Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Next Day Notes & Errata: Knicks v. Pistons

Well, that was yet another in a series of perfectly awful games by the New Dutch City Dutch Short Pants.

Not that anyone should expect anything different, but since Kevin stoically analyzed the larger failures of the team, in a way that was sad and true and yet totally aware that the situation at hand, like a real-life Toby Ziegler…

#HireFictionalCharactersToRunTheKnicksEvenOnesWrittenBySorkinThatCanBeReallySupercilliousAndSmugAtTimesAndAlwaysHaveVastReamsOfStatisticsTheyCanRecallAtTheDropOfAHatItCouldn’tBeWorseThanTheActualThreeDimensionalHumansWorkingThereNow

…let’s take a look as some amusing and not-at-all amusing odds and ends, plucked out from the wreckage last night’s toxic waste spill of a game, in the early stages of a season that probably should be declared a biohazard/targeted for a SuperFund clean up.

Despite all the lineup silliness, the Knicks were only down five with six minutes to go. There on the floor was a gentleman named Andre Drummond. Mr. Drummond is currently hitting 17.6 percent of his free throws. The Knicks are currently 28th on D. It might have behooved them at that particular juncture to engage in a “Hack-A-‘Dre” strategery, ya think?

I was screaming at the teevee machine. The Twittererers were also screaming, with the all-caps and whatnot. The Helen Keller with a goatee-type on the sideline clearly did not hear this collective outcry from the electronic village because they did not foul Mr. Drummond. Not once. Kenyon Martin, a gentleman who at times seems to resemble a Sufi mystic that’s taken a little too much of Heisenberg’s blue on court, what with the whirling dervishes and flailing arms and vocal chord-shredding yawps of rage/joy, somehow failed to foul him, even by accident.

I’d offer that this was a poor plan, except Woodson’s gone all Colonel Kurtz. It’s not that his methods have grown unsound, like Willard, I don’t see any method at all.

#ApocaKnicksNow.

Speaking of the well-made plans of mice and men, The Udrih-Shump-Bargs-Melo-K-Mart quintet was the ‘Bockers’ 5th starting lineup in the first 10 games. Even without Felt’s tender hip (do Penguins have hips?), really? No Prigs? You’re going to start Udrih—a solid vet, for sure—but he’s been MIA. I get the whole, “don’t burn out the vets, but he ended up playing the vast majority of the 2nd half anyway (and really well) and as such, was not available down the stretch, when the team went with a first ever (for Woodson) zero PG look in the final 4-5 minutes. In a related story, the team alternated ISO’s for Melo and JR in all of their final possessions, pretty much freezing out Bargs’ pick and pop skills.

This also was bad.

And this is a ball hitting off Kenyon’s hands, followed by… something by JR.

And this is Melo passing up a wide-open Bargs to take a contested three with the Knicks only down five with 1:21 to go in the 4th quarter

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And this is Amar’e. His operating system appears to have crashed right in the middle of a defensive sequence. Reboot him, quick!

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Really, watch the whole thing. DO IT.  It watches time stop for STAT or else it gets the hose again.

And this is JR Smith, with a pro tip for everyone’s fave beat reporter, Chris Herring:

So for a while now, we’ve been wondering what in the world Grunwald did or didn’t do that got him fired earned him the glorious title of special advisor. Based on the drips and drabs of scurrilous rumors and gossip about everyone’s favorite soon-to-be-traded ephebe, Iman Shumpert, I’ve come to the conclusion that Glen was sent packing because he refused to placate a fit of Dolan pique by trading Shump for Zlotys on the Dollar. It’s all speculation on my part, but when you see news like this rumored offer from Zwerling, it is the only answer that makes sense. (‘makes sense’ clearly being a relative term)

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So yes, but I’d like to harken back to Kevin’s dandy recap, and add, that’s what’s so maddening/frustrating, much more than the sad, tepid losses and all of the bleating noise/drama that surrounds the team is that many smart people spend a lot of time talking about and thinking about what might be done to keep this leaky, ill-constructed, overpriced yacht with Rodney Dangerfield in Caddyshack at the wheel from sinkin’. And there’s chatter about ‘blowing it up’/dealing Melo for picks/prospects cap space or just holding the fort until Chandler comes back or trying to swing a big move with Shump/Tim Jr. and a draft pick or two from the 3rd Millennium AD. All of these things could conceivably come to pass.

