Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

New York Knicks 99 – Indiana Pacers 110 – Game Recap

I had a fever, and the prescription was more zone defense.

A decent loss, nothing to write home about, a game where the Knicks were pretty much always in the mix but couldn’t pull it off when they needed to (not that it mattered, after the win against Charlotte we are in dire need of quality losses – even if I’m not sure if this counts as one). The main new wrinkle in Fiz’s gameplan is a zone defense, which I am partial to, what with being European and all.

My coach used to call the zone “the homeless man defense”, which was accurate in describing how usually – at least in Europe – zone is the last weapon deployed by teams that are simultaneously terrible but scrappy as hell. Problem is, these Knicks aren’t really scrappy. Some of them surely are, but some others are incredibly lackadaisical in terms of effort and willingness to work on the defensive end.

All of this is to say that I’m ok employing some sort of zone defense here and there, because it effectively minimizes the defensive problems of some guys (especially Mudiay), but you can’t throw a zone while playing Kanter and Knox. Kanter just makes me angry on defense. He’s completely uninterested in anything that happens more than a foot from him, so much that opposing players routinely are open under the rim because Enes didn’t care about his area of the zone, but only the small circle around him. It’s like he’s wearing a cloak of invisibility with reverted effects: he can’t see outside of its circle of effect. Knox, on the other hand, looks like he’s trying, but can’t understand for his life where he’s supposed to be and leaves open the corner man over and over again, which is one of the biggest no-no in a 2-3 zone. I won’t delve into details about how Hezonja plays zone defense, because honestly I’m not a coroner.

Anyway, it was good to know that we weren’t able to pull a win out of this mediocre game, zone or no zone. I just got incredibly bored watching this game.

The good:

– Uh, nothing really good here. Emmanuel Mudiay (18 pts, 1 reb, 6 ast, -2 +/-) played a semi-productive game. He’s really learning a bit how to use his big body to take advantage of smaller defenders, which isn’t bad. I don’t like his shot distribution that much – still too many midrange jumpers – but if you can shoot almost always with a completely clear visual because you’re 3 inches taller than your defender, they’re not necessarily bad shots. Or better: they are, but not compared to his three pointers, which looks more and more like a ditched Mortal Kombat choreography for Johnny Cage. Nonetheless, Darren Collison had the absurd idea to foul him on a three point attempt. What’s amazing is that Mudiay hitting just one of the three free throws awarded to him was a statistically equal outcome than letting him shoot, since his 3P% for the season is exactly .333. At some point in the fourth he opted for a thunderous fastbreak dunk attempt that collided with the rim before bouncing around midcourt. I like the fact that he tried to dunk the ball, I don’t like the fact that he thought he was (last season’s) Donovan Mitchell.

The bad:

– Look, I get that we were undermanned. I get that we couldn’t possibly have done without Trey Burke (3 pts, 4 rebs, 3 ast, -2 +/-) tonight. Actually, scratch that. I don’t want to know anything about that. Giving minutes to Burke and Frank (3 pts, 2 rebs, 4 ast, -11 +/-)  at the same time is quite pointless. Burke just returned from a mild knee injury, and tonight kept of bricking everything in sight, hitting just one of seven attempts from the field. The main problem, though, is that as soon as Trey gets the ball and Frank is on the court with him every semblance of offense gets thrown out of the window. I don’t want to rehash the whole “Frank is/is not a PG”, because as of now everyone has his answer, and pretty much every answer tends towards “no”; anyway, I feel like I have to make a remark about the fact that if you don’t give the ball to Frank with full license to operate – which means: if you give the ball to someone, if he isn’t open you’ll get the rock back – you have to teach him to move around, screen for others, cut backdoor and so on. If you play Frank with Trey (or Timmy, for that matter), you’re condemning him to never develop. That’s as much on Frank as it is on the coaching staff: the difference, though, is that the coaching staff is paid to think of ways to get the most out of Frank, and there were some hints that letting him work with the ball was the beginning of something. If Trey has to play, I wish it was with THJ and not with Frank. Frank tends to defer too much to guys who like to handle the rock and shoot contested pullups night after night. I liked it better with Trey out (sidenote: Frank defends very well even in the zone. He’s just a natural on that side of the court).

– Boy, the last time I saw something as rusty as Courtney Lee (7 pts, 1 reb, 1 ast, -12 +/-) it was a nail used to hang a painting in the house where my grandma was born in 1925. Lee’s game is just screaming “tetanus”: if you look at him closely, especially when doing his familiar “pump fake an invisible defender, dribble inside the arc, shoot a semi-contested 19-footer” routine, there’s a 3% chance you’ll fall down struck by some mysterious illness. I’m still not convinced that wasn’t what kept me in the bed all weekend trying to recover from that nasty fever – without other symptoms! Anyway, if that’s how we’re showcasing him, the trade-Lee-boat has long sailed away. Everybody on cue… Thanks, Phil!

Paracetamol tablets-size bits:

Do you know that if you take two 500 mg Paracetamol tablets, it becomes a full gram of Paracetamol? You might not believe it, but this is the word-for-word translation of the incipit of one of the top Italian radio hits of 2018. I hate it, I hate the music, the words and the way the singer (Calcutta) delivers them. Nevertheless, I hated this game more. It felt like wasting two hours of my time. Then again, I couldn’t sleep, so maybe it wasn’t a complete waste of time. But on the other hand I could have watched two episodes of whatever TV series of choice.

