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Thursday, February 21, 2019

New York Knicks 99 – Brooklyn Nets 109 – Game Recap

A tale of two halves, more or less. The first one was quite good, the second one was atrocious. This brings again a lot of questions about Fizdale as a coach (compounded by the baffling quote about not knowing who was gonna start after he learned of Mudiay’s shoulder injury – I mean, really? Are you telling me an entire professional coaching staff doesn’t have a lot of set options, ordered by whatever criteria, to go to when someone gets injured/incapacitated? They’re implementing this stuff in the NBA2K games since, what, 2009? And people who get actually paid to do that job don’t know for sure what to do in a season where there’s no reason whatsoever to employ smokescreens?).

Granted, Frank’s foul trouble is not on the coaching staff, so they had to adjust on the fly with what they had. But how come that 47 games in there’s not even a splinter of offensive coherence in this team? Tanking is okay, we’re saying this since day one (actually, since 2014-15 and maybe even before), but this is essentially a lost season in terms of building something. And it’s not like they don’t have pieces to build upon. Those pieces may suck, but they’re in place. It’s one thing to not being able to play Mitch because he shows himself out of a game with six fouls: it’s another to play him just 17 minutes in a game where Lance Thomas played 27 as the nominal four and Mitch commits just 2 fouls. Would it have been that difficult to swap minutes allotted, playing Mitch at the five and Vonleh at four for ten minutes, especially considering that defensive rebounding is the worst part of Mitch’s game and Vonleh can account for that? We’re not playing for anything. There’s no reason at all to play Lance 27 minutes. If you don’t want to play Kanter (and I agree with this) you should just call up Hicks, who’s terrible but on a two-way contract, and give him some minutes until Kornet comes back. Or sign Anthony Bennett and play him. Also, we put THJ on the trading block (haha, good joke) and then we play him 40 minutes and he proceeds to shoot 2 for 14, while bitching repeatedly with his teammates? Why in the hell would we want to do that? And that bitching thing is a bit disturbing, for two possible reasons. The first: THJ has been invested as the leader of this team – for no apparent motive – and thinks he can act like he’s Michael Jordan or Kobe. Ok, he’s bitching for good reasons, and the Trier Twitter DM debacle doesn’t look good, but is he setting any sort of positive model on the court for those kids? He chucks useless shots from the perimeter without any regard for team play. And the second: if THJ has been appointed as the leader, why do you put him on the trading block? Tanking seasons are difficult matters to manage and to behold, but that should come out of hardship, not out of utter confusion, which is what seems to permeate this team from Guitar Jimmy to every talking head not named Breen or Frazier.

I realize now that I’ve spent more than 500 words and have said pretty much nothing about this game. It’s a bit hard to say something about it, not because it wasn’t good (I mean, it wasn’t, but the first half was entertaining enough), but because I don’t know what we were trying to do. Frank can’t play because of fouls, enter Trey Burke, who scores 25 points but chucks from midrange and fails to get anyone involved. Vonleh is on fire in the first quarter, so we run exactly zero plays for him and he ends up shooting 11 threes because there’s no one cutting to pass the ball to (fun fact: before the Curry/Harden revolution – let’s say until 2016/17 – that has encouraged everyone and their mom to shoot from three, there were exactly 42 instances in NBA history of a PF/C, C/PF or C shooting at least 11 threes in a game. No Knick player in that list. In the last season and a half, there were 17 instances of the same occurrence. Still no Knick player in that list until last night. In short: no one ever thought to make KP rain hell from three as it was his destiny to do, even smack dab in the middle of the revolution. How’s it goink?). Mitch wreaks havoc on lobs/interior passes, yet Trier is the only one who seems capable of giving him the ball where he wants. Trier comes off a career night (and a PR blunder), looks positively healthy, and ends up attempting only 6 field goals because another ball dominant guard hijacks the offense. Nobody seems to be able to think that sometimes you should funnel the action to your first round pick in good situations, and he ends up with a bricktastic line – but still better than THJ! – just four games after his hope-inducing scoring output against Philly.

I’ll say it again: it makes no sense to fire the coaching staff during such a season. I will never advocate for it. But I can’t be the only one who’s seeing glaring flaws in all of Fizdale’s work until now. I liked him and I still do from time to time – especially when he utter genuinely funny quips to the press – but I predict he’s gonna be canned by January 2020, because next year will show how much this one was a lost season. If that’s so, maybe it would be better for the front office to carefully evaluate this year’s performances and pull the plug during the summer (that is unless we strike gold in the lottery and/or we sign two marquee free agents, which seems very unlikely. In that case Fiz’s reputation as a players’ coach might come in handy).

