.I also don’t trust a guy getting in shape in a contract year.Some optimistic stuff going on, but just not going to pay him, not going to build my team around him.Count me out.Time to sell high.

    Four things here:
    1. We’re a considerable way from “mediocre”. And being mediocre doesn’t mean being stuck at it, depending on where we are with the development of our young players.
    2. I’m weary of getting suckered into “contract year” performances (see: James, Jerome). However, with Randle’s team option for ’21-’22, you potentially get can two “contract year” Julius Randle seasons. If what’s we’re seeing from him continues for the rest of this season (and we keep him one more year), that opens up options… good options.
    3. It’s sad that sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good. It’s also said that good teams make their own luck. My belief is that when you build a solid, sustainable system that operates from a position a strength, you can take better advantage of of lucky bounces (i.e. our current 3pt shooting vs opponents’) and weather the unlucky ones (games that push a reverting to the mean). I’d like to believe that’s what the Knicks are building.

  99. I don’t know if any of you guys live near Tampa, but just to let you know that this game will have attendance (“up to 3,800 fans will be allowed into Raptors games at Amalie Arena to start the season”). So if you live nearby and are missing Knicks live action, this is your chance.

  100. swiftandabundant:
    I did use it. When can I ever use that card?

    Back during Caesar’s campaign of extermination in the Gallic Wars, the Arab Invasion of Poriers, and the Hundred Years War after the Battle of Agincourt. I am sorry, but those are the rules.

  101. cybersoze:
    I don’t know if any of you guys live near Tampa, but just to let you know that this game will have attendance (“up to 3,800 fans will be allowed into Raptors games at Amalie Arena to start the season”). So if you live nearby and are missing Knicks live action, this is your chance.

    Maybe bobneptune will be there

  102. Farfa:
    May I unleash any Zidane headbutt meme?

    just so you know…your reference to Franciacorta got me fired up for some Italian bubbly but given we are having pizza for NY eve…I went to my old reliable Lambrusco…thanks for triggering me!

  103. cybersoze:
    I don’t know if any of you guys live near Tampa, but just to let you know that this game will have attendance (“up to 3,800 fans will be allowed into Raptors games at Amalie Arena to start the season”). So if you live nearby and are missing Knicks live action, this is your chance.

    and if you are passing out the Port…I’ll take some Fonseca…por favor..

  104. swiftandabundant:
    I did use it. When can I ever use that card?
    I thought maybe you were serious.

    Man, you know what you got yourself into? Now every time Frank has a bad game, they’ll come after you! :D

  105. The Toronto game will be interesting- they’ll be the first team the Knicks have played that doesn’t have a real low post threat. Sabo, Embiid, and Drummond are three of the better back to baskets players in the league and the Knicks basically had everyone ready to help against Giannis. I think a number of the open threes the Knicks have given up have been a result of helping down low more than they normally would. It’ll also be interesting to see the Knicks offense run against a team without a shot-blocking presence in the lane.

  106. The Raptors are 0-3. They’re going to be pretty desperate, so unfortunately I don’t think we’re gonna sneak up on them.

    I’d be really surprised if we managed to win that one.

  107. Knicks guards Immanuel Quickley, Alec Burks, and Austin Rivers are upgraded to questionable for tomorrow’s game against the Raptors. Frank Ntilikina is out with a sprained right knee. DSJ, Omari Spellman and Obi Toppin are out too.

    Apparently Frank is day to day, but it’s amazing how often he gets dinged up right when a rotation spot is there for the taking.

  108. reference: port

    i remember since forever reading and hearing the term port used…it always sounded so medieval and delicious…some years ago i was at some winery and was doing some taste testing – holy crap is that stuff strong…for some reason it tasted even stronger to me than straight liquor…

    i’ll trade my port for like a strawberry milkshake…mmmmmmm, maybe a root beer float or something…i just finished breakfast/lunch – brunch i guess, but, a milkshake sounds pretty tasty right now…

    garcon, un milkshake à la fraise s’il vous plaît…

  109. I remember another player who could only drive in one direction and people didn’t expect much of, Jeremy Lin. After a while, players learned to take that away and he wasn’t spectacular anymore, just a useful NBA player (except for the injuries, of course). Haliburton could turn out like that, despite his excellent early results. Then again he might learn something new. It’s too early to tell.

  110. Hubert: Randle for Porzingis. I know there are some rational Porzingis fans on this site, but given the contracts and the fact that KP can’t stay on the court, is there anyone other than Strat who would do that trade straight up? I’d want at least 2 firsts coming back to balance that trade out.

    Just off the top of my head, two people I know of that wouldn’t do that trade are Dolan and Cuban.

  111. Just off the top of my head, two people I know of that wouldn’t do that trade are Dolan and Cuban.

    wouldn’t you like to lock those two in a room, together, for awhile…

  112. Farfa:
    Oh pepper, citing Lambrusco you just melt my heart, it’s made exactly in the area I live in!

    now i’m jealous…then again…if I lived that close to where it is produced…I would probably be an alcoholic…i can drink that stuff all day long…

  113. I wasn’t happy with the KP trade and still am not, but if you consider that Randle was acquired with cap space obtained in the trade and you think he’s worth the same as a Porzingis now, then we got a good deal.

  114. my last thought of KP was how he was getting isolated in pnr’s on defense and really lit up…he’s tall, but, it takes him a good minute to get moving laterally…bring him away from the rim and he’s toast…

  115. Hailing from the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy, Lambrusco is a family of red grapes that are commonly used to make a sparkling red wine of the same name. It is one of the oldest wines made in Italy, dating back to the Bronze Age. Lambrusco comes in a number of varieties that range from dry to sweet and can vary in color from light red to deep inky purple. It is typically made in a frizzante (lightly sparkling) style and is relatively low in alcohol. Lambrusco is fruit-forward, with flavors of berries and some floral notes depending on the variety.

    i lived in a spot in germany where there were vineyards all along the hillsides…yeah, you know you are living in a good spot on earth when there are vineyards within easy walking distance from your home…

    except maybe for paso robles, i would probably pass on paso robles…

    when it comes to wine, i’ve learned that i generally go for the inky purple stuff…

  116. “when it comes to wine, i’ve learned that i generally go for the inky purple stuff…”

    MD 20/20
    A fact that few know about this beautiful substance is that MD actually stands for Mogen David, not Mad Dog.

