NY Post: Knicks take down Timberwolves, get Ryan Saunders fired

From Peter Botte:

Fans finally will return to the Garden in limited numbers beginning Tuesday, two nights after the Knicks barely avoided a catastrophic loss against the league’s worst team in their final game in front of an empty arena.

The Knicks flushed a 21-point second-half lead, but they ultimately gave Tom Thibodeau the gift of a victory in his first game against the Timberwolves since he was fired by Minnesota in 2019, eking out a 103-99 win Sunday to open a four-game homestand.

“We’re striving to become a 48-minute team. We’ve got a long way to go, and hopefully we learn from this,” Thibodeau said. “They made up ground quickly on us, but I do like the fact that we kept fighting and we found a way to win the game.

“Ultimately, that’s what’s important is to find a way to win. Whatever we have to do down the stretch to win the game, that’s what we want to focus in on.”

A win is a win is a win is a win, but boy, that was an embarrassing win. The worst team in the NBA (who fired their coach after the game, although it sounds like that was going to happen no matter what. They’ve unusually decided to get a jump on the other teams by hiring one of the hottest coaching prospects, Chris Quinn of the Raptors, midseason and give him a multi-year deal. It’s a clever idea, really) and they blew a 20-point lead on them.

But what was more disconcerting is how Thibs also tightened up the rotation to an absurd degree for the Knicks to eke out a win over a terrible team. I mean, think about it, what is even the point of that? If you need to lean heavily on your starters to eke out a win over a bad team, then you clearly aren’t that great of a team yourself, right? So what is the point of getting that win? It’s the whole “Every game is Game 7 of the NBA Finals” deal we talk about with Thibs all of the time. By playing your starters big minutes, you can win the close games over bad teams, but once you hit the playoffs and all of the teams that don’t do that actually start doing the same thing, you’re stuck at the 10 on the dial. You can’t push it up to 11.

Quickley and Rose had terrible games once again, but Rose played 19 minutes while Quickley didn’t even crack double digits! Obi Toppin, as well, did not crack double digits either, even with Nerlens Noel fouling out. Thibs has his guys and he is going to ride them, even as they blow a 10 point lead in the fourth quarter.

On the good side of things, Randle and Barrett both made some big fourth quarter shots and, fair is fair, Taj Gibson made a big defensive play on Towns late in the fourth. It’s not even that I dislike Taj Gibson. I’ve liked the guy for years. But come on, what does it say about the future of this team that you need 19 minutes of Taj Gibson to avoid losing to a terrible team? That you need all five of your starters to play over minutes (well, Noel would have had he not fouled out)? That you need to play Randle almost 40 minutes?

How is this sustainable? And how it good for the team in the long run? There is so much to be happy about this Knick team for the future. Barrett’s playing pretty well (which is big for a second year player). Quickley has shown a lot of talent. Randle has played like an All-Star. There are a bunch of draft picks coming. The cap is pretty clean. The last thing you need to worry about is whether you can eke out a win over a terrible team at the end of February, and yet…here we are.

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304 thoughts to “NY Post: Knicks take down Timberwolves, get Ryan Saunders fired”

  1. Yeah, that game wasn’t quite the textbook definition of Not What You Want, because Randle and RJ mostly played well (though RJ very stubbornly drove twice on KAT in the closing minutes), but it was pretty close.

  2. Chances were very slim that Thibodeau somehow saw the light, adjusted, and applied a different mindset to this team. Now it’s clear that he’s stuck within his limits. I’m very pessimistic. RJ might be the only prospect with a future on this team (below his potential). The rest should look for other options.

  3. I will say that some of Thibs’ worst tendencies get exacerbated when he plays one of his old teams. On the whole, I’m not worried about IQ’s minutes. (Toppin, on the other hand…) But this was a win you can take very little pleasure out of. When the Wolves took the lead, I actually started thinking about ping pong balls. Which I haven’t for the most part this season.

  4. I feel like in the end Thibs will be the one who can bring us to a respectable level again, just to be rightly ditched in 2024-25 to bring in new blood. If you look at things this way, even horrible games like this Wolves one are not that terrible.

  5. I just don’t think that you can build on the respectable level that Thibs will bring us to. It’s a ceiling. The Knicks will have wasted 2 more years and the chance to develop IQ/RJ/Obi/Mitch to their full potential.

  6. The only annoying thing about the rotation for me is Rose playing 20 minutes and Quickley playing 10. Rose is who we thought he is. Quickley sucked yesterday but it’s not all on him that the Knicks got outscored by 11 over 3 minutes.

  7. Thibs would argue that IQ picked up 3 fouls in his first 5 minutes and went 1-5 with zero assists and a turnover, and that Obi was getting murdered on D (especially by KAT) and useless on O. He would argue that they got in at their usual times and will get in at those times next game again, but if they play badly, he’s yanking them. He would argue that it’s bad for their development to reward them with PT when they don’t deserve it…everything has to be earned.

    I don’t think there’s any disputing that they played terribly, is there?

  8. comeon:
    I just don’t think that you can build on the respectable level that Thibs will bring us to. It’s a ceiling. The Knicks will have wasted 2 more years and the chance to develop IQ/RJ/Obi/Mitch to their full potential.

    Not with these players…but many won’t be here next year. Deals and signings are coming.

  9. As to Rose, Thibs probably thinks that Rose will revert to his most recent “good” form. Hard to know how the last 3 days of practice played out.

    This next game will be telling, GSW is a team that will beat us if we play badly. Nothing will make Thibs change his approach except bad results, i.e. losses.

  10. That game also had me thinking about ping pong balls, especially with Kuminga and the Ignite team really showing out.

    It’s hard to hate a coach that wants to win as badly as Thibs, but the argument before his hiring that he wasn’t the right fit for a rebuilding team still seems to hold water.

    I’m bracing for a Beal trade… 4 firsts plus Mitch and Toppin? Or is it Quickley? That would be rough.

  11. The post hoc rationalizations of Z-Man and others to the contrary, Thibs is a clear and present danger to the Knicks’ future. It’s been crystal clear and will become clearer. BC’s writeup reads in the spirit of a moment of clarity. There will be more in the future.

    Farfa said 2024-25. I’ve got the over-under at Opening Night 2022-23.

  12. ess-dog: It’s hard to hate a coach that wants to win as badly as Thibs, but the argument before his hiring that he wasn’t the right fit for a rebuilding team still seems to hold water.

    As I keep saying, I would have preferred that the team just roll with Miller for another year, and keep their eyes open for a young dynamo. Once they hired Thibs, the direction was clear and immutable. So I’m not disappointed at all, this is exactly what anyone should have expected. It’s only a question of how many wins he can grind out of a roster.

    I don’t prefer it per se, but the phrase “it is what it is” has never applied more aptly.

  13. E, all merc’d out: The post hoc rationalizations of Z-Man

    They are not rationalizations, they are facts. What did I say above that is disputable? You are talking about what should be. I’m talking about what is.

    E, all merc’d out: I’ve got the over-under at Opening Night 2022-23.

    Bet your house on the over. He’s not going anywhere.