Since last night there was no really good player (I refuse to acknowledge Burke’s 25 points, 5 assists, 2 steals but no defense and no team play – no matter what the scoreboard says about assists – as one, and Vonleh posted an uncharacteristically Kanteresque empty double-double that to my eyes doesn’t count as one) and the bad ones have pretty much already been singled out in my previous rant, I’ll go directly to the cringe-sized bits:

– First of all: Frank, my dear boy, how many opportunities do you think you can squander like this? If you’ve seen the game, you know what I’m talking about. If you didn’t (and I praise you for that, only real junkies can keep up with every Knicks game as of now), I’ll tell you that at least 4 of his 6 fouls were dumb. If defense is your calling card, and honestly it is, since ball handlers actively get troubled by Frank coverage, you can’t foul like that, just getting your hands on someone’s body parts. Nights like these make me question not only Ntilikina’s offensive IQ, but his defensive one too. He played a good game, to be fair. 4 points, 4 boards, 5 assists, 2 steals and a block. But he can’t keep losing playing time thanks to stupid fouls in favor of the Mudiays and Burkes of this world, especially with Fizdale at the helm.

– I was ready to salute Noah Vonleh’s well-deserved career night after the first quarter (14 points on 6-for-8, getting Jarrett Allen in foul trouble very early) but he caught the chucking bug, so ok, Noah, here’s a toast to your career-high in points, but don’t make me see you play like this again. You’re the only one I liked for 47 straight games. Don’t give up on your inner nature.

– Knox is back to early season Knox. Nobody is passing him the ball in the rights spots (maybe Frank sometimes?). He rushes horrible floaters and doesn’t even get in transition that much. Our rebounding futility might have something to do with that, but doesn’t tell the whole story. There were a bunch of Knicks fastbreaks last night, thanks to 12 steals. Usually, those are Knox’s favorite situations; last night he was nowhere to be found. He committed a team-high 4 TOs, and at least two of them were so predictable I foresaw him at least three seconds before they occurred. He also seems more fatigued, as he jumps less. Is it possible that all those minutes are already weighing on him?

– You know the book on Mitch. I want to see more of him. I hate I didn’t on a night where he didn’t get into foul trouble. He needs reps. I fully blame the coaching staff on this. In limited minutes, Mitch is first among rookies having played at least 200 minutes in: WS/48 (.164 to Ayton’s .148 in second place), TS% (.664 to Ayton’s .619 in second place), eFG% (guess who’s second), DBPM (5.0 to Bamba’s 3.0 in second place), BPM (5.3 to Luka’s 3.5 in second place), BLK% (9.5 to Bamba’s 7.3 in second place; Mitch is back in leading the whole NBA in this statistic, not only rookies) and is third in VORP (1.0 to Luka’s 2.1 and Ayton’s 1.2). If you don’t play him the most he can, and surely he can play more than 17 minutes, you’re a pathetic excuse for a coaching staff. Sorry, rant over. For now.

–  Allonzo is pretty good too, now that he’s healthy/has realized the second year of his contract is a team option (just kidding: I blame myself for having ever thought his problems were contingent on post-contract laziness). 13 points on 6 shots, 2 steals, 2 assists for Mitch, so-so but almost passable defense. Even after his play cratered for a while after the injury, he’s still 8th among rookies having played at least 200 minutes in TS% (amazingly, Knox is not last in that category: behind Kevin there are six such rookies. The bad news is that other than Grayson Allen, none of them were selected in the first round, and two of them went undrafted).

– In the first quarter there was a honey-sweet possession where Frank dished a bounce pass to Lance cutting to the rim that led to a thunderous slam by Thomas. It was like seeing two of your friends that are usually super awkward around girls/boys walk away from the disco with two smoking hot ladies/guys, even if just for one night.

And now we’re up for the Dwyane Wade retirement tour. Miami is a weird team since LeBron left, so it might be a trap game for the tank. As long as Mitch plays at least 25 and Frank shows something, I might take it.

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59 comments on “New York Knicks 99 – Brooklyn Nets 109 – Game Recap

  1. Zanzibar

    Just put Frank/Trier/Knox/Vonleh/Mitch out there together for lotta minutes and I’ll watch.