    Not that anybody actually cares what its true alias is; all that really matters is its splendid palette, subtle hints of artificial fruit and 13% alcohol content; a bottle being enough to slay a dragon.
    This should most often be read out loud before cracking a bottle of the MD 20/20:

    20/20, Mogen Dee
    I sure could go a bottle.
    I think I’ll crack my shoesies on,
    And off I’ll go-a-waddle.

    Londis, Nisa, Aldi’s too,
    I’m sure they all sell Dave.
    But can they give me what I want?
    It’s strawberreee I crave.

    Mogen David’s what I need
    But I.D’s what I lack.
    If this fine man asks me for I.D
    His jaw is sure to get cracked!

    ‘Uno of your finest strawberreee’
    I tell the fine man as he comes.
    ‘Have you got I.D?’ he asks me,
    ‘Oh no, it’s for my mum!’

    ‘The benefit of the doubt I’ll give you, But this be warned I tell.’
    ‘Bad deeds be done upon this stuff,
    You’re bound to go to hell!’

    ‘But no, dear man I think you’ll find
    That I’m the Mogen master.’
    ‘Now come with me, my dear old boy,
    And let us get-a-plastered!’

    So off we go to Bothwell Lane,
    A nasty night ahead.
    We stank the Mogen to the dregs,
    And the poor old man drops dead.

    Now sure enough I’m damned to hell;
    Man slaughter’s the name of the game.
    But after cracking that bottle of joy,
    I’d sure do it all again!

    And bound to hell as I may be,
    Hell’s turned out to be terrific.
    Dirty women, rock & roll,
    And they all think Mogen’s the shiznic!

    So crack that lid, breathe that scent,
    It’s certainly worth the do.
    Mogen David is sure for everyone,
    And chaps, this includes all of you.

  117. Owen:
    Interested to see Nets-Hawks. The Hawks offensive performance so far is pretty intriguing. And Trae is fun.

    Not yet convinced the Hawks didn’t win the trade.

  118. first time i ever passed out was to some strawberry boones farm…maybe 12 or 13 at the time, had recently moved and had walked a couple of miles back to the old neighbor on a saturday morning to visit some friends…

    we had finished drinking in some church parking lot, on the way home i “fell asleep” in some woods next to the church…when i woke up it was dark, and, i couldn’t find my glasses, which was a real issue at the time cuz my mom was going crazy having to replace them all the time…it was a blurry couple of miles back home…

  119. pepper: A fact that few know about this beautiful substance is that MD actually stands for Mogen David, not Mad Dog.

    Not that anybody actually cares what its true alias is; all that really matters is its splendid palette, subtle hints of artificial fruit and 13% alcohol content; a bottle being enough to slay a dragon.
    This should most often be read out loud before cracking a bottle of the MD 20/20:

    You’ve gotta be kinding me. We don’t even drink this on holidays!

    Me, I’m a north Italy red guy. I like my Chianti’s but mostly I love Montepulciano d’Abruzzo.

  120. good ol’ boones farm…that was the go to for my girl in high school…had to fish her out of a few bathrooms at the old veterans memoral coliseum in phoenix…that was where all the big concerts were…

  121. GoNYGoNYGo – Tanking forever: You’ve gotta be kinding me. We don’t even drink this on holidays!

    Me, I’m a north Italy red guy. I like my Chianti’s but mostly I love Montepulciano d’Abruzzo.

    I used to be mainly North guy…Barolo…also like Valpolicella…and Chianti and straight up any Sangiovese from Tuscany….but also starting to get into the Southern Reds…..it’s all good…

  122. watched some of the hornets-mavs game…lamelo is a pretty big kid, ugly shot, but nice arc, he looks crazy comfortable with the basketball in his hands…

    seemed kind of goofy when they showed their bench during timeouts, just smiling and talking a bunch…looks better than his brother already…

  123. Apparently, the Bucks were really bothered by losing to the Knicks. See
    https://theathletic.com/2292317/2020/12/30/bucks-heat-suns-pelicans-final-score-first-thoughts-nba-record/

    It’s too long to quote it all, but here’s one quote

    “After that loss to the Knicks, we all didn’t sleep well,” said D.J. Augustin. “I’ve been on nine teams in my 13 years, and a lot of teams, when you lose like we did the other night, by 20, it’s just whatever. But the other night wasn’t acceptable.”

  124. Bucks need to be worried about being beaten by the Heat now.

    Also, I love that Dallas is losing now. Luka is still playing elite according to the metrics except for his 3pt%, which is pretty bad. His TO% is superlow right now compared to his AST%. I imagine he’s become an even better ballhandler? But that supporting cast isn’t very good at all. They better hope he doesn’t get injured or else we’re getting an extra lottery pick.

  125. geo: i lived in a spot in germany where there were vineyards all along the hillsides…yeah, you know you are living in a good spot on earth when there are vineyards within easy walking distance from your home…

    Where did you lived in Germany? Been in the Ruhr Valley and it’s very beautiful, but i don’t recollect seeing vineyards!

  126. DRed:
    Hayward 2-13 and Charlotte up 22 is perfection

    Kyrie also with the strong line of FG 10-27 (37%) and 3P 3-11 (27%). KD is a “machine”, but if it wasn’t for Joe Harris (FG 8-11, 3P 6-8) and 3 guys – Jeff Green, Taurean Prince, Landry Shamet – of the bench combining for FG 12-13, 3P 5-6, they wouldn’t get away with a W.

    I think the Nets are overrated, Kyrie is inconsistent, sometimes he looks like the best player in the league and others he just looks very averageish. KD will define how far they’ll go.

  127. Re: Nets – if KD can stay healthy I do not think they are overrated. Kyrie has already shown he can be a great 2nd best player on a championship team. Who knows about Nash as a head coach but D’Antoni is there too and so you have to imagine they are fine from a coaching perspective. They have pretty good roster construction with two good dive men and a fair amount of shooting around their stars. They can put 4 really elite shooters on the floor without really any compromise – Kyrie, KD, Harris, and Shamet. The real question is whether they can stay healthy given KD’s obvious recent injury and Kyrie’s extensive history. I imagine they will be a top3 seed and one of the favorites to come out of the eastern conference.