  14. ess-dog: I’m bracing for a Beal trade… 4 firsts plus Mitch and Toppin? Or is it Quickley? That would be rough.

    One PF and one C (starter) for one SG? Wouldn’t that be even more a disaster than to trade for Beal in the first place? Next step after the trade… Cousins? Oh man, please don’t do this, Leon, we like this team!

  15. E, all merc’d out: Thibs is a clear and present danger to the Knicks’ future

    This is a bit much. Of greater concern to me is how much influence this all has on Leon Rose. I remain deeply troubled by the fact that he took his eye off the big picture to give this team a boost in the form of derrick rose. If wins like this contribute to more stupid moves like that, then we have a problem. But that’s more of a Rose problem than a Thibs problem.

    I would still love to know how much of Thibs influence went into our obsession with Obi Toppin. I suspect we passed over much better prospects bc Thibs wouldn’t play them. But again, that’s a Rose problem. You’re the team president, draft the best player and make your coach like him.

  16. It’s a Thibs problem, too, because he’s unable to stay in his lane and just coach the fucking team. (Which is why over the years all the people higher than him on the org chart have quickly grown to detest him. Dude’s like the Typhoid Mary of dissension.)

    But, yeah, it’s up to Rose to make him stay in his lane. This isn’t the first time this has been written here; it was written in the Derrick Rose run-up and even before.

  17. Thibs would argue that IQ picked up 3 fouls in his first 5 minutes and went 1-5 with zero assists and a turnover, and that Obi was getting murdered on D (especially by KAT) and useless on O. He would argue that they got in at their usual times and will get in at those times next game again, but if they play badly, he’s yanking them. He would argue that it’s bad for their development to reward them with PT when they don’t deserve it…everything has to be earned.

    And he would be right as usual.

  18. Hubert: This is a bit much. Of greater concern to me is how much influence this all has on Leon Rose. I remain deeply troubled by the fact that he took his eye off the big picture to give this team a boost in the form of derrick rose. If wins like this contribute to more stupid moves like that, then we have a problem. But that’s more of a Rose problem than a Thibs problem.

    I would still love to know how much of Thibs influence went into our obsession with Obi Toppin. I suspect we passed over much better prospects bc Thibs wouldn’t play them. But again, that’s a Rose problem. You’re the team president, draft the best player and make your coach like him.

    This is all entirely fair. Trading for Rose, while not the most consequential move, doesn’t pass the smell test of good management. You almost have to hope that Rose doesn’t play well enough to be part of the future, which means you burned an asset for nothing. Unless he turns it around and starts to play something like he did in his first 2 games, Rose is vets-minimum roster filler. I don’t think he’s as bad as he’s played in the last 3 games, but still not worth burning a 2nd.

  19. We’ll forget about these last games tomorrow, when we get the W against Steph and the Warriors (better have Invisible 6th Man available, and on Steph all game), and KP torches the Celtics helping the Knicks get ahead of BOS in the playoff standings. ;)

  20. E, all merc’d out: But, yeah, it’s up to Rose to make him stay in his lane. This isn’t the first time this has been written here; it was written in the Derrick Rose run-up and even before.

    We can agree on this, but it’s unlikely to happen. Rose is probably reveling in the wins right now. Unless and until the team starts losing, or at least until Rose builds a team in Thibs’ image and it still goes nowhere and remains in the Nets’ shadow, Thibs will continue to be who he is.

    There is zero chance that the management team is looking at a 15-16 record at this point and is beginning to question anything Thibs is doing.

  21. I would also like to point out (again) that Thibs rebelled against a dubious management team in CHI who have not seen any success whatsoever since Thibs left (Jim Boylan? come on…) and that he had way too much control in Minny and the team has still been way worse since he left and just fired the coach that KAT was so happy to have replaced Thibs.

    Rose has surrounded Thibs with a top-notch developmental coaching staff and other assistants who are highly regarded. He also has lots of FO staffers that are giving him perspective on asset management, analytics, etc. Not saying that this makes them good, or even competent, but it’s not the same situation as either CHI or MIN re: staying in his lane.

  22. It’s hard for me to read any harsh criticism of Thibs at this point and not laugh hysterically or hurl out insults.

    This team basically sucks on talent and was atrocious on both sides of the ball last year. He has them playing close to .500 ball, among the league leaders in defense, and sharing the ball and trying to the play the right way on offense despite the lack of talent. The one good player they have (Randle) was so bad year last it was assumed he was going to be traded to make way for a 22 year old rookie that can’t do much more on offense than Mitchell Robinson. Now Randle is passing, playing defense, and scoring efficiently again. He may be an all star through his personal hard work and good coaching.

    Exactly WTF do you want?

    He’s in the conversation for coach of the year for getting these dregs to play so well!

    And to be clear, I’m not talking about last night. When they were up 20 points they eased up and “allowed” Minny to get back in the game. Thibs should have blasted them during a timeout when they were clowning and laughing like the game was over. Fortunately, Minny has a lot of “losers” on their team and found a way to not put it away and let us steal it back. I hope Thibs gave it to them good after the game for easing up.

  23. ess-dog:

    I’m bracing for a Beal trade… 4 firsts plus Mitch and Toppin? Or is it Quickley? That would be rough.

    No doubt Guitar Jimmy would be dismayed to learn that his name never came up in yesterday’s lengthy discourse on legendary axemen. Sadly, he can’t be ignored for long once the subject returns to the Knicks.

    Dolan’s penchant for starfucking looms large. The rumors of WW Wes pulling strings behind the scenes to steer Beal Gothamward should have every sentient Knick fan shitting Twinkies. Management did not add WWW to the payroll for the purpose of “developing the kids.” He’s here as Jimmy’s procurer.

    Where we see a rootable team with likable, young building blocks, cap space, and draft picks, Dolan sees assets to be bartered for a quick fuck. I would not be shocked if some combination of RJ, IQ, and Mitch along with multiple firsts are all included in a package for Beal. That could be one possible explanation for the Rose deal & the reduced playing time for the kids of late. Thibs may have already begun auditioning the probable leftovers of a post Beal team.

    Yeah, I know this sounds all very CT but damned if we haven’t seen this movie before. Hope to Goddess I’m wrong.

  24. I’m sure Rose and Quickley will turn it around, but it sure makes it tougher when you assume your bench has an edge over most other benches and it turns into a huge liability for a couple of games. Neither of them can throw the ball into the ocean right now. Most teams are better than us. We need to play better defense (which we mostly have been) and get better play from the bench to make up for the overall talent gap and lack of shooting on offense.

  25. It’s exactly the same situation as before, because he’s still not staying in his lane. We’re just in the early, honeymoon phase here and so no one is paying much attention. Like we talked about in the other thread, the things he does well are invariably front-loaded and he invariably wears out his welcome. That’s exactly what’s going to happen here — particularly in this agenda-driven front office and tabloid leaky culture that’s already eaten up Larry Brown, Mike D’Antoni and on and on and on.

    Is that worth sacrificing a lottery pick this year for? God, no. Of course it isn’t.