– Enes Kanter’s numbers are so easy on the eyes that it’s hard to believe he’s hurting the team so much. I don’t like seeing him play, but I know I can count on him to (not) anchor one of the worst defense in the League. One of the emptiest 20/15 games I’ve ever seen. In the fourth Thaddeus Young stripped the ball off him in the post out of a double and he didn’t even try one bit to resist it. Everytime something like that happens, it comes to my mind that this guy wanted to make the All-Star team, and I feel like his name should be changed into Cognitive Dissonance Kanter.

– You know who’s hurting this team’s development the most? THJ, that’s who. If you look past his PPG numbers, his season is turning into a major disappointment. He’s posting career-second-worst numbers in WS/48 and TS%, all the while employing the worst shot selection this side of Trey Burke and never trying to break the opposing defense to find easy shots for his teammates. He’s horribly miscast as a first option, not only because he’s not that kind of talent, but most of all because he makes everyone worse around him. If we could ship him away for Jabari Parker, I’d do it now. Chicago could also keep Rebecca Haarlow and Wally Szczerbiak, for all I care.

– December Kevin Knox is a glimmer of hope: 16.5 PPG on 41/40/54 splits (terrible FT%), with 6.3 RPG, 2 APG and 1.3 stocks per game. He doesn’t look that lost anymore. I feel like his ceiling is a poor man’s Chandler Parsons. It’s not good, but it’s much better than I thought a few weeks ago.

– Vonleh couldn’t hit the broad side of the barn tonight (3-for-10 from the field, 1-for-5 from three), but I still love his game. 12 boards, 3 assists, no turnovers. He’s not terrible when defending in the zone. It’s enough for keeping on dubbing him this season’s MVP for the Bockers.

– Kornet should play a bit more, especially with Mitch out. He can’t jump over an envelope (cit. Fizdale), but knows where he should be in a zone defense and he’s not afraid to let if fly.

– I don’t know what more to say about Mario. I’ll just say that “Hezonja” would net you a boatload of points playing Scrabble.

– Breen and Clyde bring their best even in games like this. I loved their bit about burgers. Also, I can’t think of a better example than Clyde about the benefit of a mostly no-meat diet. Dude’s 73 and he’s fresher than me.

Tomorrow we have a back-to-back against Phoenix. Is it too much to hope for a quality loss? Is any loss a quality loss with Mitch, Dotson and Trier sidelined?

 

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

85 comments on “New York Knicks 99 – Indiana Pacers 110 – Game Recap

  1. Owen

    Good cap. Coroner and tetanus in one post. I like it.

    I only watched bits of the last quarter but my major takeaway was how enjoyable it was to watch the Pacers play defense. They really put the clamps on.

  2. Brian Cronin

    That comment by Dolan was infuriating, as it seems almost purely designed to troll Knick fans. It was essentially, “People have talked $5 billion, but who knows?” Come on, that isn’t a dude seriously planning to ever sell.

  3. TheOakmanCometh

    Sigh. You’re probably right. But you can’t blame a guy for dreaming.

    Think of it like overpaying a bunch of of CAA clients in order to have your shitty blues band open for the Eagles. If you’re powerless to achieve your dream the right way, just throw a bunch of money at the problem to get what you want!

  4. Bruno Almeida

    The entire O’Connor was infuriating to be honest. His comments about the Browne Sanders situation, about Trump, about Weinstein…

  5. Hubert

    I’d always been of the opinion that even if he failed to live up to his promise of last year, Trey Burke was useful going forward because of his low cap hold. I’m no longer sure that $2.3 million is even good value for him. We might be better off just renouncing him.

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

    I know I’m going to get flak for this, but I don’t want Dolan to sell the team. There are many worse owners out there and we could easily get someone worse. He has made many bad decisions in the past, but now he’s hired competent msnagement, has been hands off, and he never complains about spending. Suppose we had an owner who was like, “don’t waive Baker, you’ll waste the money we spent on him, so don’t give Trier a contract, just leave him on two way contract”. That would be worse.

  7. alsep73

    A note on Trey Burke: of 43 players w/ > 25 USG, his 50.3 TS% ranks 39th.

    He’s a rhythm player. A developing team can’t afford to let him dominate the offense to get into that rhythm.

    Jonathan Macri is about the most glass half-full Knicks fan out there, and even he wants to dump Burke. It’s time.

  8. d-mar

    There are so many possessions where Frank brings the ball up, a big comes up to set a screen (sometimes) Frank dribbles around the screen, picks up his dribble, and passes to another player standing outside the 3 point line. So 7-8 seconds of the shot clock wasted.

    Opposing guards must love guarding Frank, they know he’s not going to try to score and rarely puts up a 3 pointer unless he’s totally wide open.

    Unfortunately, the alternative playing Frank at SG means he’ll wander around the 3 point line waiting for a pass, which won’t come as long as TH Jr. is on the floor.

  9. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    I know I’m going to get flak for this, but I don’t want Dolan to sell the team. There are many worse owners out there and we could easily get someone worse.

    …….. are you serious

  10. Brian Cronin

    I know I’m going to get flak for this, but I don’t want Dolan to sell the team. There are many worse owners out there and we could easily get someone worse. He has made many bad decisions in the past, but now he’s hired competent msnagement, has been hands off, and he never complains about spending. Suppose we had an owner who was like, “don’t waive Baker, you’ll waste the money we spent on him, so don’t give Trier a contract, just leave him on two way contract”. That would be worse.

    No one is going to spend $5 billion on the New York Knicks to then pinch pennies. It’s not a realistic concern. It’s like being worried that whoever buys the Knicks will take the games off of television. “Who knows what could happen? Better to stick with the current horrible piece of shit owner.”