    Re: the Mavs – I haven’t watched any of it but see on Twitter all this stuff about Fat Luka. Is that a real thing? Did he drink too much of his own Kool-Aid and not put in the work over the offseason? Or is this just a small sample kind of thing?

  128. Some of the early season commentary here is humorous. The Nets aren’t a perfect team but they are very, very good and won’t even start caring until there are playoff implications. Right now they’re just learning how to play with each other. KD looks great and he and Kyrie are not going to play each game 100% balls out and risk being healthy for the long haul. Dinwiddie is a bit loss but they will be fine with Shamet.

    Teams are still building chemistry right now. The holidays and COVID are distractions, especially for the bubble teams. The Knicks et. al. have an advantage right now, they are playing every game like a playoff game. How else does CLE go 3-0? Or the Magic 4-0? Or the Kings 3-1?

    I mean it’s one thing to say that a team is playing well or badly right now, but let’s not jump to conclusions about who they really are and who they will be come playoff time. The season hasn’t really even started yet for some teams.

  129. Someone on twitter said that Luka is “built like James Corden” and that might be the cruelest thing I’ve ever heard.

  130. Re: the Mavs – I haven’t watched any of it but see on Twitter all this stuff about Fat Luka. Is that a real thing? Did he drink too much of his own Kool-Aid and not put in the work over the offseason? Or is this just a small sample kind of thing?

    He’s a little doughier than usual, but its not like he came in looking like Eddie Curry. The dude is still balling out outside of his poor 3 point shooting. The bigger issue is that lack of talent they have to surround the guy with over there in Dallas.

  131. “I mean, people on Twitter say every stuff,” Doncic told the Dallas Morning News’ Brad Townsend. “But it’s true I’m not in my best shape. I will get there for sure. But, you know, I’ve never been a muscular guy, so what can I say?”

    I guess when you are a savant on his level you can take some liberties, but this is not the mindset of a #1 guy on an NBA championship team. Same with Harden and Jokic…also savants but w/o the LeBron/Kobe work ethic.

    Barkley didn’t commit to 365-day fitness until late in his career. Shaq shortened his career by not committing. It’s a pretty big deal.

  132. Luka is going to be fine. He’s shooting 2 for 21 from 3. That’s not going to continue and everything else is pretty much where it’s supposed to be. His conditioning isn’t where it should be but I’m giving bubble players a pass on that–there really wasn’t much time. He’ll play himself into shape and we’ll see how he approaches it going forward.

    I think their bigger problem is they lost a solid rotation player in Wright and a great role player in Curry and everyone just kinda pretended Josh Richardson was an adequate replacement for both. Obviously not having Porzingis hurts but doesn’t explain it all.

  133. I do think getting in fantastic shape is definitely something Luka needs to do eventually but worth remembering that he’s still 21, has been on an exponential trajectory so far in his career, and the last 12 months have been some of the most fragmented in the history of the NBA. I think it’s too soon to know whether the weight is something he’s always going to struggle with or just the next item to check off on a so far pretty impeccable improvement checklist.

    It seems there’s a bit of a Luka backlash because everyone always assumes linear improvements from young guys and as soon as they fall short of that in any way the questions start, but I think it’s important to keep the larger perspective. He’s 21, in his third season, and seemingly off to a fine start towards another all-NBA level season. Remember that Lebron also made the jump to all-NBA level in his second season but then had a couple “consolidation years” (relatively speaking obviously – he was insanely good those years) before breaking through with his first MVP in year 6 (age 24 season).

  134. Yeah, Luka will be fine. His three point shooting has been atrocious. He needs to shoot 37-8% to complete his offensive game and solidify himself as the best offensive player in the NBA.

    Looking forward to us destroying those cellar dwelling Raps today.

  135. Some of this may be wishcasting about that 2021 pick, too.

    The Hali thing really sucks right now, though I can’t decide if it’s worse that he’s doing it while Toppin is hurt or if it would be worse if he was doing it while Toppin was playing and still passively lurking on the perimeter and launching moonshots. It’s obviously way too early to throw in the towel on this situation, but Toppin was the guy I didn’t really want us to take, and that pick is the one Rose move that seems really easy to question at the moment.

  136. LaMelo has me questioning some things. His highlights from last night looked nice. Maybe that’s a checkmark in Rose’s favor. Or maybe I am grasping for straws.

  137. Rivers will play tonight, but limitedly. (He hasn’t even done a 5-on-5 scrimmage yet.) So at least Thibs won’t have to go to a 7-man rotation with Frank out. Be nice if Quickley can play, too. I have a bad feeling that our proclivity for giving up wide-open 3-point attempts will go less well against Toronto, so some added firepower would be nice.

  138. Z-man: Some of the early season commentary here is humorous. The Nets aren’t a perfect team but they are very, very good and won’t even start caring until there are playoff implications.

    Don’t get me wrong, that’s not what i said. I think they are overrated because after the first 2 or 3 games people were talking about the finals Lakers-Nets as if they’re above the other east contenders, and i don’t think they are. They’re in the same tier as MIL, MIA, BOS. Even to make the ECF, they have to beat one of those 3. Perhaps they do it, perhaps they don’t. So if getting to the finals is what’s expected of them, i think there’s a great probability that they’ll disappoint.

  139. I think their bigger problem is they lost a solid rotation player in Wright and a great role player in Curry and everyone just kinda pretended Josh Richardson was an adequate replacement for both. Obviously not having Porzingis hurts but doesn’t explain it all.

    I like Curry as a floor spacer and scorer, but they wanted Richardson over Curry for defense and switching purposes. They lost one thing (some more efficient offense) but added other things. The net is not huge.

    Delon Wright is more or less a non factor. He’e an OK bench player, but the team was worse with him on the court last year. Losing a guy like that does not have a significant impact.

    They have a couple of bench players now that they added at the end of the year last year that are contributing. WCS is a good defensive player and we know Burke can score and be a backup PG.

    The problems are

    1. Doncic came to camp out of shape. I noted that after game 1. He looked like he spent the vacation in a donut factory instead in the gym working on his 3 point shot and body.

    2. They are missing Prozingis’s scoring and excellent spacing for their attacks and rolls to the rim, He’s also not there to clean up some of the mess when Luca and other weak defenders get beat.

    When your best player is playing subpar on both sides of the ball and your underrated 2nd best player is out (underrated here at least), you are kind of screwed.