  26. There is zero chance that the management team is looking at a 15-16 record at this point and is beginning to question anything Thibs is doing.

    If they were, I’d assume they know less about basketball than the Mills/Perry combo or it was time for a mental health check or they enjoy losing endlessly instead of building the right way.

    They should be judged by their next big move IF they make one.

  27. The management team is wondering why Thibs is playing their lottery pick — the guy they were willing to trade up for — so little and developing him so poorly, in lieu of people like Taj Gibson. Bank on it.

  28. “Dolan’s penchant for starfucking looms large. ”

    I may be grasping at straws here, but Bradley Beal isn’t going to fill seats at MSG or increase TV ratings. Dolan probably doesn’t even know what he looks like.

    So I doubt it’s Carmelo 2.0

  29. Deeefense:
    I’m sure Rose and Quickley will turn it around, but it sure makes it tougher when you assume your bench has an edge over most other benches and it turns into a huge liability for a couple of games.Neither of them can throw the ball into the ocean right now. Most teams are better than us. We need to play better defense (which we mostly have been) and get better play from the bench to make up for the overall talent gap and lack of shooting on offense.

    That 2nd unit defense has been SOOOO horrific… it automatically turns off… Eye test tells me that Noel is actually a HUGE piece of the 2nd unit D and whatever he was doing was making up for a lot of shite our perimeter defenders were meddling in… losing Mitch is obviously a big loss, but not so much for that 1st unit… maybe Burks and Bullock need to swap and someone needs to work with Toppin 24 hours a day…

  30. There is zero chance that the management team is looking at a 15-16 record at this point and is beginning to question anything Thibs is doing.

    Just because management is happy doesn’t mean we should be.

  31. Quick word on KAT as I noticed there were folks loving on him last night… Guy is an animal in the post, we all know that… but how did we feel about some of those super low % shots he took on the perimeter… I think I recall a stepback, well-defended 3 at one point… and it wasnt late in the shot clock? i like him, but i worry about his attitude… he seems way too alpha with the all of society… not sure that’s a positive in this situation

  32. Knicks are 14-15, 7th in the East, their best player is 26, their second best player is 20, they have the lowest payroll in the league, 3rd best defense, 4th youngest team, have 2 first round picks this year, one in 2022, and 2 in 2023. Dallas is currently out of the top 8 in the West. Oh, and we’ve won 4 out of 5 with our starting center (who is also super young) currently hurt.

    How many times over the last 20 years did we watch The Knicks fall behind big only to mount a fake comeback and lose at the end? Crap teams can do that. Every team in the NBA, even the worst ones, can make a game close and its not like Minny doesn’t have one very good player.

    Yet I come on here and its doom and gloom. Yeah, it was sloppy. And maybe thibs should loosen the reigns a bit, but give me a break guys! We’re having a great season and the future is bright.

    I jus don’t see us making some huge win now move for Beal and mortgaging our future. We’ve been down this road before with Melo and Dolan knows how it ends. And Beal isn’t even as big of a name as Melo. not trying to debate if Melo was better than Beal at that time. Just saying, Melo was a much bigger star than Beal who was on a much better team than Beal has been. I just don’t see it happening.

    The NBA is full of very good players, even a decent amount of stars (even some super stars) who weren’t picked in the top ten or even the top 15. With two picks and future picks we also could potentially move up if we really want to grab someone. I’d like Obi to play more too but with Randle playing the way he is, its hard to argue against the logic of Randle playing so much. We can lament that we wasted the pick. It is what it is. We made up for it with Quickley, who had a rough game, that’s why his minutes were limited last night.

    Its just weird how so many people go to the darkest, most pessimistic take after a sloppy win.

  33. “Its just weird how so many people go to the darkest, most pessimistic take after *nearly 30 years of recurrent misery*”

    Fixed it for ya

  34. Hubert: Just because management is happy doesn’t mean we should be.

    Just wondering – what do you think management should do at this point? Trade Julius Randle for picks?

    The Derrick Rose trade was /- for me. Hard to argue that the FO doesn’t value assets when this FO has added many picks for basically nothing, and that the pick they traded away is currently #48. And that is for a draft in which we already have 3 other picks.

    I think the only thing one could possibly be upset about thus far with Thibs is that Quickley isn’t playing 25 minutes/game (he’s played 21 or 22 minutes in 5 out of the last 6 games), and that Toppin isn’t getting more run. Elfrid Payton sucks and he should play Frank, but that’d probably be controversial even on Knickerblogger. RJ’s getting tons of run, Mitch was playing career high minutes, Quickley has played a lot, and the team is vastly outperforming expectations.

    Once the team started outperforming expectations, the idea that a tank would happen became implausible. Sure, maybe with the old lottery rules one could get away with it, but short of going full Hinkie, it’s hard to find good outcomes from teams literally trying to lose games from early in the season. From my memory it is basically impossible to find teams trying to tank their way out of the playoff race when they’re actually IN the playoffs.

    The general consensus on this board was always “I’d be fine with wins if it was the kids leading us to wins”, and right now RJ, Mitch, Quickley, and an age 26 Julius Randle are leading us to wins. Sure, some vets are playing, but it really is hard to be upset with the age mix in terms of contributions to winning.

  35. The general consensus on this board was always “I’d be fine with wins if it was the kids leading us to wins”, and right now RJ, Mitch, Quickley, and an age 26 Julius Randle are leading us to wins. Sure, some vets are playing, but it really is hard to be upset with the age mix in terms of contributions to winning.

    This is true. Even in the games where Payton or Burks have gone off, Randle has still been our best player. And generally, at least one or more of RJ, Mitch, or IQ has played well in our wins. RJ was a mixed bag last night — again, I hated him stubbornly going right at KAT on those late possessions — but more good than bad.

  36. I don’t particularly care for how Thibs runs his rotation, and if I were the coach I’d certainly be giving the young guys some more burn (I’m not even a Frankophile and still 42 total minutes this season for him seems ridiculous to me) , but carping about Thibs at this point just seems like trying to find something to complain about. There isn’t any actual evidence that force-feeding your young guys minutes is actually developmentally preferable and plenty of teams have had consistent success with developmental approaches based more around asking their young guys to contribute meaningfully in small roles on good teams and gradually earn more minutes and bigger roles – see e.g. San Antonio and Toronto.

    I do think from an asset management perspective it’s probably not great to have young guys who aren’t playing or are barely playing – I don’t think you could realistically hope to trade Frank or Knox for anything right now and Obi’s value must be in freefall as well, but in terms of internally developing them Thibs’ approach is a reasonable one. Certainly we’ve got multiple guys who are performing better than most of us would’ve hoped this year – Randle, IQ, RJ, Mitch (in some respects, this one is debatable), even Knox when he has seen the floor. There’s definitely real risk of management overreacting to our okay-ness and doing something dumb, but for now, things are pretty good. Picking at the nits seems like choosing to be unhappy.

  37. “We’re striving to become a 48-minute team.”