    On to more juicier stuff. Ringling Bros ain’t got nuttin’ on deez Knicks. Fiz blurts out that Hardaway is starting because he’s making 18m/yr. Timmy and Mills…care to comment? And that’s amidst the whole Enes drama. Weird: Hornacek tells his center he’s gonna play then yanks him in garbage time after minimal minutes and a brouhaha ensues. Fiz tells his center he’s starting and then he receives a Smart DNP (notice the capitalization).

    I don’t think Fiz is a used car salesman so much as a guy who thinks out loud. The used car dealer feeds you BS but Fiz often just blurts out the truth. It’s refreshing in one sense but not advisable. Enes is a lot like Fiz in that respect. Kanter has primary blame for dust-up. He could have just kept quiet and then NYK would have cut him at the trade deadline but no, he had to keep on blabbing. To what end? He’s probably diminishing his future value by acting in this manner.

  2. Bo Nateman

    Re: Fiz
    Reading the piece on Kenny Atkinson implementing quality shooting schemes from the onset of his BK tenure really contrasts with what Fiz is implementing. Do the Knicks even have a scheme? If Atkinson did one with a less than an optimal cast of characters, don’t we have the right to expect the same from Fiz?
    ( aside to Farfa. I teach a GED course and use your game recaps when I do lessons on figurative language. Yours really resonate with my students and I am happy to help build your brand)

  3. Zanzibar

    Mitch ranks 8th in BPM among all rookies > 500mp in the history of the NBA since 1979. Certain metrics take to certain types of players. Because of this, I think the key comparison here is that he’s ahead of similar players at this stage of their careers (Tyson, Deandre, Capela) according to BPM. Heh, I like how Farfa set the bar at 200+ minutes eliminating Robert Williams (198 MP).

    All this jabber about not maxing KP. I’m ecstatic to have KP and Mitch as future starters. I’d rather have those two instead of Fox/WCS or Allen/LeVert or Markkanen/Wendell or Trae/Collins or Bamba/Isaac or even Tatum/Williams (tough call though). Cheer up.

  4. vincoug

    Reading the piece on Kenny Atkinson implementing quality shooting schemes from the onset of his BK tenure really contrasts with what Fiz is implementing. Do the Knicks even have a scheme? If Atkinson did one with a less than an optimal cast of characters, don’t we have the right to expect the same from Fiz?

    I don’t even understand Fizdale’s argument. Sure, a lot of these players aren’t going to be here in a few years but at least some of them, Ntilikina, Trier, Knox, Robinson, Vonleh, KP, should be. Why would it be a bad thing/waste of time to get these players acclimated to your schemes? It’s absolutely bizarre.

  5. Farfa Post author

    I teach a GED course and use your game recaps when I do lessons on figurative language. Yours really resonate with my students and I am happy to help build your brand

    That’s amazing and I’m very humbled. If there’s a chance I can contribute to the education, even marginally, of anyone with the words I hemorrage on this pages I’m the happiest person in the world. And really, that’s no hyperbole. I take huge pride in helping people like that. I used to be a support teacher when I was much younger (2005-2008), and every day I felt I was making a difference, even if I was earning 1/3 of what I earn now. If I ever win the lottery, I’ll go back doing that job again.

  6. Farfa Post author

    I like how Farfa set the bar at 200+ minutes eliminating Robert Williams (198 MP).

    You got me! At the same time, I do believe Robert Williams’ sample size is significantly smaller that Mitch’s. I arbitrarily chose 200 minutes but if you think about it, 200 is a very reasonable threshold for rookies in half a season. I could have chosen 400 and the results wouldn’t have changed :)

  7. Bo Nateman

    Farfa
    There’s a dearth of texts for urban students, even less that have accessible metaphors and similes. Your references to basketball, really allow my students to understand the comparisons. It is also worth noting that for the past 8 years virtually none of my students are Knick fans. They follow the Warriors and previously the Cavs, apparently driven by star appeal. This is a far cry from my youth where 90% of us were Knick fans.

  8. Z-man

    Der Farfa,
    I absolutely love your recaps!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you for providing them!

    But, let’s see, how can I put this so as not to come off as unappreciative of your amazing commitment to this endeavor…how about: this one was not in my top 20. Is that OK?