  140. Alan:
    Some of this may be wishcasting about that 2021 pick, too.

    The Hali thing really sucks right now, though I can’t decide if it’s worse that he’s doing it while Toppin is hurt or if it would be worse if he was doing it while Toppin was playing and still passively lurking on the perimeter and launching moonshots. It’s obviously way too early to throw in the towel on this situation, but Toppin was the guy I didn’t really want us to take, and that pick is the one Rose move that seems really easy to question at the moment.

    Yeah, I don’t think Obi was first on anyone here’s list at #8 for a litany of good reasons. Hali was my guy and still is, but alas, no use crying…

    There’s a small amount of consolation thus far is that Obi wasn’t a reach at #8, most mocks had him going earlier. And I suppose it could be argued it would have been even worse if we traded up for Obi, as was speculated. There’s the hometown kid thing and some legit upside to root for, and the passing looks legit, but at this point the KB consensus re: Hali vs. Obi seems pretty much on point (npi). I’m not completely sold that all of what we’re seeing from Hali is for real…let’s see if if he adjusts back after the league adjusts to him. But no doubt, he’s looking like most of us expected when we wanted him at #8. And Obi is looking like what skeptics were worried about. Still too early for despair, but not for a queasy feeling.

    Maybe Quickley can ease at least some of the angst if he turns out to be a steal at #25.

  141. cybersoze: Don’t get me wrong, that’s not what i said. I think they are overrated because after the first 2 or 3 games people were talking about the finals Lakers-Nets as if they’re above the other east contenders, and i don’t think they are. They’re in the same tier as MIL, MIA, BOS. Even to make the ECF, they have to beat one of those 3. Perhaps they do it, perhaps they don’t. So if getting to the finals is what’s expected of them, i think there’s a great probability that they’ll disappoint.

    I don’t remember anyone suggesting that they were a lock for the finals…only that the are a legit contender and very deep, and that KD looked fully recovered and Kyrie looked very good. Folks are right to question the depth especially without Dinwiddie, but they are certainly as good as those other teams on paper right now.

  142. Alan:
    Rivers will play tonight, but limitedly. (He hasn’t even done a 5-on-5 scrimmage yet.) So at least Thibs won’t have to go to a 7-man rotation with Frank out. Be nice if Quickley can play, too. I have a bad feeling that our proclivity for giving up wide-open 3-point attempts will go less well against Toronto, so some added firepower would be nice.

    Playing a guy who hasn’t even practiced 5-on-5 yet seems pretty aggressive to me but I guess I don’t really know how much 5-on-5 work teams actually do in season. The Knicks haven’t had two consecutive days without a game since right after game 1, and it doesn’t happen again until 1/19-1/20. I don’t know what kind of practices Thibs is running under that kind of schedule but I’d assume they’re relatively light. Groin injuries are very easy to reinjure however and you have to wonder whether he’d be playing if we didn’t have so many other issues on the guard line. Seems dicey.

    I guess the plus side is that it’s not actually clear Rivers being healthy helps the team on the court in the short term and the long-term benefits are almost certainly zero so maybe the reinjury risk is actually irrelevant.

  143. I was just going to chime in and say maybe Quickley can be what Hali would’ve been, and maybe more, but Z-Man beat me to it.

    Maybe Obi will still be the more valuable player in the end, but that fact that we needed better guard play so badly makes the choice painful right now.

  144. Teams are still building chemistry right now. The holidays and COVID are distractions, especially for the bubble teams. The Knicks et. al. have an advantage right now, they are playing every game like a playoff game. How else does CLE go 3-0? Or the Magic 4-0? Or the Kings 3-1?

    Yeah, I think that’s a great point about some teams who haven’t played in months are taking these games super seriously and the teams just back from the bubble are…a bit less so.

  145. thenamestsam: Playing a guy who hasn’t even practiced 5-on-5 yet seems pretty aggressive to me but I guess I don’t really know how much 5-on-5 work teams actually do in season.

    Saying a player is NBA-ready after 3-on-3 is a big part of what we do here. We can’t just kick that to the curb.

  146. “Teams are still building chemistry right now. The holidays and COVID are distractions, especially for the bubble teams. The Knicks et. al. have an advantage right now, they are playing every game like a playoff game. How else does CLE go 3-0? Or the Magic 4-0? Or the Kings 3-1?”

    “Yeah, I think that’s a great point about some teams who haven’t played in months are taking these games super serious and the teams just back from the bubble are…a bit less so.”

    Well, the Nets were done in August after getting swept in the first round by Toronto, so not sure it really applies to them.

  147. thenamestsam: Playing a guy who hasn’t even practiced 5-on-5 yet seems pretty aggressive to me but I guess I don’t really know how much 5-on-5 work teams actually do in season. The Knicks haven’t had two consecutive days without a game since right after game 1, and it doesn’t happen again until 1/19-1/20. I don’t know what kind of practices Thibs is running under that kind of schedule but I’d assume they’re relatively light. Groin injuries are very easy to reinjure however and you have to wonder whether he’d be playing if we didn’t have so many other issues on the guard line. Seems dicey.

    I guess the plus side is that it’s not actually clear Rivers being healthy helps the team on the court in the short term and the long-term benefits are almost certainly zero so maybe the reinjury risk is actually irrelevant.

    +1, almost seems like the play is to get him reinjured so they won’t have to bench the younger guys or make him upset by benching him.

    I really liked Rivers’ attitude and the team-friendly contract suggests that he could be an inexpensive bench piece going forward so I’m rooting for him to do well.

  148. Mavs should trade for Harden. He and Doncic will eat the competition alive, probably metaphorically

  149. ess-dog:
    I was just going to chime in and say maybe Quickley can be what Hali would’ve been, and maybe more, but Z-Man beat me to it.

    Even if that were so, we’d still have had room for both. In fact, a backcourt with Halli and Quickley would’ve made perfect sense for the team we’re building and would’ve allowed us to move out Burks, Bullock, Frank, etc. easier via a trade.

  150. Querly Q-Word, Pen Name of Pen Name Early Bird:
    Mavs should trade for Harden. He and Doncic will eat the competition alive, probably metaphorically

    Assuming Dallas has the assets to make that trade happen, which is a stretch in the least. ESPN reported that Harden complained when he had to share the ball with Chris Paul back in Houston. You think he’s going to play nice sharing a backcourt with the USG% leader in the NBA right now? I don’t see it.