    See, y’all think Thibs is talking about playing hard all game, when he’s really just laying out his goal for starter minutes…

    More seriously, I’m with Swift on this one. Thibs seems to have one rule that overlays all the others — play good defense. It’s also a rule that automatically makes it hard for rookies, who almost always play atrocious defense as that’s something that usually comes with time and experience (if it comes at all).

    There’s the basic tension between getting experience and (hopefully) getting better, and sucking and making your team lose. Welcome to the NBA. None of our kids are LeBron, so their minutes are liable to be all over the board as they waffle between playing well and sucking. I wouldn’t be so quick (as it were) with the hook, and I certainly wouldn’t have 1-8 Rose out there in crunch time (literally anyone else please), but I don’t feel it’s a sign of the apocalypse, either.

  38. Its hilarious how so many people here look for the smallest things to immediately jump on this team and especially Thibs. The Knicks were up 16 going into the 4th quarter, struggled to close it out but in the end they got the win. If Thibs stayed with the bench and they lose everyone here would’ve jumped all over him, he puts the starters back in, including RJ, they get the win yet people are now complaining he took the game too seriously and should’ve let the bench play longer.

    Seriously most of you guys don’t deserve to root for a good team, you deserve to be miserable fans for the rest of your lives.

  39. Just wondering – what do you think management should do at this point? Trade Julius Randle for picks?

    I would like to see some indication that they have a long term vision in mind. I wouldn’t trade Julius Randle for picks, but I’m not going to ignore the limits of a roster built around him, either. Nor will I ignore that he’s only on a good contract for one more season. This whole “our best player is just 26 years old” BS ignores the fact that we have a 0% chance of opening up a championship window while he’s on a good contract.

    The whole “get to respectability” plan works when you have a next step in mind. The Nets did it to land Kyrie and Durant. The Lakers did it to land LeBron and AD. The Clippers did it to land George and Kawhi.

    What’s our next move here? If there’s no free agent prize for being respectable, you’re just getting rim rocked.

    IMO, we just have to be patient and keep adding assets. I’d be encouraged if I saw smart things happening on the periphery. Instead, I’m sitting here sweating out a trade deadline bc I’m afraid we’re going to give up first round picks to rent Victor fucking Oladipo.

  40. E, all merc’d out:
    The management team is wondering why Thibs is playing their lottery pick — the guy they were willing to trade up for — so little and developing him so poorly, in lieu of people like Taj Gibson.Bank on it.

    I doubt anyone is watching Obi Toppin play and thinking “damn, why doesn’t that guy play more.”

  41. Now, don’t mistake me for a Thibs fan boy. That, I ain’t.

    But honestly I don’t think there’s much to quibble about Obi playing too little (he’s sucking badly) or Quickley getting a short leash when he sucks. This team is not aesthetically pleasing at all but there are still lessons to be learned in teaching young players how to grind out wins. It’s awful to watch, it’s kinda perplexing, but in the end you can’t argue that much about a team that is usually at least fun to root for. Thibs actually does coach every game as if it was game 7 of the finals, but as long as he doesn’t bury Obi and Quickley to play Austin Rivers and the team wins with RJ playing 30+, whatever (for this year).

  42. I jus don’t see us making some huge win now move for Beal and mortgaging our future.

    Have you followed the New York Knicks over the past 20 years?

    But seriously, from the beginning, Thibs presence had me believing that Rose was going to make a “Beal level” trade as soon as he could — he wanted Gordon Hayward a few months ago!

  43. Valid complaints:

    -Trading for Derrick Rose and subsequently playing him a lot. Not much to say here. The pick isn’t much of an asset, but it’s an asset and Derrick Rose isn’t. It was per se a bad move.

    -Playing Elfrid Payton a lot. He doesn’t help us win nor does he do anything for us in terms of the future. This seems like an irrational Thibs stylistic preference at this point.

    Unclear:

    -Not playing Toppin a lot. I don’t need to tell any of you that he is, uh, not playing particularly well. The fact that he’s playing at all indicates the front office has some pull with Thibs, because he doesn’t do shit to help us win games. No one should be saying with confidence that the solution to his struggles is to just play him more. Player development is weird, and different methods might be best for different players. I’d be fine with playing him more, but I’m not going to pretend I know for sure that would be optimal.

    -Not playing Quickley more. The approach seems to be “give him big minutes when he’s playing well, and pull him early if it looks like he doesn’t have it.” Again, I can’t say confidently that’s bad for his development. I will say I personally lean more towards letting him play through struggles, as he doesn’t seem like the kind of guy that would let prolonged struggles rattle him and it would be useful to the team from a data collection perspective.

    Unreasonable gripes:

    -Complaining about Bradley Beal trades that haven’t happened. At least wait until there’s something resembling a rumor.

    -Frank not playing. He doesn’t improve his value, either to the team currently or as a trade asset, when he plays basketball. Not playing him represents sound understanding of the sunk cost fallacy IMO.

    -Knox not playing. See above, basically. It honestly might be better for the trade value of these guys to try to leave them with an air of mystery.

  44. What’s our next move here? If there’s no free agent prize for being respectable, you’re just getting rim rocked.

    I agree with this. There needs to be a plan to capitalize on these wins somehow, otherwise they’re own goals. We can capitalize on them by signing free agents that make sense for us, or being the preferred destination of guys demanding trades.

    I think I’ve established over a long period of time that I’m skeptical of this method as compared to keeping your destiny in your own hands via the draft, but it’s not impossible it works out. No one can give it anything but an “incomplete” as of now.

  45. But honestly I don’t think there’s much to quibble about Obi playing too little (he’s sucking badly)

    While I’m generally on the pro-Thibs side of the ledger at the moment I don’t think I really get people who are saying this. Am I crazy for thinking Obi has been approximately fine when he has gotten the chance to play? -0.9 BPM, -1.83 RPM, .55 TS%, 12.8 PER, .087 WS/48. He’s obviously not forcing Thibs hand for more playing time or anything like that and there’s plenty of reasons to be worried about his long-term prognosis, upset about picking him over Hali etc, etc, but the idea that he has sucked this year…I don’t really get it. He has been totally fine for a rookie on a per-minute basis I think, it’s just the minutes are comically low. This is the one area where Thibs does deserve his share of criticism imho.

  46. Can’t get excited about draft picks in the 12-18 range when it’s Tom Thibodeau that’s going to be handling them. He’s handling an 8 pick now and doing a piss-poor job of it. He’s got one of the top rookies in the class on his team and he’s still got the guy on some silly probationary status. To this very second, Thibs has RJ Barrett on quasi-probation. He’s a Neanderthal.

    And no, it’s not crazy to think Obi has been approximately fine when he’s played. He gets literally nothing run for him, he always plays with second unit guys, dipshits like Payton and Rivers never passed him the ball even when he’s wide open, and he has a ton of athleticism. He just needs to find for himself what works best and the only way to do that is to play him. There are things he does very well and there’s more than enough raw material there with which to work.

    There’s no sensible “next move” because this thing isn’t being operated as a platform of growth to the next step. Nor is it in fact such a platform.

  47. Am I crazy for thinking Obi has been approximately fine when he has gotten the chance to play? -0.9 BPM, -1.83 RPM, .55 TS%, 12.8 PER, .087 WS/48.