    I get the criticism of Fiz on a macro level (questionable offensive schemes, clunky pressers, etc.) but considering that this is an abject rebuild, I can’t get behind micromanaging substitutions and lineups, so long as all the young players get a significant opportunity to play and we stay in the bottom 3 or 4 like we hoped at the season’s start. For example, Lance, Lee and Burke played last night, but who cares? They have all been benched for games on end and we lost anyway, so what’s wrong with throwing them a bone? Mitch played only 17 minutes but who cares? He’s coming off an injury and has played enough for everyone to see that he is a very special player going forward. Frank got his minutes. Knox got his minutes. Trier got his minutes. Kanter sat the bench like he should.

    What I’m trying to say is that this game should not be a referendum on Fiz, and if it is, then he should be viewed positively for his absolute commitment to a tank that goes above and beyond the expectations of most of us. That’s all that matters now. Whether he will be here for the long run or just for the depths of the rebuild is pretty irrelevant right now. What counts is that we are well ahead of what nearly all of us predicted, both in terms of tanking and player development. Respectfully, spewing a 4-paragraph rant about offensive schemes and who plays how many minutes seems unnecessary.

    Sincerely,
    Z-man

  9. Farfa Post author

    Hah,

    I agree Z-Man! It was not a referendum on Fiz. It’s just that there are some games where pretty much nothing noteworthy happens, so my mind is left free to err… And the questions are always the same.

    Sooner or later, we’ll have to consider that Fizdale might be Fisher 2.0 with more charisma. I wish it wasn’t the case, but I was very hopeful about Fizdale’s ability to extract blood from turnips, and as of now he’s not moving the needle in any way.

    I hope I’m wrong. I hope that with KP in tow and better pieces Fiz will be able to coax a competent, watchable offense. As of now, there’s nothing that points to that scenario.

  10. chrisk06811

    My first stop today is to the cable company, to return their stuff…..I’m cutting the cord. So, no more MSG network, 2 1/2 hour depression sessions for me. Just the 10 minute youtube recaps, the box scores, and Farfa’s updates. I’m very sad to say goodbye to Rebecca H, Robert Randolph, that couple who made that stupid knicks cake for their wedding, the family band. Plus I think my liver will thank me.

  11. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    In today’s hyper-surveilled media climate, everyone should have a VPN service. I use PIA because they have excellent terms and speeds. I use my VPN almost all the time (some sites like Craigslist don’t work with one).

    On a completely unrelated note, I believe there are some specialty NBA subreddits with excellent access to game film and full-game highlights. Perhaps use the search function and browse the content.

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

    Yeah, I’m a broken record, but I can’t help myself. The problem is that our management team does not value player productivity correctly. I don’t have a monopoly on being right, but sometimes it’s obvious when a player is a plus or minus on one or both sides of the ball.

    When you take fliers on young players like Mudiay, Hezonja, and Burke….

    When you sign a free agent like Hardaway…

    When you draft a player like Knox over Mikal Bridges…

    When you add a player like Trier…

    When you play a player like Kanter and allow a guy like O’Quinn to walk….

    …you are screaming that you value scorers that can create their own shot by a wide margin over defenders, play makers, ball movers, and guys that do the smaller things that add wins.

    Despite the gross incompetence and loss of a few players I would way rather have than the guys Mills/Perry brought in, we still have a few players that could be good.

    KP, Vonleh, and Dotson are good enough on both sides to keep around.

    Robinson has a chance to be a major score.

    Frank is going to be a very good defender and add value in other areas. We should be patient, keep him, and pray his shot improves.

    Kornett may be viable off the bench.

    Trier has a shot to be good if his basketball IQ improves and he defends better.

    But again, our management is SO BAD at measuring player productivity, they are just as liable to get rid of the decent/good two-way players and add more bad two-way players than the other way around because they value the wrong things.

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

    I should have mentioned Knox in that last post.

    I kinda sorta understand why they took Knox over Bridges. Aside from the fact that he has an abundance of what they like at the expense of other valuable attributes, they probably wanted to swing for the fences instead of going for the single/double with a guy like Bridges.

    I haven’t given up hope on Knox because he’s ridiculously young and does have some natural talent, but IMO, he’s a very bad player right now. Despite the occasional highlight play or big game, he’s bad on both sides of the ball. It’s a LONG trip from where he is now to actually being good.

  14. Z-man

    Strat, I disagree in principle, not with specific cases but with your overall take. First, The only two moves that Mills made on his own are Hardaway (big blunder) and Baker (small blunder). Since then, any argument about who the team brought in is inconclusive on either side.