  151. straight up any Sangiovese from Tuscany

    Had my first Brunelo last weekend. White pepper ice cream and sour cherries. It’s real fucking sexy.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but the Austin Rivers I remember is a sub-par shooting guard whose primary skill is that he’s pretty fast in a straight line. I guess maybe he’s a tweener but he hasn’t played minutes at PG in 6 years. This doesn’t seem like a Burks situation where the player is undervalued due to bouncing around on shitty teams, this seems like a situation where the Knicks got him on a fair value contract. Yes no?

  152. d-mar: Yeah, I think that’s a great point about some teams who haven’t played in months are taking these games super serious and the teams just back from the bubble are…a bit less so.

    Well, the Nets were done in August after getting swept in the first round by Toronto, so not sure it really applies to them.

    The Nets are definitely a special case…although I think they won’t play KD and Kyrie playoff minutes per se, they are probably more motivated than, say, the Lakers or Heat because they are essentially a new team with those two. But they definitely haven’t gelled yet…remember how people were ringing alarm bells when the Big 3 in Miami got off to a slow start, with the Wade and LeBron can’t play together nonsense?

    What bugs me most is that a Harden deal is still lurking out there…I hope he stays out west.

  153. Grocer: Had my first Brunelo last weekend.White pepper ice cream and sour cherries.It’s real fucking sexy.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but the Austin Rivers I remember is a sub-par shooting guard whose primary skill is that he’s pretty fast in a straight line.I guess maybe he’s a tweener but he hasn’t played minutes at PG in 6 years.This doesn’t seem like a Burks situation where the player is undervalued due to bouncing around on shitty teams, this seems like a situation where the Knicks got him on a fair value contract.Yes no?

    Rivers sucks but we’ve run out of PGs and his below average shooting is a big improvement over all our PGs except Quickley. With the offense mostly running through Randle, Rivers shouldn’t be too big a liability at PG

  154. Ntilakilla: Even if that were so, we’d still have had room for both. In fact, a backcourt with Halli and Quickley would’ve made perfect sense for the team we’re building and would’ve allowed us to move out Burks, Bullock, Frank, etc. easier via a trade.

    Sure, even if Quickley becomes Isiah Thomas it doesn’t make up for drafting a stiff at #8 over KB braintrust objections. But Hali and Obi are still cutting their NBA teeth, let’s wait a minute before coronating Hali as Steph Curry 2.0 and concluding that Obi is a bust.

  155. Z-man: Sure, even if Quickley becomes Isiah Thomas it doesn’t make up for drafting a stiff at #8 over KB braintrust objections. But Hali and Obi are still cutting their NBA teeth, let’s wait a minute before coronating Hali as Steph Curry 2.0 and concluding that Obi is a bust.

    The projection for Hali is more like what Lonzo Ball should’ve been, not Steph. Obi’s passing is intriguing though. We’ll see if his injury is what kept him back so far.

  156. I know you said what Lonzo should have been, but if actual Lonzo is Hali’s ceiling I would feel less bad about losing out…he’s vastly underperformed his rookie contract and will probably get overpaid going forward. What do you think Lonzo will sign for? He’s a RFA, right?

  157. I like Curry as a floor spacer and scorer, but they wanted Richardson over Curry for defense and switching purposes. They lost one thing (some more efficient offense) but added other things. The net is not huge.

    You may think this checks out intuitively, and that’s fair enough, but unless you have any evidence to support the idea that the net isn’t significant it’s just pure conjecture. The offensive drop off is tangible and significant. What do you have to counter that?

    2. They are missing Prozingis’s scoring and excellent spacing for their attacks and rolls to the rim, He’s also not there to clean up some of the mess when Luca and other weak defenders get beat.

    One more time: last season in 1823 minutes (the majority of minutes they played) without Porzingis their offensive rating was 116.4, which still would’ve easily led the NBA.

  158. I’m with Grocer on Austin’s powers, but I look forward to seeing if my sense of the guy is wrong. It would be a pleasant surprise. But I’m not holding my breath.

    Regarding the game tonight, Devine points this out: “Lowry’s always been Toronto’s bellwether, but this is ridiculous: The Raptors are plus-14 in 111 minutes with the 34-year-old point guard on the floor, and minus-40 in the 33 minutes he’s sat. They need VanVleet, in particular, to get right—and fast.”

  159. Z-man:
    I know you said what Lonzo should have been, but if actual Lonzo is Hali’s ceiling I would feel less bad about losing out…he’s vastly underperformed his rookie contract and will probably get overpaid going forward. What do you think Lonzo will sign for? He’s a RFA, right?

    Yeah, if Hali’s what Lonzo is – a poor shooting ball handler – then, yeah, I won’t feel too bad about losing out either. Agreed on that front since a guard who can’t shoot is obsolete in today’s NBA.

    As for what Lonzo will fetch? I dunno. He’s an odd cat. I keep waiting for him to fix that shot and while he’s made some progress, it seems like he may never even be a serviceable FT or 3P shooter. The fact that he doesn’t get to the line enough is a problem too. I’ve dreamt on him for ages but he might not be worth more than the deal Austin Rivers signed with us.

  160. One more time: last season in 1823 minutes (the majority of minutes they played) without Porzingis their offensive rating was 116.4, which still would’ve easily led the NBA.

    You really gotta respect Strat’s loyalty to his KP stanning. He just keeps repeating the same line about spacing and interior defense with a Goebbels like persistence underlying every propagandist’s attempt to make someone believe a Big Lie so long as it is reiterated enough times as true.

  161. Z-man:
    I know you said what Lonzo should have been, but if actual Lonzo is Hali’s ceiling I would feel less bad about losing out…he’s vastly underperformed his rookie contract and will probably get overpaid going forward. What do you think Lonzo will sign for? He’s a RFA, right?

    He’s a fascinating and very unique player. I suspect his market value could swing anywhere from $13M to like $20M+ depending on how he shoots the 3 this year as that’s pretty much the entirety of what he does in half-court offense. He’s still just 23 and he’s a good defender, good transition player, if the shooting from last year is real he’s a pretty decent player right now who fits on a lot of teams but isn’t really a PG. If he shoots low 30s on 3s this year then I don’t know what exactly he is.