    He’s been able to protect his box score aggregators and TS% by keeping his usage low, but I think that’s more of a red flag than anything else. There’s an eye-test element to this, as it feels less like him picking his spots carefully a la Mitch and more like him just being totally unconfident about his ability to do anything on offense.

  48. The “unconfidence” needs to be coached out of him, because he has much more there than he thinks right now. He just needs to have something he trusts and then build out from there. But nothing is really run for him when he’s in the game and he just gets leftovers and backwash and has to improvise.

    Coaching the “unconfidence” out of an athletic, talented guy is pretty much one of the textbook ideas behind … you know … development.

    The New York Knickerbockers do not have a coach that does these kind of things. That needs to be faced, rather than rationalized or apologized for.

  49. What was with the site last night?

    If I was Thibs, I would have sat Obi and IQ and played Rose at the end just like he did. Neither of our rookies looked like they knew what they were supposed to do.

    It was the ugliest of wins but that’s mostly because the TWolves played like crap for 3 quarters. Let’s not forget, however, that KAT is elite. I would trade Mitch for him straight up in a heartbeat and nobody with a brain on this board would argue that. And Rubio is better than he’s played. They didn’t play defense until the 4th quarter. Any team that lets the Knicks score 61 points in a half is not playing defense. When I saw that Ryan Saunders got fired this morning I totally understood. The TWolves should be better than awful.

  50. Obi plays 1 position, he doesn’t play it very well, & he plays behind our best player. He’s not going to get much burn.

    I’m not sure why Rose is out there when Elf or Rivers are starting to look like the better option.

  51. If Thibs has Immanuel Quickley at the point where he’s now not looking like he knows what to do, that’s a pretty damning place to be. He certainly knew what to do for the first 25-odd games, that’s for sure. IQ’s first 25 games should have been a platform for Thibs to build on; it certainly shouldn’t have led to further probation.

    They never should have traded for Rose in the first place. Everyone on the board said it. It’s one of Thibs’s utterly bizarre obsessions and it was enabled. And like some of us said, he’s not going to judge Rose on anything close to the same standard he’s going to judge other players on, and he’s not.

  52. thenoblefacehumper: He’s been able to protect his box score aggregators and TS% by keeping his usage low, but I think that’s more of a red flag than anything else. There’s an eye-test element to this, as it feels less like him picking his spots carefully a la Mitch and more like him just being totally unconfident about his ability to do anything on offense.

    I basically agree with all of this, but I think it’s important to separate concerns about what his play so far for this season mean about his future vs. the issue of how much he’s currently helping/hurting the team when he’s out there. It’s definitely a massive concern that our nearly 23 year-old top 10 pick who was supposed to be basically the finished article offensively doesn’t look like he has much idea how to get points outside of wide-open dunks and moonball 3-pointers.

    But separate from that he has basically been playing at a reasonably respectable level for a bench big right now. We’ve seen some of our rookies in recent years be at a level where they were actively tanking the team every minute they were out there, and this is not that. In my estimation Thibs really could be trying to play him more right now, and provided it’s not at the expense of Randle it’s not clear the immediate downside would be that huge.

  53. I don’t think the Quickley criticism is very fair, either. Quickley is an erratic rookie. He has some really bad games, and we get mad at Thibs bc it sucks that he’s not as great as we want him to be. If anything, Thibs protects the shine on the kid by limiting his PT when he’s having a stinker.

    Has there ever been a game where he was 4-6 and Thibs gave him limited minutes? When he doesn’t play, he’s usually 1-[insert large number]. We’re getting mad at Thibs bc we’re annoyed IQ isn’t consistent.

  54. I can’t believe no one mentioned Nigel Tufnel in the ranks of the all time great guitarists

    I find thinking about Thibs and all his presence will demand from the front office pretty depressing.

  55. I would like to see some indication that they have a long term vision in mind. I wouldn’t trade Julius Randle for picks, but I’m not going to ignore the limits of a roster built around him, either. Nor will I ignore that he’s only on a good contract for one more season.

    Julius Randle, if he is actually the player he’s shown himself to be so far this year, is a really really good player, so I do not understand what you mean when you talk about the limits of a roster built around him.

    Objectively Randle has been great this year.
    Of starters, is the #4 PF in the league by RPM – the 3 people ahead of him are Giannis, Durant, and Anthony Davis.
    He has a 59 TS on 28 usage. That seems high efficiency.
    The only PF/Cs with higher AST rate are Lebron, Jokic, Draymond, and Adebayo. So he creates offense for others.
    He’s shooting 41% from 3P on 4.4 attempts per game – so it’s not even that he doesn’t space the floor

    He’s 4th in the entire league defensive win shares (behind Gobert, Lebron, and Giannis), and 11th overall in win shares. By DRPM he’s 3rd in the league behind Royce O’Neal and Jae Crowder, and just ahead of Anthony Davis FWIW.

    From team performance – he’s a net + 8.8 which is 83rd percentile per CTG

    I am just not sure what else you want. Is he Lebron James or Giannis or KD? No, but those guys aren’t coming anytime soon.

    what are the “limits” of a roster that has Julius Randle on it?

  56. Owen:
    I can’t believe no one mentioned Nigel Tufnel in the ranks of the all time great guitarists

    That goes without saying. On a 1-10 scale, I’d rate him an 11…

  57. E, you’re surprised IQ isn’t playing as well as he did his first 25 games?

    He’s a rookie. Teams now know how to game plan for him and guard him.

    That’s fine. He’s a rookie. But he’s inconsistent. I agree IQ hasn’t been pulled when he’s playing well. I have no problem with him getting small minutes in a game where he’s 1 for whatever.

  58. E, Obi plays PF behind Randle, who is having a career season and is 26. That’s a problem with the FO for drafting him, not Thibs for not playing him.

    Again, the NBA is full of excellent players who were picked in 16 to 18 range. Hell Butler, Kawhi, Giannis and Gober were all picked 15 or later and they are all top 10 players.

  59. by the way – even WITH Julius Randle on the team at $20MM next year, we have like $55MM in cap space.
    Even with Julius were making $30MM next year, we’d still have 45MM in cap space.

    If the “limits of a roster” with Randle on it means the limits of a roster with Randle as the best player, then sure, I can see that. But there is no reason Randle has to be the best player when you have tons of resources going forward to improve the team. Is he good enough to be the #2? I dunno, maybe. 50/40/80 28 usage 59 TS averaging 5.5 assists per game and playing career-best defense — that’s pretty good for a #2. And he’s improved so much from last year to this year, who’s to say he can’t even get better? I get that he may regress eventually, is he actually a 40% 3 point shooter yada yada but that’s why we don’t need to make a decision on him until the end of next season.

  60. ess-dog. I have followed the Knicks. Dolan might be a horrible owner but he’s now older and maybe a little wiser? Even an idiot gets smarter with age. HE has past experience now to reference when he feels compelled to force someone to make a trade for a star. And Beal isn’t really a star in the sense that he’s not doing shoe commercials and hanging out with Lebron. I just don’t see Dolan interfering to force a beal trade. Unlike 2010, we don’t have a star with weak knees. That team was a house of cards even before the Melo trade bc STAT wasn’t going to be elite his entire contract.