The larger problem is that any conversation in which we attempt to figure out what the Knicks might (let alone should) do is silly by definition. It is chucking practice basketballs at windmills. A Sisyphean nightmare, with no end in sight. They (Dolan) cannot hear us. They (Dolan) care not what our opinions might be. They (Dolan) take only their own council, and they (Dolan) will do something dumb. Like the man said in Ezekiel 39, IT. IS. COMING.

My holy name I will make known in the midst of My people Israel; and I will not let My holy name be profaned anymore. And the nations will know that I am the LORD, the Holy One in Israel. Behold, it is coming and it shall be done,” declares the Lord GOD. “That is the day of which I have spoken. Then those who inhabit the cities of Israel will go out and make fires with the weapons and burn them, both shields and bucklers, bows and arrows, war clubs and spears, and for seven years they will make fires of them… As for you, son of man, thus says the Lord GOD, ‘Speak to every kind of bird and to every beast of the field, “Assemble and come, gather from every side to My sacrifice which I am going to sacrifice for you, as a great sacrifice on the mountains of Israel, that you may eat flesh and drink blood.

And even if they do start to play at a level consistent with the 45-50 wins that most folks predicted, they’re still doomed, because it’ll only reaffirm to the powers that be (Dolan) that they’re doing the right thing. So failure won’t cause a reassessment of all things Knickerbocker and neither will success. That realization is what’s causing the gnawing pain, deep down in our bones that we (or at least I) just can’t shake. Literally, an existential hoops crisis. They are fucked.

We could stop, I guess. Just walk away. Pick a nice, shiny new team. Somewhere further out west, perhaps, and stop sacrificing our hearts and minds to a patently dumb religion/God; one that doesn’t even particularly seem to like us. But that won’t happen either—not in numbers great enough to affect this church/synagogue/mosque’s (Dolan’s) wallet.

It didn’t happen when they ditched Lin. It didn’t happen when there were effing protests outside MSG at the nadir of the Zeke years. We’re addicts, you see, or really, really devoted battered husbands/wives. (To any that take offense at said analogy, I don’t mean this is as bad as being either a junkie or an abused spouse. It’s not a one-to-one comparison.), and we’ve got an emotional bond to this product, even if it tastes like steaming hot used baby diapers and isn’t very healthy.

But on a lighter note, Kevin also wrote this amazing reinterpretation of Billy Joel’s “We didn’t Start the Fire.” Sing along!

And on an even lighter note, I got the chance to chat with Jameson Draper of PistonPowered at the half. I informed his viewers that I swore to wear this lion’s head until the Knicks win. I probably should have added a clause that I get to take it off to wash it, because this thing gets really sweaty. But I am a man of my word. Accountability, yo.

BZcqNxaCcAAXSXa!

Oh, and there’s another game tonight. Just nifty. Let’s take a look-y loo at the ol’ handy-dandy pocket schedule and see who’s…DEAR GOD. NOOOOOOOOOOOO!

This is going to be a bloodbath; a slaughter of epic proportions. Yeah, I just referenced the freaking Book of Revelations a few ‘grafs ago, but this game is gonna make that look like a walk in the freaking park with sunshine and lollipops and gamboling and dancing twixt the tulips, spreading our happy magic fairy pixie dust hither and yonder.

David West is going to park his tuchus at center court and just gnaw on one of STAT’s knees, trying to suck out whatever marrow’s left, claiming “He needs his life-force.”