  162. It’s 4 games into the season and Luka is shooting .095% from 3. Dallas will probably be fine. I think Curry is a better player than Josh Richardson, who is one of those (for my money) random guys NBA media decide to fall in love with for no particular reason. He’s not that bad-he’s a decent, versatile defender and mediocre offensive player, but he’s just a guy. Curry is at least a genuinely good offensive player. But Richardson has played pretry well the first four games, and the Mavs have one bad loss.

  163. Even if that were so, we’d still have had room for both. In fact, a backcourt with Halli and Quickley would’ve made perfect sense for the team we’re building and would’ve allowed us to move out Burks, Bullock, Frank, etc. easier via a trade.

    If we had taken Hali at 8, I think for sure the later pick would have been a big man. Otherwise, that’s a lot of eggs being put in the baskets of Randle (even improved, he may not be a long-term piece) and Knox (who’s better but still not good). So we probably would have gone Hali at 8 and… Vernon Carey in the 20s? Or someone like that? (I just know they liked Carey.) Hali looks like the surer thing at the moment, so let’s hope the Obi/Quickley combo proves us all wrong.

  164. Grocer , definitely with you on Brunello. Went to Montalcino once, outrageously wonderful part of the world.

    If Halliburton can hit his free throw a and hit 35% from three that’s a very good player.

    If random dudes on benches in the NBA are getting more than 60 million over four I am sure Ball will too.

    Also, I think Josh Richardson is a good defender but agree it’s hard to quantify how much that swap cost them.

    Mavs biggest problem? Too little Boban!

  165. DRed:
    I think Curry is a better player than Josh Richardson, who is one of those (for my money) random guys NBA media decide to fall in love with for no particular reason.He’s not that bad-he’s a decent, versatile defender and mediocre offensive player, but he’s just a guy.Curry is at least a genuinely good offensive player.But Richardson has played pretry well the first four games, and the Mavs have one bad loss.

    I like Curry slightly better too but he’s probably also somewhat overrated. I think because he broke through so late he’s one of those guys who people forget that age is already a concern for him – he’s small guard over 30 which is never a great proposition. He also has one career season where he posted more than a +1 OBPM so while he’s certainly an established shooter his overall offensive impact isn’t really that well established. It happens that year was last year, and he’s definitely the kind of late bloomer where you can talk yourself into the idea that he established a new level last year, and he’s certainly off to a good start this year, but it’s not like he’s so much more than the proverbial “guy” himself.

  166. He’s not that bad-he’s a decent, versatile defender and mediocre offensive player, but he’s just a guy.

    Ah yes, I remember Courtney Lee well. (Speaking of which, where did he wind up after the Mavs waived him?)

  167. I think the curry deal just made a lot more sense for Philly. They had defense to spare with Embiid and Simmons and clearly missed a JJ Redick type. Not sure Richardson’s defense in Dallas was a similar upgrade.

  168. 3 of the Mavs next 4 games are against good teams (Miami, Houston, Denver). They could easily be 2-6 after that.

    (Also, it’s very weird to look at schedules and pretty much ignore whether a team is home or away. Is there any home court advantage this season, except maybe that one team had to travel?)

  169. Josh Richardson gained traction because he showed glimpses of being a capable ball handler, and he’s a good defender. Those guys are usually valuable in the league as long as they can shoot 3s decently. The problem with him is that his shooting percentages have never gotten quite there where they needed to be, he’s inconsistent shooting 3s and became a bit overrated because of this, but he’s a good player.

  170. Alan: If we had taken Hali at 8, I think for sure the later pick would have been a big man. Otherwise, that’s a lot of eggs being put in the baskets of Randle (even improved, he may not be a long-term piece) and Knox (who’s better but still not good). So we probably would have gone Hali at 8 and… Vernon Carey in the 20s? Or someone like that? (I just know they liked Carey.) Hali looks like the surer thing at the moment, so let’s hope the Obi/Quickley combo proves us all wrong.

    Which also reminds me: I wish we also drafted Deni Avdija. Either way, I am kind of pissed about it. Deni + IQ would be very enticing right now.

  171. THIS encapsulates what being a Knicks fan in the 21st century has been all about.

    If the Knicks win tonight, they will enter January with a winning record for the first time since the 2012-13 season. Incredibly, New York has entered January with a losing record in 16 of the 19 seasons this century.— Tommy Beer (@TommyBeer) December 31, 2020

  172. It’s a cute stat, but it’s just a fluke of the schedule. As obviously we noted before, the Knicks had a winning record 33 games into the 2017-18 season, it’s just that that season started at a normal time (actually, I think that was the first year the league started playing early, right?).

  173. Ntilakilla: Which also reminds me: I wish we also drafted Deni Avdija. Either way, I am kind of pissed about it. Deni + IQ would be very enticing right now.

    Yeah, a bunch of teams might regret passing over Deni, us included. His shooting was a huge question mark, but so far it looks good.

  174. Ntilakilla:
    THIS encapsulates what being a Knicks fan in the 21st century has been all about.

    If the Knicks win tonight, they will enter January with a winning record for the first time since the 2012-13 season. Incredibly, New York has entered January with a losing record in 16 of the 19 seasons this century.— Tommy Beer (@TommyBeer) December 31, 2020

    Let’s do this!!! ;)

  175. Z-man: Yeah, a bunch of teams might regret passing over Deni, us included. His shooting was a huge question mark, but so far it looks good.

    Every game he’s flashing a little something that shows me he definitely belongs as an NBA starter. I have a feeling he will be solid at least.

  176. Ntilakilla: Every game he’s flashing a little something that shows me he definitely belongs as an NBA starter. I have a feeling he will be solid at least.

    Maybe like a Gordon Hayward ceiling?