  61. . I suspect we passed over much better prospects bc Thibs wouldn’t play them. But again, that’s a Rose problem. You’re the team president, draft the best player and make your coach like him.

    Quickley is 6th on the team in minutes played, this doesn’t make any sense. The only guy over 26 with 500 minutes played is Bullock. RJ is 20 and not very good and he’s second on the team in minutes playerd.

  62. Julius Randle, if he is actually the player he’s shown himself to be so far this year, is a really really good player, so I do not understand what you mean when you talk about the limits of a roster built around him.

    I know it seems counterintuitive, but “really really good players” are often the hardest obstacles to overcome when building a championship team.

    The secret sauce isn’t very secret… you need elite players at the top and a quality supporting cast. Randle is not elite, but he can make a compelling argument to paid like he’s elite, and that will prevent us from getting someone who is elite.

    His age is not that important here, it’s his contract.

  63. It’s Randle’s contract, plus his niche style, plus the massive expected dropoff in his production if his role gets rightsized. He’s not good enough to helm a contender in this role.

    Figuring this out early is the job of the front office. The longer things linger this way, the less and less confidence we should have in the front office.

  64. There is still plenty of games to be played…alot of shit will sort itself out by year end but the following is irritating:

    1. Sure Randle is good and right now is the best player on the team but in the league where most games are decided in the last 5 minutes…he is not the optimal decision maker/ballhandler to end the game…I mentioned it a few threads ago..I can find someone on most any other team that I would rather be handling the ball and orchestrating the offense at the end of the game then him…last night he was atrocious in that role down the stretch…with a competent point guard…it doesn’t get that close…

    2. I would almost rather have Payton in there at the end than Rose…hopefully if Rose continues to show he is not what Thibs thought he was, i.e, the Closer or the Equalizer or any of those monikers…maybe he will give IQ a chance to run the show at the end of the game…that is what I would like to see..neither Rose or Payton is the future or showing any compelling features that suggest that increase the win probability…

    3. I would like to see Toppin get some more time to see if he can find his game but in this offense it seems like its either stand behind the arc, do an occasional post up 20 ft from the hoop or get an alley oop…I would like to see them make an effort to establish a better role…but doesn’t look that way…I hope they don’t crush this guy.

  65. Other than this E guy, I don’t think anyone is really talking about Thibs being a problem. We’re just being cognizant of how good this team really
    is.

    Our best hope is still our draft picks.

  66. Even with Julius were making $30MM next year, we’d still have 45MM in cap space.

    you’re keeping everyone else’s salaries stagnant.

  67. The secret sauce isn’t very secret… you need elite players at the top and a quality supporting cast. Randle is not elite, but he can make a compelling argument to paid like he’s elite, and that will prevent us from getting someone who is elite.

    His age is not that important here, it’s his contract.

    I’m sorry, are you talking about the contract that he hasn’t signed yet?
    And so, fearing this contract that he hasn’t signed yet, you’d like to just send him out?

    This is what I think will happen.
    If Randle continues this play, then he is deserving of a gigantic raise, but I do not think he will get a max from anyone, including the Knicks. He’ll get paid something like 4 years $120MM like Gordon Hayward. If he’s continuing to put up these numbers, then that’s a fair contract, and will not prevent us from adding to the team. I guess the real question is if the Knicks are having extension discussions with him — ie. adding 3 years to the $20MM he’s already guaranteed next year at, say, 3 years $80MM, meaning it’d be in total a 4 year $100MM contract, and perhaps even have it be a declining contract – that would be a 4 year deal for basically his entire prime, and not much if any of his athletic decline. If you’re Randle, you’re locking in 100 freaking million dollars, playing for a team and coaching staff you love.

    I think that would be a good deal for both sides if and only if what the Knicks are seeing in practice measures up to what we’re seeing on the court (ie. 80% FT%, 40% 3P%). He’s obviously a very hard worker, seems like a great guy, has bonded with the team and the coaches. That’s the kind of guy you want to reward with a big contract… just not a max. (I’d prob even go up to 3 years 90M on the extension)

  68. Hubert: Our best hope is still our draft picks.

    But not necessarily as draft picks. Trades and free agent $ are probably the surest way forward.

    I’d also be open to trading Randle UP for a better player. But sending him out just to get more picks that just keeps us on this treadmill? That’s going backward.

  69. Here are the ages of the Knicks’ leaders in VORP:

    26, 22, 21, 26, 29, 22, 20

    It’s scary to be in this position, as one outstanding PG or point-capable win transforms this team into a prospective Semifinals team. What makes it scary is how bad the FA class is, this upcoming year. Really says something that I’m hoping Zach Lavine becomes available for conditional picks and some combination of Toppin, Knox and Frank before the Knicks give Lowry 3/$60M or Oladipo 4/$90.

    But not necessarily as draft picks. Trades and free agent $ are probably the surest way forward.

    Maybe. The Dallas pick still looks good, and Haliburton was there at #12 — a reasonable expectation for the Knicks’ own pick if some bad luck or unexpected regression goes their way. Remember that 2022 is going to have a shitton of high school prospects, so the normal scale of draft pick value will be all fucked up. The #10 could be like a #5 pick in normal years.

  70. Some people here make it seem like its so simple to acquire “elite” players. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this team needs to find more very good players like Randle. I’ll take a starting lineup filled with Julius Randle level players all day.

  71. I don’t get why people here don’t think that Beal has gotten better and is now a legit superstar. Is there any reason to believe that he can’t learn to play marginally better D and continue to be one of the best offensive players in the NBA?

    I get not wanting to sell the farm to get him…I don’t want Rose to do that either. What I don’t get is the thinking that he’s not a legit max player.

  72. My only complaint with Thibs is leaving the starters in at the end of blowouts, which is completely inexplicable.

    But as far as pulling Toppin or Quickley because they’re playing badly? Show me one coach in the NBA who doesn’t actually want to win games. I want to see the young guys play as much as anyone, but leaving Toppin in to get roasted on the defensive end, or Quickley when he’s 1-9 is not would I would consider that “developing the young talent”

  73. My intuition is to agree with the people saying we should run more plays for Obi, but it also reminds me a bit of the school of thought that Frank Ntilikina could be doing so much more if only he was more aggressive and/or his various coaches would let him. Obi might just have an acute sense of his own limitations, like it turns out Ntilikina did.

    I know it seems counterintuitive, but “really really good players” are often the hardest obstacles to overcome when building a championship team.

    The secret sauce isn’t very secret… you need elite players at the top and a quality supporting cast. Randle is not elite, but he can make a compelling argument to paid like he’s elite, and that will prevent us from getting someone who is elite.

    His age is not that important here, it’s his contract.

    I agree with this, but we also can’t say it’s a problem until, well, it actually becomes one. If the Knicks pay Randle at a rate that precludes them from getting elite players, it’ll become a problem. There’s still over a year before a decision really had to be made though. He might be traded, his play might fall off, or something else might happen that changes the calculus.