  11. Brian Cronin

    The entire O’Connor was infuriating to be honest. His comments about the Browne Sanders situation, about Trump, about Weinstein…

    It’s one of those things where the guy is really much better off just never saying anything, as he doesn’t have anything worth saying. Everything he says just confirms every negative thing we’ve ever thought of him. He’s a despicable piece of shit. Who in the fuck thought it was a good idea to try to release a “let’s humanize James Dolan” piece and then have James Dolan be James Dolan throughout the piece, which, in turns, doesn’t help humanize him at all?

  12. Hubert

    There are many worse owners out there and we could easily get someone worse.

    There are definitely worse owners out there (Jay Sarver comes to mind immediately). I don’t know that there are “many”. If Dolan sells, the odds are in our favor.

    but now he’s hired competent msnagement

    This remains to be seen. He’s put a lot of faith in Steve Mills. Again.

  13. Stratomatic "If the Knicks trade Frank I'm out"

    I want to move Burke, but not because of the way he’s been playing this year (I especially don’t care about last night’s game off an injury layoff). Burke is a negative defender and he’s simply not good enough on offense to offset that negative. At his age, I don’t see the upside to taking minutes away from Frank’s development. To me the battle was between Mudiay and Burke to see who stays with Frank. Mudiay won. It should be Mudiay and Frank from here. We have to find out if Mudiay can sustain this level on offense and improve his defense and we have to keep developing Frank. Burke should be traded for whatever they can get or be used as a sweetener to move a contract if someone wants him.

  14. Brian Cronin

    There are definitely worse owners out there (Jay Sarver comes to mind immediately). I don’t know that there are “many”. If Dolan sells, the odds are in our favor.

    Especially since franchise values boomed in the last decade or so. Nowadays, new ownership is typically a good thing. There are the exceptions, of course, but in general, people who are spending a ton of money to buy a basketball team tend to be better about running them than people who bought in when teams were much cheaper (people like Robert Sarver, for instance, who bought the Suns for $400 million. He could easily get $2 billion today). The guy in Houston does seem to be a knob, though, which is weird. But that team went for way less than the Knicks would, so I’m not as concerned about a similar result here.

  15. Stratomatic "If the Knicks trade Frank I'm out"

    Unfortunately, the alternative playing Frank at SG means he’ll wander around the 3 point line waiting for a pass, which won’t come as long as TH Jr. is on the floor.

    It’s my latest pipe dream, but I really want to move TH Jr for an expiring contract.

    That frees up more cap space than moving Lee (which could be helpful keeping other players) and opens the door for Trier at SG. Trier will probably be as good or better than Hardaway eventually anyway.

    If they move Burke also that gives minutes to Frank as backup PG and to even play with Mudiay at SG.

    Even if they have to keep Lee another year, he’ll be an expiring next year. He’s such a good soldier he’ll be comfortable getting backup minutes. To be honest, I’m not so sure Lee is an inferior player to Hardaway anyway. He could never carry the offensive load like Hardaway does, but once KP is back, and Knox settles into his chucking rhythm, we’ll have enough scoring with Trier and Mudiay also. Lee also fits with some free agents as a much better floor spacer for them.

    Who would take Hardaway and how could we sweeten it to help it along?

  16. thenoblefacehumper

    I’ll take my chances with anyone who isn’t Dolan, but the Steinbrenner kids are a cautionary tale of sorts.

    As BC mentioned though their family bought the Yankees for relative pennies. It’s unlikely someone would buy a team in this day and age with the idea that they’re going to make gobs of money on the deal. Tim Fertitta (net worth $4.7 billion) sure seems like an asshole though.

  17. Farfa Post author

    Who would take Hardaway and how could we sweeten it to help it along?

    It really depends on what you want to do next year. I still think that Houston could be one of those interested in one between THJ and Lee (they are interested in JR Smith, for fuck’s sake). If you decide you don’t want to pursue any significant free agent next year (not saying it’s the smartest choice to make, but honestly, why should any of the K’s want to sign here?) you could flip THJ for Brandon Knight and some assets.

    If Detroit wants to empower its starting five, Hardaway + Burke for Galloway, Glenn Robinson III (team option for next year) and Ish Smith could work.

    The Pels could send us E’Twaun Moore, Wesley Johnson and a second round pick for Hardaway and Burke.

    There are possible suitors. Thing is, we should be calling them at all hours, and I simply don’t see it. They’re probably gonna die on the THJ hill.

  18. Hubert

    To me the battle was between Mudiay and Burke to see who stays with Frank. Mudiay won.

    You can only think this if you think recent performance matters more.

    During their total tenure with the Knicks, Burke has been better than Mudiay. Burke’s unsustainable play occurred last season and Mudiay’s is occurring now. Burke’s level was slightly above average. Mudiay’s level is average. Burke’s floor is significantly higher than Mudiay’s floor, which is underneath the floor.

    Either player would be a terrible investment on a multi year deal. We’d be better served finding a backup PG in the second round or using the vet minimum.

  19. Farfa Post author

    PER sucks all kinds of ass, but amazingly Burke’s PER this season is higher than Mudiay’s.

    This tells you all you need to know about PER and about them.

  20. thenoblefacehumper

    Could be wrong, hope I’m wrong, etc. but I don’t think we can move Chuck without significant sweetener. Like Noah and Lee before him, the contract made no sense for us and was destined to be an albatross before the ink was dry. And that trade kicker…ugh.

    He really makes a ton of money for someone who does not excel at any individual aspect of NBA basketball. He wouldn’t even improve the 3PT shooting of most teams.