    First off, the league is all about scoring right now. So it’s hardly a knock to value scoring over defense. Harden and Doncic are two terrible defensive players, yet they are MVP and ROY candidates respectively. Is it wrong to value them over Kahwi and Bamba?

    Second, how can you possibly compare Kanter and O’Quinn? One opted in, the other opted out and took exactly what he could have opted in for to sit the bench on a defensive-oriented winner. If anything, they first valued O’Q over Willy, and now value Mitch and Kornet over Kanter, who they are clearly not going to re-sign at any price specifically because of his poor defense.

    Third, drafting Knox over Mikal is hardly a concession to offense over defense…it’s to youth and upside over a guy with a higher floor and lower ceiling on both ends. It may have been a poor job of player evaluation, but you are mischaracterizing the nature of the choice.

    Fourth, drafting Mitch was strictly a defense over offense move. There were far better offensive-minded options available at that point. Lots of teams passed on Mitch to select players with more offensive upside. We could have done the same.

    Fifth, Trier was undrafted. Getting a player who can even stick on the roster as an undrafted FA is a major score, no matter what his position or skill set. That he looks like a stud on offense and not a complete zero on D should make him totally off limits in terms of criticizing management. If anything, he makes them look brilliant. Moreover, it is likely that both he and Mitch will turn out to be top 15 players in this draft.

  15. Z-man

    Sixth, if you can shake the draft-bust tree and get one Vonleh to fall out of it, it justifies the entire strategy. And he’s another defense-oriented player.

  16. Z-man

    To sum up, it’s hard to judge what this current mgmt team (specifically Perry) thinks about player productivity going forward. At worst, they’re all over the map. At best, they’re reading the league and trying to develop a coherent vision going forward but aren’t there yet. The fact that they are open to trading TH2, benching Kanter and Burke, and not ditching Frank for peanuts suggests that they value 2-way play.

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

    Z-Man,

    I respect what you are saying, but if you can’t see by the pattern of players they bring in (no matter how they were attained, whether they chose to try to keep them or allowed to leave etc..) that they wildly overvalue the ability of a player to create his own shot over defense and other attributes, I don’t know what to say. Perry is doing the same things even if none of the moves was a disaster like Hardaway.

    I agree that offense is important.

    You are probably correct that it’s even more important in the NBA right now than it used to be. However, you have to get players that are actually a net positive in some way on offense.

    Our players all SUCK on offense.

    They score pointz because they can create their own shot and take a lot of them, but none of them is very efficient. They don’t pass at all. They don’t move without the ball well. They are bad offensive players that score pointz on their own.

    The proof is in the results. We have plenty of scorers on this team, but we have a terrible offense. And of course the defense is atrocious except when Fizdale chooses to play the handful of decent defenders we have together.

    If you are going to focus on offense at the expense of defense or no “star offensive players” are available, at least bring in a guy like Doug McDermott. McBuckets is a very limited player and liability on defense, but at least he actually scores efficiently on his low usage, spaces the floor because he can’t be left alone etc.. He has a limited role but he’s good at it. It doesn’t have to be him and it doesn’t have to be a 3 point shooter, but it should be a guy that’s a plus at SOMETHING.

    We aren’t going to get all star players and we aren’t going to get all guys that are terrific on both sides of the ball, but there are good role players and bad role players. We get guys that are bad on both sides of the ball (but they can score pointz).

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

    Sixth, if you can shake the draft-bust tree and get one Vonleh to fall out of it, it justifies the entire strategy. And he’s another defense-oriented player.

    There are smart draft busts to take a shot on and dumb drafts busts to stake a shot on.

    I loved Vonleh from the moment we signed him. He was young, strong, athletic, a solid defender, very good rebounder for a PF, and exactly what we needed next to KP. His only real liability was that he wasn’t a very efficient as a scorer and didn’t space the floor well (less of an issue with KP).

    That’s the kind of guy you take a shot with.

    He was already GOOD at multiple things but was being tossed to the scrap heap for things that young players improve on all the time. It didn’t have to work well, but so far it has. But no matter what, it made sense. Guys like Burke, Hezonja, Mudiay are varying degrees of bad on both sides. To become really good players (not impossible of course) was a massively longer trip than for Vonleh.

  19. Hubert

    Maybe installing a coach you wanted to succeed in a season you had to tank was a bad idea. Seems like it would have been smarter to let Hornacek eat this plate of poop.