    We really just don’t know as of now how well the Knicks are handling the Randle situation.

  74. even in college obi was not known for being the guy who crossed over multiple people and made acrobatic dunks/layups over 3 dudes… obi got those dunks mostly off of passes that got him mostly wide open under the basket off a series of motion sets or in transition….

    what obi is really strong in is similar to mitch.. getting the ball in a position to score and finishing… obi just has a lot more options to do that….

    he’s being asked to do more than he did in college against much tougher comp which is working out about as well as you’d expect…. he needs competent pg play to unlock his potential…. or else if he’s not getting pnr opportunities or paint touches or getting the ball in motion… he has to go out to the 3pt line to generate offense… and he’s just not good at that…

    that’s probably going to remain true whether he plays 300 or 3000 minutes… you don’t really build an iso game in one offseason…. and the problem is that he’s already pretty old… and steve nash probably isn’t walking through that door for him….

    the good news is that he’s probably salvageable… it’s just tough to see it on this team…

  75. derrick rose is a thief of joy…he’s making me long for the austin rivers’ days…

    rose has been here now for 5 or so games, in at least 2 of them elf outplayed him by a bunch, and still thibs closed with rose…

  76. thenoblefacehumper: Unreasonable gripes:
    -Complaining about Bradley Beal trades that haven’t happened. At least wait until there’s something resembling a rumor.

    Is there really such a thing as an unreasonable gripe when you’re a Knicks fan? Hasn’t history taught us that its never too early to fret over the possibility that even the remotest worst case outcome may someday come to pass? Wasn’t it only a month or so ago that we were shrugging off the earliest whispers of a possible D Rose trade as just too absurd to believe? Until I’m convinced that this team’s basketball operations are no longer in the grip of James Dolan’s chubby fingers, I won’t be able to summarily dismiss any dire forecast, no matter how far fetched.

    Beal may not be the household name that Melo once was but he currently leads the Association in pointzzz per game. In the absence of a LeBron, Kawhi, Giannis, KD or any other household name currently on the market, that could be more than enough to arouse Dolan’s chronic starlust. I’d love nothing more than to dismiss the rumors – nebulous tho’ they may be – suggesting that WWWes is now working to bring Beal to NYC. What, exactly, is the skillset possessed by WWW that enticed the Knicks to bring him in as Executive VP and Senior Advisor in the first place? Near as I can tell, it’s his well documented access to the network of the league’s upper echelon of talent. I’d argue that the handwriting was on the wall for the team to make a “win-now” move with the hire of WWW last June followed by Thibs the following month. Those are hardly the front office moves of a team committed to a multi-year rebuild.

    Go ahead and mock this take as preposterous and overly gloomy if you will. That still won’t alter my belief that there’s such a thing as being too negative when you’re a long suffering Knicks fan.

  77. Since the Rose trade IQ has really been the odd man out. His minutes, other than last night, haven’t changed much but both his role and his importance to the team seem to be diminished. The biggest place you can see it is in his 2pt efficiency. Before the trade he was picking his spots better and was shooting 44% on 2pt shots after the trade he has shot 26%. He seems much more unsure of his role and that has caused some poor shot selection because he is getting the ball less and forcing more.

    Toppin has been mediocre but if you watch him play you can tell he has no role in the offense. He is often relegated to the corner and hanging out on the three point line, far away from the play. This seems more like coaching than inexperience. How can he be expected to do anything when he never touches the ball?

    Thibs is by no means succeeding with either of them and if the trends keep going how they are I wouldn’t be surprised if both are out of the rotation by the end of the season.

    Even RJ, who despite a couple forced shots was still out most effective player down the stretch yesterday, seems to be on a shorter leash and Thibs seems more and more quick to pull him for Burks or Rose.

  78. BigBlueAL:
    Some people here make it seem like its so simple to acquire “elite” players.I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this team needs to find more very good players like Randle.I’ll take a starting lineup filled with Julius Randle level players all day.

    BBA, there are 4 teams in NY & LA, and currently 7 elite players play for 3 of those teams. You take your team of Randles and have fun getting smoked by Durant, Harden, and Kyrie.

  79. What is the actual argument here? Put E aside, bc he’s just doing his thing.

    So BC pointed out that Thibs needs to play Game 7 minutes to eek out a win over a bad team. It’s just an observation, it’s not “doom and gloom”.

    I’m not mad Thibs is winning. I’m just wondering where all this goes. What’s the next move? If Giannis hadn’t signed an extension, I’d be feeling pretty good right now. But he did. And the next time a big free agent class is up, we’re going to have to be paying our top guys much more than they’re making now, so you can’t just chill, let them develop, and slide a guy into this core 2 years from now. So what’s next?

  80. Hubert:
    Other than this E guy, I don’t think anyone is really talking about Thibs being a problem. We’re just being cognizant of how good this team really
    is.

    Our best hope is still our draft picks.

    If our best hope is still our draft picks, which it is, it then becomes pretty clear why this E guy then says Thibs is a problem.

  81. You can win in the NBA with a lineup of very good players who aren’t elite. I mean as good as Giannis and Harden have been their teams have never made the NBA Finals. Ditto Chris Paul. Put together the best team you can and if it means we’re doomed to perennially winning 50 games and struggling to get out of the East that’s still a helluva improvement over the last 20 years. I’ll gladly take an extended run of the 2012-13 Knicks.

  82. Hubert: BBA, there are 4 teams in NY & LA, and currently 7 elite players play for 3 of those teams. You take your team of Randles and have fun getting smoked by Durant, Harden, and Kyrie.

    Well, regardless of whether we trade Randle for draft picks and tank our way to a 7-14% chance at Cade Cunningham, I think it’s fair to say the Knicks (and likely any team that doesn’t have LeBron James and Anthony Davis) will get smoked by Kyrie/Harden/Durant for as long as they are there.

    One should remember, though, that the way the Nets got Kyrie, Harden, and Durant was by doing basically what the Knicks are doing right now. Overperforming expectations, slow/steady improvement in the guys on the team, collect assets, then pouncing with cap space and those trade assets to get guys when they are available. What they DIDN’T do was trade their really good players because they might ask for a lot of money to get draft picks that’ll probably be late first rounders . And they also didn’t tank.

  83. BigBlueAL:
    You can win in the NBA with a lineup of very good players who aren’t elite.I mean as good as Giannis and Harden have been their teams have never made the NBA Finals.Ditto Chris Paul.Put together the best team you can and if it means we’re doomed to perennially winning 50 games and struggling to get out of the East that’s still a helluva improvement over the last 20 years.I’ll gladly take an extended run of the 2012-13 Knicks.

    Seems most likely the Miami Heat version of team-building is where we are headed. No one (significant) on their team was any higher than like the 12th pick. Then they pounced on Jimmy Butler when he became available and he took them to the next level.

    Just remember that it’s not super-common that a generational player picked at the top of the lottery takes their drafting team to the championship. You pretty much have to go back to guys like Duncan and Wade. Lebron won for the Cavs, but only on his 2nd time around there. Steph was a mid-lottery player. Nowitzki was #10 or some such thing. Paul Pierce was #10. Durant/Harden/Westbrook made it to the finals, but that was pretty much an unprecedented 3 years of drafting.