  21. Jack Bauer

    Dolan selling the Knicks is up there with Durant or Kawhi signing in NY next summer – dream on

    It won’t happen because we haven’t suffered enough yet

  22. Farfa Post author

    Could be wrong, hope I’m wrong, etc. but I don’t think we can move Chuck without significant sweetener

    I don’t think you’re wrong. I think we would have to be persistent and shrewd not to, exploiting immediate needs of desperate teams (again, Pels and Rockets come to mind).

    Perry and Mills, though, look like the guys who go to the county fair and instead of actively buying something just grab a bunch of free samples, but just before the exit buy the 40$ useless cooking pot just because a seller was able to convince them that going away with nothing would have been a waste of a day.

    To deal THJ without sweeteners you’d need to blow your phones multiple times in the next month. We’ll end up trading Hezonja for Dragan Bender or something like that.

  23. Stratomatic "If the Knicks trade Frank I'm out"

    You can only think this if you think recent performance matters more.

    During their total tenure with the Knicks, Burke has been better than Mudiay. Burke’s unsustainable play occurred last season and Mudiay’s is occurring now. Burke’s level was slightly above average. Mudiay’s level is average. Burke’s floor is significantly higher than Mudiay’s floor, which is underneath the floor.

    Either player would be a terrible investment on a multi year deal. We’d be better served finding a backup PG in the second round or using the vet minimum.

    I don’t agree with much of this.

    I agree that Mudiay was the much worse player coming into the season.

    I agree that we don’t know if Mudiay’s current play is sustainable.

    But overall they are not the same. Mudiay is a lot younger, lost a year of his development in China, has been inching forward as a player all along (albeit from low level), and was out out of shape last year. The chances that he legitimately getting better are reasonable.

    We know what Burke is at this point. He’s a decent backup than can light it up once in awhile but he’s never going to be a starter and he can’t defend. I wouldn’t mind having him as cheap backup

    IMO, the most likely scenario for Mudiay this year is that he doesn’t sustain what he’s doing right now, but he doesn’t drop all the way back to “bad” Mudiay. However, once he settles in at what I would call his “current intrinsic level” he continues to improve for a few more years.

  24. Hubert

    Who would take Hardaway and how could we sweeten it to help it along?

    Plan A would be to win the lottery and use our pick on an elite prospect, but if our pick lands in a suboptimal position I’m becoming a fan of pivoting and trading it to unload Timmy and Lee.

    I’m going to outline the strategy without examples to avoid petty arguments about player valuations. But there’s a point in the draft where you’re not getting an elite prospect. This point is subjective. For some it might be the fourth pick, for some it might be the 6th. Regardless, there is definitely a point where we’re looking at Knox/Ntilikina level prospects instead of real blue chippers, and that’s where I’d pivot and use the pick as a valuable trade chip.

    Option A: acquiring a player via trade

    – trade Timmy, Lance, and our 2019 lottery pick for a player and either a future 1st or multiple 2nds. As long as you renounce Burke, Mudiay, Kanter, and Vonleh, you can acquire any player in the league who makes up to $28mm ($29.5 if you dump Dotson) and still have enough room to offer Durant the max. Considering you’re dumping Hardaway in the deal, I doubt you can get an elite player like Lillard, but the math works. Then you can use the room on Vonleh to bring him back. And with the future picks acquired, we can afford to use a sweetener to dump Lee.

    Option B: trading into space

    – You could also ignore acquiring the player and just trade Hardaway and the pick to a team with cap space for the future picks. Then you’d have enough cap space to sign Durant and offer another free agent $29.5 million. This might work on some of the 8 year free agents if they wanted to play the long game and sign a two year deal with a player option so they can opt out and get the 10 year player max asap.

  25. Hubert

    Generally speaking, I’d prefer rebuilding through the draft and would be reluctant to trade a lottery pick. But I don’t want to end up with Cam Reddish, a team that is saddled with Hardaway and Lee, and $25 million in cap space that would inevitably be wasted on Emmanuel Mudiay and some other bullshit reclamation projects. Factor in Porzingis at north of $30mm, and we’d probably never have the chance to sign another max player until 2022.

    If we don’t luck into a high draft pick, I’d rather go this route. Porzingis, plus a solid NBA player in the ~$25mm range, plus Frank, Knox, Trier, Robinson, Vonleh should make us appealing enough to a max player.

  26. Brian Cronin

    I don’t disagree, Hubert, but it’s all really relying on Durant being a realistic target. If he is, then yeah, suddenly “Win now” moves make a ton of sense (like the Cavs trading their #1 pick for Kevin Love).

  27. TheOakmanCometh

    Didn’t realize Dolan was at war with the FAN

    Maggie Gray is probably an alcoholic. She really needs to get some help. WFAN VP of programming Mark Chernoff is also most likely an alcoholic, as is WFAN executive producer Bob Gelb. All alcoholics. You can just tell. I hope they all get help.

  28. Stratomatic "If the Knicks trade Frank I'm out"

    Whatever pick we get it’s going to be better than we deserve on the merits of our team because KP is out.

    Personally, I would be happiest if Knox/Frank/Trier/Robinson etc.. broke out a bit, KP came back in January and looked great after 10 games of rust, and we won a bunch of games late in the season. We might not get a top 4 pick and a shot at a superstar 3-5 years from now, but if the rest of our young players aren’t any good we are still a million miles away and less likely to attract anyone really good with cap space.

  29. Ingmarrrr

    During their total tenure with the Knicks, Burke has been better than Mudiay. Burke’s unsustainable play occurred last season and Mudiay’s is occurring now. Burke’s level was slightly above average. Mudiay’s level is average. Burke’s floor is significantly higher than Mudiay’s floor, which is underneath the floor.

    Either player would be a terrible investment on a multi year deal.