  177. holy cow cyber soze, looks like you have similar sleep schedule (only in a different time zone :)…i’m a littl susceptible to those late night gaming sessions…

    i lived in the southwest portion of germany, a town along the neckar river called: heilbronn…it was an absolutely beautiful area…

    coming from new york i remember how amazed i was by how organized and clean everything seemed to be – this was back in the late 80’s…

    the first year there was a real challenge for me, serious introvert, stressful job, couldn’t understand the language…i had/have never experienced loneliness to that degree before or since…maybe the only time in my life when i thought that it may not be such a terrific thing being here, i was drinking a lot too at the time which probably didn’t help the situation…

    one thing that really sticks out – i love to shop, always have, on saturdays when i would go downtown to the marktplatz there used to be this artist that would do those sidewalk 3D paintings, they looked so amazing and cool…

    on those shopping trips downtown i remember becoming acutely aware of just how little meaning “personal space” had for the folks there, folks were just bumping in to me left and right…coming from new york – that really freaked me out for awhile…

  178. Alan: Ah yes, I remember Courtney Lee well. (Speaking of which, where did he wind up after the Mavs waived him?)

    He’s actually playing with Lonzo Trier, Kyle O’Quinn, Noah Vonleh and Kenny Wooten. The team’s nickname is “The Unemployed”.

  179. hi farfa…if you’re tuning in…i looked up that emilia-romagna area, wow, it’s like a big valley with mountains on three sides and the sea to the east – the area is literally like built for beauty…it must be amazing to travel around…

    are you more in the middle of the “valley”, mountains or sea?

  180. Max, you’re like on tear…i can’t imagine i’ve just been missing or overlooking your posts previously…i’m glad though to notice them now…

    it’s hard to poke fun at folks these days, landmines everywhere there…you do it well though…

    honestly, having a totally sardonic outlook on the world is seemingly the only logical thing to do…and, it is something most of us here do abundantly well…hmmmm, must be a new yorkish kind of thing…

    when i first got in the army you could get away with saying some really foul shit – on the premise, that: i fucking hate everyone equally

    therefore you weren’t really being racist, sexist, or a general bigot…it was more like a world-view…boy, the world has changed, much more subtle these days usually…

  181. there’s not really much to be fawning over deni in the early going… a microscopic ftr…. a 62% 3pr…. he’s shooting 50% from 3 which encompasses basically his entire offense….

    our rook has a similar problem except he’s not hitting 3s but i don’t think we’re going to be losing too much sleep over avdija…

  182. Ntilakilla: Assuming Dallas has the assets to make that trade happen, which is a stretch in the least. ESPN reported that Harden complained when he had to share the ball with Chris Paul back in Houston. You think he’s going to play nice sharing a backcourt with the USG% leader in the NBA right now? I don’t see it.

    Oh, I just want to watch fat Harden and fat Luka play together and destroy other teams.

    When I say eat the competition alive, I mean “probably metaphorically” as in possibly also literally.

  183. geo:
    Max, you’re like on tear…i can’t imagine i’ve just been missing or overlooking your posts previously…i’m glad though to notice them now…

    it’s hard to poke fun at folks these days, landmines everywhere there…you do it well though…

    honestly, having a totally sardonic outlook on the world is seemingly the only logical thing to do…and, it is something most of us here do abundantly well…hmmmm, must be a new yorkish kind of thing…

    when i first got in the army you could get away with saying some really foul shit – on the premise, that: i fucking hate everyone equally

    therefore you weren’t really being racist, sexist, or a general bigot…it was more like a world-view…boy, the world has changed, much more subtle these days usually…

    Thanks Geo,
    I’m actually from Italy like Farfa (except that I live around Milano) but I’m frequently in a New York State Of Mind…
    Posting here since before the infamous Anthony trade that I despise (Gallo!!!) but I’ve been silent for almost all 2020… it’s nice to be back, at least for me :-)

  184. Oh, I just want to watch fat Harden and fat Luka play together and destroy other teams.

    When I say eat the competition alive, I mean “probably metaphorically” as in possibly also literally.

    perfect example:
    while generally shaming folks for their physique/physical appearance is normally not so politically okay – in this context, there are certain fitness “appearance” expectations for professional athletes (with the rare tony gwynn, kirby pucket, pablo sandavol exceptions)…so, it works perfect for chunky doncic and harden…

    and, any suggestion of cannibalism might not be generally welcomed amongst all audiences…

    i’m telling you – seems simple enough, but there’s is some serious skill in a post like that…

  185. Alan: Ah yes, I remember Courtney Lee well. (Speaking of which, where did he wind up after the Mavs waived him?)

      

    Unlike Noah and NY, he’s off Dallas’s cap.

  186. you know Max – that is something else which i find quite remarkable:

    for all of our folks here for whom english is not their first language (most likely one of several known languages) being able to hit so well on humor is pretty cool…

    for the record, my mom’s a native spanish speaker, studied spanish in high school, studied french in college, lived in germany – and, i can’t remember hardly none of it…

    what is it with some of you folks…got some extended family over in zurich, she speaks like a half dozen languages, like it’s no big deal…

  187. there’s not really much to be fawning over deni in the early going… a microscopic ftr…. a 62% 3pr…. he’s shooting 50% from 3 which encompasses basically his entire offense….

    our rook has a similar problem except he’s not hitting 3s but i don’t think we’re going to be losing too much sleep over avdija…

    I agree. It’s way too early to be getting overwrought about a guy who’s hit a few threes in 4 total games. He could just as well turn out to be the next Mario Hezonga (to make the lazy white Euro comparison)

  188. Deeefense: Unlike Noah and NY, he’s off Dallas’s cap.

    Noah really was Phil’s masterpiece.
    Showered in money, he reciprocated the favor playing bad, been injured, been suspended for drugs while injured, fight physically with his head coach, admitted publicly in an interview that his bad play was due to him been partying too much and been stoned most of the time… And we’re still paying him!
    And we think that the Players Association is a bad union

  189. d-mar: 3 of the Mavs next 4 games are against good teams (Miami, Houston, Denver). They could easily be 2-6 after that.

    I’m all for fat Doncic. Let’s pool our money and get some bakery to send him some of these Slovenian pastries. With a short season, and KP on only his 1st IL stint of the season, the Mavs may fall into the lottery (a man can dream, can’t he?)

    Grocer: Correct me if I’m wrong, but the Austin Rivers I remember is a sub-par shooting guard whose primary skill is that he’s pretty fast in a straight line. I guess maybe he’s a tweener but he hasn’t played minutes at PG in 6 years.

    I don’t see what’s to hate about Rivers. We know what we got in him and we have him for 3 years. (I mean, I thoroughly hated the signing because the $9M we spent on him and Elfrid could have gone to a real point guard, but I digress). He’s a meh combo-guard that can shoot a bit.