    The idea was to have Fiz develop the young guys, but let’s be real: Frank, Knox, Mitch, and Trier are on their own. Fizdale has created an environment where they have to fight to get the ball from more experienced players. That’s arguably the worst developmental strategy you can implement.

  20. swiftandabundant

    ???

    Lee and Lance hardly ever play. Kanter has been glued to the bench. Burke and Hezonja regularly gets DNPs. Fiz has absolutely given ALL the young players plenty of minutes.

  21. Z-man

    Strat, again, you ignore that defensive-minded players like Mitch, Dotson and Vonleh have been getting al the minutes they can handle lately, while offensive-minded players like Kanter, Hez, and Burke have been benched.

  22. Z-man

    Fizdale has created an environment where they have to fight to get the ball from more experienced players. That’s arguably the worst developmental strategy you can implement.

    Whut??? Knox averages 15 FGA per 36. Trier averages 13. Frank averages 11. How many shots do you want them to take???

  23. Owen

    Going back to what someone said last night, it’s pretty frustrating that Kurucs looks so much better than Knox. Knox has gone backwards since his hot stretch to start the month. I am feeling as pessimistic about him again as I was the beginning of the year.

    Frank was victimized by the refs. There were a bunch of cheap fouls called on him. Overall a solid outing and I am glad he fouled out rather than getting benched with four fouls and not getting back into the game.

    Mitch Rob is something. He is just ferocious out there. He follows though on his swat attempts too much, he needs to stay a little more vertical to keep out of foul trouble. Overall though there isn’t a Knick other than Lin for a couple of weeks (ok and DLee) who has excited me this much in 20 years.

  24. nicos

    Am I the only one disappointed in Dotson? To me defensively he seems like Toney Douglas 2.0; a guy who who expends lots of effort without much in the way of results. Some of that (or maybe most of it) has come from playing more three and even a little four but he doesn’t look like anything more than an average defender at best. And the solid rebounding numbers from last year have dropped down to merely average for a two. Offensively he’s a low usage/medium efficiency guy who can’t create for himself or others. He’s got a nice three point stroke but to me he looks like a 9th/10th man on a decent team.

  25. Hubert

    Going back to what someone said last night, it’s pretty frustrating that Kurucs looks so much better than Knox.

    That was me. My nets envy is overwhelming. I really think they will sign Durant, we’ll end up with Barrett, and I’m going to have a tough decision.

  26. TheOakmanCometh

    Fiz’s minutes allocation is mostly acceptable. Frank should get more PT, but considering how bad he is I won’t kill Fiz for giving him 17 minutes instead of 25. Knox plays plenty. Mitch plays for as long as he can stay on the floor (except last night). Kanter is being phased out. Mario has been phased out.

    The biggest issue with his rotation is the insistence on playing THJ 35+ minutes way too often. As a streaky shooter, I guess it makes sense to give him big minutes when he’s hot. But when he’s 2-14 like last night, why the hell is he in there for 39 minutes? In the last 10 games where he’s played 35+ minutes, these are his shooting lines:

    2-14
    6-16
    7-18
    7-12
    4-10
    8-18
    5-12
    6-18
    7-13
    8-22

    That’s 39% shooting, including 31% from 3. It’s not like we don’t have other guards who could use the minutes, either for development or improving their trade value. If Rim Hardaway Jr is clanking shots left and right, get Burke in there. Get Dotson in there. Get Lee in there. Get Mudiay or Frank or Trier in there if they aren’t already.

  27. Hubert

    They have a better version of everything we have. We got a Mudiay, they got a Russell. We got a Knox, they got a kurucs. We’ve got a Michigan guard who sucks and makes $18mm, they’ve got a Michigan guard who is promising and makes $2mm. Even the one thing I love, Mitch, they’ve got a suped up version of him in Allen.

    And most importantly, they have a plan, a philosophy, and smart management.

    I’ll probably end up a knicks fan for life cuz I’m a sucker. But if Durant wants to come to NY and be the man, why the fuck would he prefer us?

  28. Bruno Almeida

    The Nets are currently on a 20-5 run over the last 25, good for best record in the league over the stretch, and they’ve had plenty of injuries here and there. They’re just becoming a pretty good team and at this point there’s honestly no question that they’re in a much better position than we are. Their ceiling might be somewhat limited as no one looks like a real superstar on their roster, but with so many very good role players there’s a good team in there, and if they ever get the superstar or some of the young guys step up, they have a formidable team.