    +1

  30. Hubert

    Absolutely, Brian. And to be clear, I’d make the pick, take the best player available, and only execute this when a max free agent tells me to go ahead.

    The key is who the non max player you acquire is. If you bring in Kemba at $29.5 mil, or acquire a top shooting guard via trade to replace Timmy and Lee, I think we’d become incredibly attractive to all the max free agents.

    As shit as we look now, most of these guys are our future bench and supporting cast. If you add Porzingis and all-star-caliber player to this group, it’s a lot easier to envision a max free agent being eager to join the Knicks.

  31. Brian Cronin

    Even the cover photo for Dolan’s interview makes him look incredibly smug. How do his associates go through life without punching him in the face every day?

    http://www.espn.com/espn/feature/story/_/id/25519902/james-dolan-unplugged

    Right? I was going to ask “How does this guy even exist?” and then I realized that an even grosser version of Dolan is currently the President of the United States, so, well, I guess people don’t hate piece of shit rich guys as much as you would think.

  32. Brian Cronin

    The key is who the non max player you acquire is. If you bring in Kemba at $29.5 mil, or acquire a top shooting guard via trade to replace Timmy and Lee, I think we’d become incredibly attractive to all the max free agents.

    As shit as we look now, most of these guys are our future bench and supporting cast. If you add Porzingis and all-star-caliber player to this group, it’s a lot easier to envision a max free agent being eager to join the Knicks.

    Easier, definitely.

    I just don’t know how easy. I think we’re more likely looking at them not trading THJ and then maxing out Kemba (and then basically being all in on Kemba/KP/THJ/Knox/2019 pick as the core of their team for the next few years), but it all depends on Durant. If that crazy fucker really wants to come here, it won’t be based on logic, so it can’t really be accurately predicted. It will happen because he feels like it happening.

  33. Stratomatic "If the Knicks trade Frank I'm out"

    Either player would be a terrible investment on a multi year deal.

    I’m not sure how it’s possible to conclude that both Burke or Mudiay would be a terrible long term investment when we aren’t even half way though the season, have no idea what else is going to shake out, and have no idea what the deal is we’d have to consider.

    I’ll take either one of them as a backup at the right price as soon as I know what the “right price is” and if they are willing to accept it.

    What I don’t want is both of them because that just takes minutes away from Frank and neither is likely to be worth that trade-off (definitely not Burke because he’s older and will never be a defender).

  34. Stratomatic "If the Knicks trade Frank I'm out"

    I think we’re more likely looking at them not trading THJ and then maxing out Kemba (and then basically being all in on Kemba/KP/THJ/Knox/2019 pick as the core of their team for the next few years)

    That’s definitely a Mills/Perry team.

    A bunch of athletic guys that can create their own shot and score combined with a few years of giving lip service to playing better defense. If that’s the team KP has to look forward to next year, he better be in really good shape because he’s going to be very active in the paint and on help defense.

  35. Hubert

    I think we’re more likely looking at them not trading THJ and then maxing out Kemba (and then basically being all in on Kemba/KP/THJ/Knox/2019 pick as the core of their team for the next few years)

    I think we’re most likely looking at Kemba, Kyrie, and Durant taking the money with their current teams and Kawhi going to LA (either team). In which case we’re going all in with a big three of Emmanuel Mudiay, Tim Hardaway, and Kristaps Porzingis making over $60mm a year combined (after we max out KP and give Mudiay 4 years, $48 million, with the last year being a player option, of course).

    And I’m an optimist!

  36. Brian Cronin

    If we’re unable to dump Timmy and Lee, I think we’re most likely looking at Kemba, Kyrie, and Durant taking the money with their current teams 

    I can’t say that that is unlikely, sadly.

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

    @41

    Look on the bright side, we’ll be getting lottery picks for years. :-)

  38. Brian Cronin

    From the Ringer trade season article:

    Enes Kanter’s $27.9 million cap hold will have to be renounced, so I wonder whether the Knicks will consider trading him ahead of the deadline.

    How was that something written by a professional basketball writer?

    I have expected it to follow with, “Courtney Lee will make $13 million next year. It could possibly help the Knicks to get rid of that contract.”

  39. Hubert

    You must have stopped reading, Brian. Because also in that enlightening article:

    The way to free up enough money to sign a superstar is to trade Courtney Lee (owed $12.8 million in 2019-20) or Tim Hardaway Jr. (owed up to $19 million through 2020-21 with a 15 percent trade kicker), but that might not be easy given their diminished values.

    Really good stuff.

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

    If you know you can get Irving, Durant, or Leonard, the right move is to go ahead and give up a protected future 1st round pick to get rid of Hardaway if you absolutely have to. All those guys are going to want at least a few experienced players on the team if they are borderline crazy enough to consider coming to NY to play with KP, Frank, Knox, Robinson, and our 2019 pick.

    Moving Hardaway gets you extra space next year, Lee comes off the following year for free, and Lee fits better with any of them if you have to keep him because he creates space via his 3p shooting. He also has a higher basketball IQ and is more experienced.

    But those guys coming is pipe dream #1 and Mills/Perry paying to move Hardaway is pipe dream #2 after already admitting Baker was an overpay. If they pay to move anyone it will be Lee because then they can blame Phil even though moving Hardaway is the superior basketball move and worse contract.

  41. TheOakmanCometh

    The way to free up enough money to sign a superstar is to trade Courtney Lee (owed $12.8 million in 2019-20) or Tim Hardaway Jr. (owed up to $19 million through 2020-21 with a 15 percent trade kicker), but that might not be easy given their diminished values.

    Given this new information, I am willing to lower my asking price for THJ from 6 first round picks to 4.