Hibbert’s going to erect a massive bonfire under the basket, and torch whatever pathetic butcher scraps might remain of this so-called team at the end of the evening on a funeral pyre, while Cope giggles and uses that freaking pink backpack as kindling. The Knicks!

35 comments on “Next Day Notes & Errata: Knicks v. Pistons

  1. DRed

    I do like that Celtics shooting guard of the future, Mr. Bradley, managed to score 11 points on 22 shots last night.

  2. SirJim

    I’m used to these kinds of descisions coming from the Knicks organization, the logic being that they were trying harder to sell newspapers than to make a good team. They’d throw bucks and draft picks at anyone who might make headlines. Remember when an aged Dikembe Mutombo was our marquee player?

    The confusion now is that we have a plethora of headline worthy stars that will sell jersey and advertising alike, that we somehow cobbled together into a #2 team in the East last year, but now seems ready to go down in a hail of lame duck coaching and no reasonable means to improve or rebuild.

    So. Why is this happening? I work in behavioral health, so I like to think I know a bit about human motivations…and I got nothing. Is it a need to be the boss? To be in a position of unquestionable power? That’s all I can think of.

    That reminds me, I need to see Apocalypse Now, lest my age become apparent.

  3. ephus

    1. For those who re-watched that West Wing clip, my friend’s documentary, Fire In The Blood, covers exactly that topic regarding exactly that moment in time.

    2. I, for one, have too much family history invested in the Knicks to even consider moving to another team. It’s a bond with my 10 year-old daughter. I’m certain that I could not get her to transfer loyalty to a new team.

    3. This too shall pass. And it may pass tonight, because I see Bargnani on Hibbert as a much better match-up for the Knicks.

  4. hoolahoop

    It’s not hard to figure out.
    If you’re team leader is a “me” guy, that thrives on playing hero ball, you’re going to have an offense that looks exactly like the knicks.

    A mediocre NBA player taking an open shot will shoot a higher percentage than Melo shooting double or triple teamed. Then, all the positive ‘after effects’ come into play (happier role players that try harder on both ends of the floor, better shot opportunities for Melo, more spirited defense, better chemistry, etc.)

    As much as management has done a poor job of constructing this team, it’s not the only reason this team sucks. They’re blueprint sucks.

  5. DRed

    Yesterday we lost by 6 points to a bad team that we would have blown off the court last year. I get that Bargs is playing well by his standards lately, but if he’s not going to be shooting there’s not much point in having the guy out there. Bargs logged 38 minutes at center and had 6 rebounds. He took 3 shots in the second half. Couldn’t Cole have played 10 minutes in the second half? Hardaway Jr played 11 minutes last night and had 1 rebound and 1 steal and that’s it. Is there really no combination of players that could have given us 11 minutes at the 2 and put up a better line than that? We don’t have a big margin for error right now, and our playing time allocations are killing us.

  6. chrisk06811

    I use JR’s move from the 2nd vid against my son all the time!!! Of course we play 1 on 1 and there’s nobody to pass to.

  7. chrisk06811

    I wonder if Woody’s plan is to wait till we can get no lower (like 6 more hours), then spring Aldrich loose from the bench and start Cole-sanity as an effective marketing tool for the fine people of Minnesota. You guys could even write a book about it.

  8. Kevin McElroy

    We should be running our offense off of Prigs/Bargs PnR with Felton and Chandler out. Melo can still get 20 shots a night with a few designed plays, some iso, and as a safety valve. This would help get all the shooters better looks and increase the odds that we can get to the rim without a help defender lying in wait.

  9. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    “We should be running our offense off of … [Bargnani]” might be an indication, however accurate, that my time as a Knicks fan should come to an end.

    Seriously: goosebumps.

  10. SirJim

    I think we better call it the Cole-amity.

    And I agree with Kevin. As I usually do. What was wrong with that plan last year of letting Melo post up, waiting for the double, and swinging the ball if it came? If it didnt, Melo has 1v1, if it does, someone either gets an open perimeter shot or a clear(er) path to the cup.