  29. Z-man

    I’m not ready to say that Kurucs is going to be better than Knox. Kurucs is 1.5 years older and is shooting 32% form 3.

    Russell has a $21 mill cap hold next year. What do you do with him?

    Levert is really good but seems very injury-prone.

    BKB is going to pick in the mid to low teens in this draft, and then again in the mid-20’s. We will pick in the top-8.

  30. Z-man

    As a second round pick, it’s hard to be disappointed with Dotson, even if he is only what you said, a 9th/10th man on a good team. He’s still being jerked around, so it’s hard to tell what he really is. At the very least, he’s a decent sweetener in a trade.

  31. The Glass Half Rebuilt

    Guys, we don’t know what deliberate tanking looks like because we’ve never seen it before. We don’t know what Fizdale is coaching the Knicks to do (I can see that we run an option offense and that benching Kanter was specifically because he ruined the offensive sets due to his selfishness and lazy screens), but I’d bet my life savings that Frank Ntilikina is not coaches to dump the ball off every time up the court. Did any of you see Royal Ivey yelling at Frank during a timeout somewhere between the 3rd and 4th quarter? He had just chucked a 3 pointer early in the shot clock after doing nothing in terms of getting into a rhythm offensively. A lot of what we see is surface value stuff, and again, this Knicks team is very bad so we really can’t judge the coaching staff unt they get talent. We can’t even judge them on the development of the players because the sample size is too small. It’s cool to nitpick and proceed with cautious pessimism, but to write off Fizdale as if he’s 2014 Marc Jackson is kinda crazy.

    He’s starting Vonleh and Thomas together in the absence of Kornet because he wants to implement the system he’s going to run in the future, and that’s the speedball offense. I get the impression he’s done trying to see what works (because they suck at everything) and would rather put the system in place that he visions the team running when it’s at its best. I’m okay with all of this, and I’m comfortable with keeping Fizdale for the next 4-5 years at least. I’m pretty sure Nets fans wanted to move on from Kenny Atkinson and 76ers fans wanted to get rid of Brett Brown. Give these guys time.

  32. ptmilo

    @25 i agree with every word. he’s an okay but not great one on one defender and a below average help defender compared to other mediocre 3&D guys like Snell, Holiday and Temple. He has zero chance to be a very good wing defender a la Marcus Smart or Danny Green, but if he shoots 37pct plus from 3 he should stick in the league and could end up in the back row of a good team’s rotation for a year or two.

  33. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    The Nets are currently on a 20-5 run over the last 25

    The endpoints, they are arbitrary — but damn, this is impressive. THE NETS.

  34. Hubert

    but to write off Fizdale as if he’s 2014 Marc Jackson is kinda crazy.

    I think Mark Jackson would rightly take exception to this.

  35. ClashFan

    Fiz is commanding a pretty decent tank platoon. I just wish he’d play the kiddie corps (Knox, Frank, Trier, Robinson) TOGETHER as much as possible. They are getting together some, but Knox languishes mostly with the starters.

  36. DRed

    Mark Jackson’s teams played good defense and had a (dumb) identity on offense. The Knicks have neither. Fizdale at least needs some new assistants or were going to have to fire him if we get some good players someday

  37. d-mar

    What Brooklyn is doing is impressive for sure, but dig a little deeper into that arbitrary 25 games. 4 of those 20 wins have come against above .500 teams. Going forward, they have the 5th hardest schedule in the NBA, with 3 games left against the Bucks and 2 against the Raptors.

    Again, not taking anything away from Brooklyn who are definitely overacheiving, but let’s see how they do over the next 25.

  38. Hubert

    I’m not saying I’d rather have Jackson. For all his off court issues, I wouldn’t. But I think he’s demonstrated he’s a much better coach than Fiz.

  39. Hubert

    Brooklyn would also be a great case in point for the anti tankers. No shortcuts. One trade at a time. Pick up an extra asset here and there. No lotto picks. Good scouting and player development. Get yourself to this point and then leverage your market in free agency.

  40. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    What Brooklyn is doing is impressive for sure, but dig a little deeper into that arbitrary 25 games. 4 of those 20 wins have come against above .500 teams. Going forward, they have the 5th hardest schedule in the NBA, with 3 games left against the Bucks and 2 against the Raptors.