  42. swiftandabundant

    Mudiay is still younger than Trier. I get not being fooled by his recent performance but when he was drafted in 2016, he and KP were deemed the rawest talents that needed the most development. KP turned out to be farther along than people thought but Mudiay was handed the keys to Denver as a ROOKIE and of course performed horribly. Then Denver drafted some other guards who were further along than him and his development kind of got pushed to the back burner by Denver.

    So if this was Mudiay’s rookie year and he was undrafted like Trier (or even not a lottery pick) and he was putting up the same numbers and was a year younger than Trier, I feel like a lot of the doubting Thomases on this blog would be very excited about him.

    Past performance does matter. But so does age. Burke probably won’t get better but Mudiay can get better or at least stay where he is now. Why are people so sure he can’t sustain this or even improve when he’s only 22?

  43. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Why are people so sure he can’t sustain this or even improve when he’s only 22?

    They’re not sure, which is why the reasonable people here don’t want to sign him for more than the MLE, if that. Why are you so sure he can?

  44. thenoblefacehumper

    It always pains me to think about how if we just didn’t do our “shooting yourself in the foot with a rocket launcher” level stupid moves of the past few years, we’d have one of the more enviable situations in the league.

    Seriously, if this team just didn’t have Lee, Noah, and THJ on the books it would be no different from a talent/asset perspective, and would have a 10+ max slot and close enough to a 7-9 year max slot that minor moves could open one up.

    I know this is an annoying thing to complain about because we can’t do shit about it now, but I guess what really bothers me is this wouldn’t have even required particularly smart management! Read one article on the win curve and you probably could have figured this all out. Not being idiots can get you pretty far in the NBA.

  45. Hubert

    Why are people so sure he can’t sustain this or even improve when he’s only 22?

    One thing everyone seems to be saying about Mudiay (and Mike Breen was the latest to talk about it during the Pacers game) is that improved conditioning is a significant contributor to him not being shitty this year. Other stories include him taking wind sprints with kevin knox after practice every day, something he wasn’t doing last year or with Denver.

    I can’t say for certain that he’ll stop doing wind sprints after he gets a guaranteed contract, but smart money is on him falling out of shape as soon as the ink dries.

  46. Early Bird

    @48, someone also mentioned that the improvement from Mudiay is mostly due to shooting better from midrange, a rate that’s unsustainably high. Without that hes closer to a .500TS%. I pass on those players.

  47. thenoblefacehumper

    So if this was Mudiay’s rookie year and he was undrafted like Trier (or even not a lottery pick) and he was putting up the same numbers and was a year younger than Trier, I feel like a lot of the doubting Thomases on this blog would be very excited about him.

    I guess I’ll just keep pointing this out–if this was Mudiay’s rookie year we’d have him signed for three more seasons at a controlled amount of money. So yes, people would feel differently about him and his future with the team. Instead, he’s going to be renounced as a free agent at the first possible second.

    He’ll either walk having cost us at least a second round pick and possibly a better first round pick due to his improvement to borderline mediocrity, or we’ll re-sign Emmanuel Mudiay to a multi-year deal. Does either outcome really sound good to anyone?

    I don’t see how anyone could defend this front office’s approach when it comes to Mudiay. From giving up what turned into a valuable pick to acquire him to playing him all the damn time in a development year it’s been one big fuck up from start to finish.

  48. swiftandabundant

    I’m not sure.

    I also wasn’t sure that Steph Curry would ever stay healthy enough with his ankles to be a good player but he did.

    Life and the NBA are full of uncertainities. Stats cannot predict the future even if you wish they really could. If he was 25 then I would get being more skeptical but he’s 22. He’s very young!

    Yes, we should do everything we can to take uncertainity out of the equation when signing players. But there is always going to be uncertainity with young players.

    I also would not want to pay him that much more but I think he can be had for that.

    If Frank won a game scoring 36 points and dishing out 8 assists and being clutch as fuck, this blog would lose its collective mind. I get the cap hold situation and he wasn’t drafted by us, but the mudiay hate is way overblown sometimes. He struggle and now he’s putting it together. Happens ALL The time in basketball. And what is the point of taking flyers on reclamation projects if we don’t then take the risk or resining him. And everyone seems so sure Vonleh will keep it up but not mudiay. People are playing favorites.

  49. swiftandabundant

    REsining mudiay to a multi year deal sounds fine to me as long as its not a big overpay. what that number is, is debatable. But the point is to build a good basketball TEAM and if Muiday proves he can be a part of that, its a good thing.

  50. The Glass Half Rebuilt

    Before Emmanuel Mudiay’s brief stint under Hornacek, his TS% was trending upwards. He went from .437, to .473, to .504 in Denver before a terrible .428 as the tank commander for Hornacek, and now he’s got it up to .550 so far this season. He’s also turning the ball over less and shooting 3s at a respectable enough rate. I think, if you look at the whole body of work and take into account that he wasn’t in shape to be a starter due to his decreased role in Denver, you see a player who is improving at a normal enough rate. The only thing is that improving at a normal rate gets you from league worst point guard to below average starter. He’s young enough that he could get to be the 6’5” Ray Felton, and that’s not a bad 5th starter. It all depends on the money. I’d offer him nothing more than 3 years, 21M with the 3rd year being a team option. If he thinks he can do better than that, then let him walk.

    And it definitely sucks that we’re paying Lee, Noah, and TH2. I held out hope he would at least a Beal level talent, and for a little while this season he was putting up comparable numbers at a 33% discount. Now he’s just a guy getting exposed in pick and roll action and taking 7 more shots a night than he ought to.