    What’s most frustrating is how simple this seems. It’s not as though we’re limited by lack of talent or basketball knowledge. We’ve all seen the easy stuff work.

  11. Kevin Udwary

    “We should be running our offense off of … [Bargnani]” might be an indication, however accurate, that my time as a Knicks fan should come to an end.

    When the best case scenario is being the 2010-13 Toronto Raptors, you know there are major issues with your franchise. Let’s face it though, we all should have switched loyalty during the Isaiah years, but we didn’t. One of the best parts of being a Knicks fan for the past 13 years has been the camaraderie with fellow sufferers. By far the most entertaining comment threads on this site are when the Knicks are at their worst. It’d be a shame to give that up.

  12. EB

    A mediocre NBA player taking an open shot will shoot a higher percentage than Melo shooting double or triple teamed.

    This of course assumes that the Knicks have players that qualify as mediocre…

    Players above .540 TS%:
    Shump,
    Prigs,
    Bargs,
    Martin,
    Chandler

    4 have trouble combining for a usg of 40%
    2 can’t hit jumpers
    Oh and Chandler is out.

    I’m not defending Melo, cuz you can’t defend what he did last night, but further iterating the point that the Knicks have played like shit

  13. Donnie Walsh

    It has been mentioned by those seeking solace that the 2010 Knicks also started the season 3-7. That team gave up an average of 112 ppg, and lost by an average of -10 pts during a 6 game losing streak that ran from November 7th- November 16th, including a 27 point loss to the Bandon Jennings-led Bucks. At 3-7 the Knicks headed out on the road for a 4 game western swing starting in Denver. Desperate for a win, the Knicks gave a gutty effort (Landry Fields had 21 pts and 17 rebs), but came up 2 points short. It was a “moral victory”, though, and the team went on to win in Sac, at GS, and at LaClips, before coming home and reeling off wins in 13 out of their next 14.

    So there’s that.

    However, I don’t see too many similarities, other than the early losing, between that 3-7 start and this one. That team had been completely rebuilt over the summer, and it really felt like it was a matter of time before “the pieces began to gel”. Stoudemire and Felton finally figured out the PnR, and Amar’e took the weight of the team onto his shoulders.

    The Knicks need that “moral victory” tonight. Even if they lose. They need to set a tone that isn’t one of passivity on D, or frustration. They need to gut something special out to reinvigorate the interest in this team. I feel they are on the edge of an abyss, and, unfortunately, it will take more than Felton and Amar’e re-finding the PnR…

  14. DRed

    On the positive side, we do have two players younger than 34 on our roster with a D-Rtg below 110. Granted, one is the guy we’re trying to trade, but hey, it’s something.

  15. Kevin McElroy

    Did anybody read my stupid song parody though? I can 100% promise you it took me far too long to justify the minimal entertainment value it is likely to provide. So….endorsement.

  16. er

    I know we are in Melo is a “me guy” mode today but thats an open shot. Not to nitpick but it is. Singler didnt react until Melo was well in his shooting motion. He missed. Also the Knicks are a “bad” team right now so you shouldnt expect them to beat anyone until they fix all of the issues. The game last night was basically lost when Stuckey went off in the 3rd and also hit that buzzer beater

  17. KJG

    at 19. I cant disagree… he actually was open by most standards… bargs was more open, thats all…

    melo can do no right, in the long run… as good as he can be, we’ll always remember the days he whines to the refs, plays matter of fact defense, refuses to pass, and everything else… because he does those things so dam much… there is very little redemption…

  18. thenamestsam

    I know we are in Melo is a “me guy” mode today but thats an open shot. Not to nitpick but it is. Singler didnt react until Melo was well in his shooting motion. He missed. Also the Knicks are a “bad” team right now so you shouldnt expect them to beat anyone until they fix all of the issues. The game last night was basically lost when Stuckey went off in the 3rd and also hit that buzzer beater

    He was open in the sense that there wasn’t a hand in his face, but his feet were completely not set and he was picking up a bouncing ball both of which are factors that make a shot much tougher. Obviously if he drains it Melo is the hero and nobody ever even notices that Bargnani was open there, but he really did have a better shot than Melo.