    Currently 23rd in ELO according to 538. I have a hard time seeing them finish 40-42, as their pythag is pretty solid, but the ELO suggests that this “win streak” is fool’s gold.

  41. kevin5318

    Nets need a big FA signing or lucky draft pick to get out of what looks like mediocrity for the next few years. I doubt KD or Kawhi is coming to play with Jarett Allen and Caris Lavert.

  42. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Nets need a big FA signing or lucky draft pick to get out of what looks like mediocrity for the next few years. I doubt KD or Kawhi is coming to play with Jarett Allen and Caris Lavert.

    Jarrett Allen can’t legally drink alcohol yet. LeVert can’t yet rent a car.

  43. kevin5318

    I’m not saying they aren’t good players(they are) but not they’re not big enough names to attract a top flight guy. A KD or Kawhi type of guy would have to find the allure of Brooklyn enough to leave their current teams.

  44. DRed

    The Nets are going to win something like 22 more games than the Knicks this season we’ve got a lot of work to do to get to be that mediocre

  45. Grocer

    Based on how our offense has evolved over the season, I’d guess that Fiz came in not really knowing what any of these guys were capable of doing together (understandable with this group of scrubs) and has been building up a system since them. You can see it outlines of it in the ways the players fail to execute, and the few times it actually works as intended. I don’t think this is the bestest of all possible ways to go about figuring shit out, but it is a little on the crazy side to expect this collection of players to execute an effective offense against any halfway competent NBA team or to be able to prioritize high efficiency shots the way more skilled/experienced squads are.

    Remember that Brooklyn was flipping cap space for picks and youth as hard as they could but they were not tanking because they didn’t have any picks worth tanking for. I’m not sure that in the worse seasons of their rebuild they ever had a roster as bad as ours is. It is not at all surprising that their offense looked better then than ours does now.

    I think if you want to grade how well Fiz has done this year (in terms of the offense we’re running) you really need to be able to answer questions like: is shot selection generally improving over time? Are plays being executed according to design more frequently?

  46. Bruno Almeida

    I mean, obviously it’s arbitrary, they went 4-18 before that I think, but it’s still an impressive sequence. Decent teams beat bad teams, and that’s what the Nets did during this stretch.

    I think they’ll finish around the 7th or 8th seed this year, and with their roster there was no point in full tanking since they would never be as bad as it’s necessary to have a chance at Zion. With how many young players they have, there’s no point in tanking for a chance at a guy like Reddish or Kevin Porter Jr.

  47. DRed

    For the season we’re 25 in the NBA in offense; over our last 15 games were 29th. That’s a crude measure (Timmy might be hurt, we’re not playing kanter etc) but it’s not great

  48. Grocer

    For the season we’re 25 in the NBA in offense; over our last 15 games were 29th. That’s a crude measure (Timmy might be hurt, we’re not playing kanter etc) but it’s not great

    I think all the measures of this sort of thing are gonna be pretty rough, but that is definitely the wrong direction. I wish I had the Excel skills to take the Knicks’ BR game logs and turn them into 5-game average charts.

  49. Owen

    Big night for Jahlil Okafor in a loss against the Spurs: 24 points on 10-12 and 4-5 with 15 boards, no turnovers, 3 blocks, and I presume the usual horrific defense. Still, I can’t remember him turning in that kind of performance in his first couple of seasons.

    Maybe Anthony Bennett will have a revival of sorts too….

  50. Brian Cronin

    Part of it is likely him just working harder, but also there’s that thing that I mentioned before about Faried. Okafor can work in one specific role and that role only. If he’s not in that role, he’s useless and there are other players who are better than him in that role. So it’s such a narrow road in which he is useful. The NBA essentially had a revolution during his rookie season that made him utterly useless in most scenarios.

  51. Bruno Almeida

    Yeah, he really can score inside, but he’s in that middle ground where he can’t shoot 3s, but also can’t really defend or finish lobs / work effectively on the pick and roll as a rim running center. It’s a shame for the guy, as he would be paid huge money in the 90s, but there’s simply no place in the league anymore for a Center who can’t shoot 3s, rebound or block shots.

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

    The clue was “Calder Cup org.”

  53. Brian Cronin

    I think that the Bucks can do better. Where would Maker even fit here? The only real Knicks who seem to have an actual future (outside of Trier) are frontcourt players.

  54. Farfa Post author

    Isn’t Maker essentially a double Kornet? I mean, we could let Luke walk if Maker is good enough (just throwing random ideas around)

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