  51. thenoblefacehumper

    REsining mudiay to a multi year deal sounds fine to me as long as its not a big overpay. what that number is, is debatable. But the point is to build a good basketball TEAM and if Muiday proves he can be a part of that, its a good thing.

    Mudiay, who is shooting .548 from 16<3 (career .358), .488 from 10-16 (career .338), and .464 from 3-10 (career .323) has managed to amass a 0.66 WS48 and -0.9 BPM so far this year. In other words, every number listed is extremely likely to come down

    Sure the latter two figures are both career highs, but what might that tell you about the guy you want to sign to a multi-year deal?

  52. Hubert

    If Frank won a game scoring 36 points and dishing out 8 assists and being clutch as fuck, this blog would lose its collective mind.

    If it happened tonight, yes. If it happened in the 4th year of his rookie contract after 3 years of years of terrible play, we’d be a little more level-headed about it.

  53. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Life and the NBA are full of uncertainities. Stats cannot predict the future even if you wish they really could.

    You know exactly what I’m going to say about this.

  54. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    He’s like ruruland except more emotional, less stat-manipulating, and hypes shitty players instead of an overrated mediocre one.

  55. Hubert

    I’d offer him nothing more than 3 years, 21M with the 3rd year being a team option. If he thinks he can do better than that, then let him walk.

    If he’s still at .550 TS% or higher at the end of the year, and we strike out on every major free agent, and Frank plays so terribly that the brass foolishly gives up on him, I would be open to giving him two years, $8mm (total, not AAV), with a team option for year 3.

  56. swiftandabundant

    Jowles, I had a really clever line that I meant to post the other day that was a bit of a jab at you. Here it is.

    Knickerblogger: where players, coaches, system and role CAN’T make a player play better but being in a contract year can.

    Pretty clever, right?

  57. nicos

    I can’t say for certain that he’ll stop doing wind sprints after he gets a guaranteed contract, but smart money is on him falling out of shape as soon as the ink dries.

    I’m not particularly worried about him getting out of shape- most players really want to succeed and it’s pretty clear his getting in better shape has helped that so I think he’ll keep it up. I’m much more worried about his shooting falling off. Really his only value right now is as a volume scorer- as a starter he’s averaging 20.5 per 36 on .564 ts% so slightly above average. To be worth anything above the MLE (and he’d need to maintain those numbers to even be worth that) he needs to make a similar improvement in playmaking. This isn’t an easy team to rack up assists on- of their high usage players THJ and Trier both love to iso and Kanter likes to back his guy down in the post- but he needs to get his assist to turnover ratio solidly above 2 to 1. Right now it’s 1.78 which is unacceptable for a starter unless they’re a really high volume/high efficiency scorer. He’s looked better as a playmaker in December (just over 2 to 1) but given that his TS is likely to fall he really needs to get that up to 2.5 or even 3 to 1 to make him worth investing in at all. I do think he’s worth playing- he is really young and his track record has been so bad that I don’t think anyone is going to make an absurd offer on him unless he makes another leap.

  58. Hubert

    I’ve seen him throw backwards enough cross court passes that either cause backcourt violations or force a player to jump over the line to avoid one that suggest his intelligence is very much in doubt.

  59. The Glass Half Rebuilt

    All young players not named Luka Doncic do dumb things, though. He might never be a good basketball player, but I don’t think that makes him dumb. Some of the smartest people I know have zero basketball IQ. Shit, Steve Mills went to Princeton and makes dumb basketball decisions all the time.

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

    @56

    IMO, you have it right. If you rate him on a scale of 1-10, he’d look like this.

    Year 1 Age 19 = 1 (after missing a lot of playing time in China)
    Year 2 Age 20 = 2
    Year 3 Age 21 Denver = 3/Knicks = 1 for a net of 2
    Year 4 Age 22 = 5

    A reasonable can look at those past performances and conclude he’s 1 or 2 playing over his head for this short period.

    A reasonable person can look at those past performances and conclude he was very raw in Denver, was making very slow progress, last year in NY he was out of shape and out of sorts, but this year he’s gotten in shape and resumed his upward trajectory. They are speculating whether he’s now a 4 or 5. A 5 looks like it may be too much of a leap but a 4 looks in line given his age and greenness.

    This is how you evaluate horses.

    You can’t know which he is, but the more of the story you know and the more understand the circumstances the more likely you are to be right about what comes next and cash a bet.

    I would bet that he’s a 4 but young and green enough to get better. It would not shock me if he’s a 5. It would surprise me if he’s a 2. Doesn’t mean I am right, but that’s what I would bet.

  61. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    IMO, you have it right. If you rate him on a scale of 1-10, he’d look like this.

    Year 1 Age 19 = 1 (after missing a lot of playing time in China)
    Year 2 Age 20 = 2
    Year 3 Age 21 Denver = 3/Knicks = 1 for a net of 2
    Year 4 Age 22 = 5

    But you think advanced stats are fake?

  62. Grocer

    IF he can keep up his improved play/improve more through the season, and IF we can sign him to a multi-year with team options at a low number then keeping Mud around is as good an option as signing another reclamation project which is likely our alternative move. 3mil a year is less than the top eight or nine draft picks are going to make, that’s cost controlled enough.

    That’s assuming the most probable situation, that we don’t get any of the big free agents to bite this summer. Worst case scenario obviously is Durant on a 2 year deal with a player option that he declines after we shed picks and young players to put vets around him. That’s the true Knicks outcome. Fuck up the team for years to grab a [exceptionally talented] dilettante who leads us to a 1st round exit.

  63. Hubert

    Ok, glass. I meant he has very low basketball IQ. He may well be a very bright young man off the court, I have no idea.