  19. Kevin McElroy

    @24: I yelled “Pass the ball dude!” and then whipped a pillow across the room instead of watching to see if the shot went in. So at least one of us would have noticed. Also probably more of us.

  20. bocker84

    So failure won’t cause a reassessment of all things Knickerbocker and neither will success. That realization is what’s causing the gnawing pain, deep down in our bones that we (or at least I) just can’t shake. Literally, an existential hoops crisis. They are fucked.

    sigh… yes… +100,000,000,000

  21. SirJim

    @24 That seems like the mindset of both JR and Melo in a lot of cases. They take questionable shots that they can both put in, and they put in enough of them that they start to take poor shots when the game is on the line. It’s that “scorers mentality” everyone talks about, but it gives them tunnel vision to the basket.

    @Kev I was too busy picking my jaw up off the floor that we were going to let another game that the other team SO CLEARLY wanted to give away slip out of our grasp, not due to good play, but because of knuckleheaded decisions like that one.

    BTW, Bargs only took 3 perimeter shots last game, and 2 from about 15 feet out, and missed all of them. Why the sudden lack of Pick and Pop with Bargnani shooting so well from there usually? How is he supposed to stay in a rhythm?

  22. DRed

    BTW, Bargs only took 3 perimeter shots last game, and 2 from about 15 feet out, and missed all of them. Why the sudden lack of Pick and Pop with Bargnani shooting so well from there usually? How is he supposed to stay in a rhythm?

    That was really annoying. What is Bargs doing on the floor if you’re not trying to get him scoring opportunities? Is he out there for his rebounding? Just to have someone tall on the floor?

  23. johnno

    @19 & 22 — a shot where the defender’s hand is four feet from the shooter’s face and the defender appears to have no intention of jumping is a wide open shot by NBA standards. Melo did a lot wrong last night but, in my opinion, not passing to a “wider-open” Bargnani was not a big deal.

  24. KJG

    @ 29… just simply stating that bargs was more open… i too agree that of all the things melo did terribly last night, shooting that shot wasn’t one of them… but one could get on his case for it, considering all the bad one saw last night… in this situation, im not one…

  25. KJG

    seems like the amare rumors are heating up even more… he was so awesome when he first got here… what a shame…

  26. er

    He was open in the sense that there wasn’t a hand in his face, but his feet were completely not set and he was picking up a bouncing ball both of which are factors that make a shot much tougher. Obviously if he drains it Melo is the hero and nobody ever even notices that Bargnani was open there, but he really did have a better shot than Melo.

    Yes as many have noted AB was more open. But in context Melo had 11 points i believe in the fourth. So its not like he was throwing up bricks all quarter. If melo was cold then yes i would have had an issue with the play

  27. thenamestsam

    I yelled “Pass the ball dude!” and then whipped a pillow across the room instead of watching to see if the shot went in. So at least one of us would have noticed. Also probably more of us.

    Credit to you then. I find that I notice much less of this kind of stuff when watching the Knicks than when watching neutral games. Too much stress (and frequently too much stress induced drinking) when the Knicks are involved. I had total tunnel vision on the shot.

    Yes as many have noted AB was more open. But in context Melo had 11 points i believe in the fourth. So its not like he was throwing up bricks all quarter. If melo was cold then yes i would have had an issue with the play

    Yup, I think we basically agree. It’s frustrating on some level when Melo does that but it wasn’t one of my 500 most frustrating moments of last night’s game.

  28. Owen

    Yeah, that Grantland piece is pretty good….

    Nothing that hasn’t been said here a thousand times. But well done.

    This post was also well done. The loopy, unhinged tone suits my mood perfectly….

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