    Alan: If we had taken Hali at 8, I think for sure the later pick would have been a big man.

    That’s how I had it mapped out.

    Brian Cronin:
    I was so sure Deni was going top five that I didn’t even consider him for the Knicks.

    I’m right there with you.

  190. geo:
    you know Max – that is something else which i find quite remarkable:

    for all of our folks here for whom english is not their first language (most likely one of several known languages) being able to hit so well on humor is pretty cool…

    for the record, my mom’s a native spanish speaker, studied spanish in high school, studied french in college, lived in germany – and, i can’t remember hardly none of it…

    what is it with some of you folks…got some extended family over in zurich, she speaks like a half dozen languages, like it’s no big deal…

    Believe ma, engage youself in a six months Lambrusco Trip in Emilia Romagna and you’ll talk italian like a natural.

  191. I don’t see what’s to hate about Rivers. We know what we got in him and we have him for 3 years.

    it’s not that i don’t like him as a player, he’s very okay – it’s just it would have been nice to have him a few years ago…i know he’s only 28, but he just seems like an old 28…

    see there, a little justifiable ageism :)

  192. As usual, another super write-up from our magical Farfa. Someone else mentioned this way up thread, but it is nice to have a brief respite from doom-and-gloom. Plenty enough time for that later.

    Have a safe New Years Eve, one and all. I doubt many of us are going out (at least I hope not) but the next year will be better.

  193. Sabonis putting up a nice line today. Puts Julius Randle in perspective. 6’11 guy. 25 points on 15.5 t-shots, 11 boards, 7 assists, and one turnover. And plus 25.

  194. looks like sabonis wasn’t ranked that high prior to the season, somewhere in the 40’s and 50’s range…

    that’s a mistake…

  195. Burks and Quickley are still out. So most likely the same rotation as the Cleveland game, with Rivers taking Frank’s minutes, and Randle, RJ, and Bullock only getting brief respites here and there.

  196. Yeah gonna be tough to win tonight without Burks and having to use Rivers as the backup PG when he hasn’t even had a practice. Hoping I’m wrong but could see the Knicks getting blown out tonight.

  197. Hoping I’m wrong but could see the Knicks getting blown out tonight.

    i’m thinking a loss by about 15 might be due…

  198. @SBondyNYDN
    Tom Thibodeau said Dennis Smith Jr. is flying to join the Knicks and is day-to-day but it doesn’t sound like he’ll be back on the court right away:

    “He’ll still be out for a while. …It’s a contusion that’s pretty deep. So once he’s ready to go, there’s the conditioning part.”

    My guess is DSJ only sees the court at this point if only one other point guard is healthy that night.

  199. This nagging injuries are a pain in the butt,
    Randle could go 48 minutes tonight and others 40, not ideal.
    While I wait the game, fun appetizer between WAS and the Bulls,
    Thomas Bryant with 22 at half on 8-8 shooting (including two 3PT) and 4-4 from the line.
    I’d like Mitch to extend his shooting range like he did year by year.

  200. I like Bryant.

    McBuckets is finally blossoming.

    Enjoying my first NYE beverage…a Wrench Northeast IPA 7.1%

  201. Adrian Wojnarowski
    @wojespn
    ·
    9m
    Indiana Pacers forward TJ Warren will undergo surgery to repair a stress fracture in his left foot, sources tell ESPN. He will be out indefinitely.

    Adrian Wojnarowski
    @wojespn
    ·
    5m
    Significant blow for the Pacers. Warren had averaged 15 points in four games this season after a breakout performance in the Orlando restart. He had a similar procedure on his right foot in Phoenix in 2016 before fully recovering.

  202. Like Randle, Sabonis can’t guard anyone on the perimeter and is a crappy rim protector. He’s better than Kantor or Randle on that end but I don’t think he’s good enough defensively to be a top twenty guy. Top 50 yes- a good player for sure- but not elite.

  203. got ya, thanks nicos…

    yeah, most highlights are of guys scoring points or making nice passes…

    i tried looking at his stats, but, i can’t really pick out the more relevant numbers to his defense…

  204. I don’t think you need to be an elite defender to be a top-20 player…being elite on one end and no worse than mediocre on the other is enough. Sabonis is a much bigger problem on O than Enes and not as bad on D.

  205. Z-man:
    I don’t think you need to be an elite defender to be a top-20 player…being elite on one end and no worse than mediocre on the other is enough. Sabonis is a much bigger problem on O than Enes and not as bad on D.

    Sabonis isn’t elite on offense. His career TS% is .574 and he turns it over a ton. His career high in obpm is 2.0. He’s good, he’s nowhere near top twenty.

  206. whenever i think of sabonis i imagine a guy who’s all over offensive boards, crashes his way to the rim and passes really well around the basket…just wreaks havoc on that end…really strong guy too, contact doesn’t seem to slow him up…

    i don’t think he handles the ball better than julius though…definitely not as much…

    now resisting the urge to look up their stats, but, i know he has to shoot better from behind the arc…

    drawing a blank though thinking about him on defense…

  207. I think he just recently added the 3. He’s got the pedigree, though….even post-prime Arvidas was spectacular…

  208. nicos: Sabonis isn’t elite on offense. His career TS% is .574 and he turns it over a ton. His career high in obpm is 2.0. He’s good, he’s nowhere near top twenty.

    I’m talking about now, not over his career…

  209. Z-man:
    I think he just recently added the 3. He’s got the pedigree, though….even post-prime Arvidas was spectacular…

    Agree on McBuckets, he found his role as a nice complementary player,
    and his shot could be deadly.

    Sabonis Jr. shot threes in college and start shooting it at Oklahoma, but his first year at Indiana the coaching staff told him to cut it, this year looks like he has is confidence back.

    His father… Watched him play for the first time at the Euro Championship when he was 19, he made a play that is still one of the two most wonderful I’ve ever seen. Without injuries he could have been an all-time top 20.

  210. I’ve been waiting for a starting lineup announcement, but I guess it’s obvious who it is going to be, so fair enough.

  211. Z-man:
    Re DSJ, how do you miss so much time with a thigh contusion?

    i get the sense he doesn’t want to be out there…at least in a knick uni…no way to tell if its healed other than the player saying it is ok..he can milk it for awhile…

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