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

    But you think advanced stats are fake?

    I don’t think advanced stats are fake.

    I think the advanced stats available to the public do not measure reality well and are sometimes laughably wrong.

    I think I probably know more about handicapping horses than most people will ever know about anything in their life. I don’t know nearly as as much about evaluating basketball players because team games are different in some ways and I haven’t spent 40 years being obsessed with basketball. However, I’m pretty sure a lot of the concepts translate. So what I am describing is accurate in terms of the development of players or horses and knowing the story. The numbers I used were there to draw the picture not to represent actual ability.

  65. Early Bird

    @Strat how do you factor in that he’s shooting at an unsustainable level?
    3-10ft|10-16ft|16-3pt line

    .500 .491 .491 Durant
    .412 .453 .466 Curry
    .464 .488 .548 Mudiay

    So either Mudiay is a better midrange shooter than Curry and on par with Durant, despite shooting under 80% from the free throw line, or Mudiay is getting lucky in his shooting. A stat that is notoriously noisy.

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

    @Strat how do you factor in that he’s shooting at an unsustainable level?
    3-10ft|10-16ft|16-3pt line

    I don’t think he’s going to sustain it. However, he’s not finishing as well this year as last year and his 3p shooting could easily be legitimate or get even better.

    He was a very raw young kid in Denver that WAS getting better. He’s still at a age where young players make progress. So why should I think he’s not a better now than he was in Denver. To me, it’s very likely he’s better now than he was in Denver and is going to keep getting better. I just don’t think he’s quite as good now as he’s been playing in this short stretch.

    The debate is how much we should be willing to pay for that?

  67. ClashFan

    What’s the minimum multi-year deal the Knicks can offer Mudiay before the end of the season? Salary-wise?

  68. rama, mayor of Realitytown

    This should be obvious, but even if Mudiay played exactly as well as his AVERAGE over this outlier stretch, we still shouldn’t want him! Even if he did maintain these numbers, he is not ultimately a winning player. Not a great passer, can’t play defense. How will that help us win when his offense is mostly average volume-scoring???

    And I capitalize AVERAGE because his per-game numbers are still all over the place.

  69. Farfa Post author

    NBA history says you shouldn’t bet against a huge load of at best mediocre minutes before a brief stint of semi brilliance from a player, young as he may be.

    The thing with Mudiay isn’t his age, it’s the sustained awfulness in his first 4500 NBA minutes. Of course there are outliers, but it’s never smart to bet on your hand being one of them.

    I lost a semi-professional poker tournament final with a hand where I had a full house at the turn (three twos and a Q; I had a pocket pair of K). The other guy had 9 and 2 of clubs and called my preflop bet of 5 times the pot. Was he smart in doing so? Nope. He just got insanely lucky. 99 times out of 100 I walk away as the winner.

    The Knicks are always that guy, only most of the times the flop is punishing them. You won’t win two tournaments in your lifetime playing like that, and soon you’ll go broke. But sure, Mudiay is the 9/2 that will win you a tournament.

  70. Grocer

    NBA history says you shouldn’t bet against a huge load of at best mediocre minutes before a brief stint of semi brilliance from a player, young as he may be.

    This is true, but he’s shown some improvement over time and if his replacement is another reclamation player why not this one? Most players we’re going to be able to get for cheap aren’t going to ever get any better. The odds are against us no matter who it is. So if we’re seeing some level of improvement year over year, yes that player is unlikely to improve anymore but there’s probably as good a chance with him as any other former lottery pick or G League undrafted or overseas never-was.

    I mean, pocket kings losing to 9-2 suited is a bad beat but we’re not holding pocket card analogies that don’t really translate to the situation.

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

    I think the Knicks can make any deal they want with Mudiay. I agree with Strat and the glass half rebuilt, Mudiay is getting better and might continue to improve. And those of you complaining about his shooting percentages should compare him to point guard shooting percentages, not overall league shooting averages. Point guards tend to have lower true shooting than big men do.

  72. MKinLA

    Back to Dolan selling:

    In my previous life as an M&A banker, my experience was that, if a seller is in the media floating a potential sale “down the road” or “at a dream price”, the asset is for sale right now. That is particularly the case when the decision-maker is not someone who does a lot of media.

    And here’s why I think Dolan is talking now:

    With sales of normal companies of in the billions of dollars range, the list of potential acquirers is usually pretty short and obvious – it’s the relevant companies in the business and adjacent businesses, plus the largest private equity firms. So you can run an auction by just reaching out to the list.

    Sports teams are different. The universe of potential buyers is vast- basically, anyone who can put together a syndicate that can come up with, say, 30-50% of the purchase price in cash (the rest can be borrowed). So, if you’re a seller, you need to cast the net very wide indeed… which is why you get in the media and make it known that you’re a seller.

    For better or worse (most likely for better), I think the Knicks are DEFINITELY in play.

  73. Silky Johnson, Fleet Admiral of the Tank Armada

    I’d give no more than 5m a year to Mudiay, with a team option on the back end. And that’s only if he manages to keep these numbers up throughout a whole NBA season. I remain skeptical.

  74. Grocer

    For better or worse (most likely for better), I think the Knicks are DEFINITELY in play.

    I read that as Dolan heading up a public company, dealing with some noise from the minor shareholders about wanting to sell the team a few months ago, and having seen the shit Musk just got into with the SEC. Hence an answer to the question that holds open the possibility couched as ‘looking out for the shareholders best interests’ while explicitly stating that neither he nor the rest of the family would vote to sell. Could be wrong though.

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

    I’d give $5M a year for Mudiay too, but he won’t go that cheap.

Comments are closed.