    *Note also that Duncan came as the result of total tankage by the Spurs in a year that David Robinson was hurt. It’s just not common that a good organization gets an extremely premium draft pick. And basically only good organizations get championships. So premium draft picks lose with their crappy drafting team, then get traded or sign with the good organization, then wins championships.

  84. ***the way the Nets got Kyrie, Harden, and Durant was by doing basically what the Knicks are doing right now… What they DIDN’T do was trade their really good players because they might ask for a lot of money to get draft picks that’ll probably be late first rounders***

    The Nets DID trade Brook Lopez, who was a fan favorite and a middle-aged NBA player that had just discovered how to shoot 3s, for younger assets. Lopez had value and was a good pro, but not a cornerstone to a championship team. Marks recognized this and took advantage of a big market team looking to dump salary. Rose can (potentially) do a similar thing with Randle. (The idea of buying low and selling high is lost on fans, who fall in and out of love so easily. As soon as a player has bolstered their value, we suddenly don’t want to trade them anymore, haha. It’s like when you buy an old El Camino just to be ironic, and the next thing you know, all the hipsters want one. Do you not sell it, just because it’s suddenly “cool” to own?)

  85. The question isn’t whether or not we should tank. The question is whether or not Thibs is more interested in developing our young players than winning meaningless games in February. The problem is he is not.

    You can see it with his substitution patterns. The second things start going south Thibs runs to the players he is comfortable with. He never lets our young players play through diversity. IQ has to play well to stay on the court while Payton and Rose get their minutes whether or not they are effective. It doesn’t matter if Obi is playing well because when our team struggles Thibs cannot get Randle back in fast enough.

    Ultimately this season doesn’t matter very much and we are not very good. We need every move, every substitution pattern, everything to be focused on the future and Thibs seems unable to do that. Treating every game like the playoffs works until you make the playoffs and other, better teams start matching your intensity. We are not developing a bench, we are not developing our young players, we are simply leaning on our best players as much as possible to squeeze every drop of advantage right now with no regard for the future.

  86. We’re just being cognizant of how good this team really is.

    But this isn’t what the team is going to be going forward. We have a bunch of draft picks and a bunch of cap space. If Elfrid Payton is our starting PG again next season, about 12 things will have gone horribly wrong all at once. The ceiling on this team is pretty low, but this season is just Phase 1 of whatever Rose’s master plan is: figure out who can play when you give them a competent coaching staff, and from there figure out who’s a long-term piece and who isn’t. Phase 2 is to surround the keepers with better players and/or ones who better complement their skillsets. (Had anyone realized what Randle was going to become, for instance, I have to believe Vassell or Hali would have been the pick at 8 instead of Obi.) We need better PG play and a fuckton more shooting to go along with some or all of the Randle/RJ/Mitch/Quickley group. If the offense still looks prehistoric and we’re still grinding out wins against terrible teams a year from now, then it’s fair to start talking about low ceilings. This is baby steps.

  87. Frank: One should remember, though, that the way the Nets got Kyrie, Harden, and Durant was by doing basically what the Knicks are doing right now.

    No! No it is not!

    The Nets, Clippers, Lakers all pulled this trick with a specific, franchise-transforming free agent in mind, one who was available within months. They had a goal and a plan.

    Without the free agent pot of gold, the Nets would be a perpetual 7 seed with an overpaid D’Angelo Russell playing with Jarrett Allen and Carais LeVert.

    We should be trying to avoid that, not aiming for it.

    Timing matters.

  88. What they DIDN’T do was trade their really good players because they might ask for a lot of money to get draft picks that’ll probably be late first rounders . And they also didn’t tank.

    This is a weird example because the Nets…did exactly this. D’Angelo Russell was essential helping them get to .500/the playoffs. There were also significant doubts about how useful he could be to an actual contender. Sure enough, they traded him for a pick instead of giving him a lot of money.

  89. Hubert: No!No it is not!

    The Nets, Clippers, Lakers all pulled this trick with a specific, franchise-transforming free agent in mind, one who was available within months. They had a goal and a plan.

    Without the free agent pot of gold, the Nets would be a perpetual 7 seed with an overpaid D’Angelo Russell playing with Jarrett Allen and Carais LeVert.

    We should be trying to avoid that, not aiming for it.

    Timing matters.

    I’m sorry – it totally is.
    They didn’t trade Russell 1 year before free agency hit. (meanwhile most people knew that Russell wasn’t good).
    They didn’t trade Caris Levert because he was up for a new contract – they actually signed him to one.
    They didn’t trade Jarrett Allen because they were worried that he’d be too good and would tank their draft position.

    They traded Russell when the time was right, and honestly would’ve just let him go in FA except the Dubs wanted a S&T.
    They traded Levert and Allen FOR the elite player – Harden. They didn’t trade them for parts and hope that those parts lucked into something greater against all odds.

    Sure, the Lakers signed Lebron, but they didn’t trade away any Randle-type players to get worse on purpose before doing so. They traded their young players for AD.

    The Clippers collected assets for years (not tanking, not trading good players for unknown draft picks) before pouncing at the right time for Kawhi, then TRADED their young assets (and draft picks) for PG.

    Find me the example of a team that traded an All-star caliber young player for flotsam without an actual plan and had that lack of plan actually work out for them in the end. (if your answer is Porzingis you win!)

  90. thenoblefacehumper: Sure enough, they traded him for a pick instead of giving him a lot of money.

    you are misremembering. They were happy to just let him walk in FA because they got Kyrie and Durant. They only traded him for a pick because GS was desperate to get something for losing Durant.

    The analogous situation would be them trading Russell (who sucks and is nowhere near as good as Randle has been this year) in 2018 for a late 1st round pick. And if they do that, then they’re probably not in the playoffs, and maybe Kyrie and Durant DON’T come to Brooklyn.

  91. Find me the example of a team that traded an All-star caliber young player for flotsam without an actual plan and had that lack of plan actually work out for them in the end. (if your answer is Porzingis you win!)

    This isn’t what they’re saying, though. They’re saying the Nets specifically did have a plan and actually available superstar targets in mind. Who, specifically, are we gunning for? If we don’t have a real answer, the current strategy loses a bit of luster.

  92. you are misremembering. They were happy to just let him walk in FA because they got Kyrie and Durant. They only traded him for a pick because GS was desperate to get something for losing Durant.

    It sounds like I remembered perfectly well. Russell played well for them and brought them to the playoffs. They made the correct calculation that there were better ways to spend a max slot, and thus didn’t want to re-sign him. It’s true they would’ve been happy to let him walk, but the important point is they didn’t just pay him because he had been the best player on a .500ish team. Sound familiar?

  93. we’re not misremembering, your analogy just blew up. Russell was to the Nets what Randle is to the Knicks right now. Young, really really good, helping the team get to respectability. But ultimately a stepping stone. You guys are talking about making the stepping stone the end game.

    And by the way, why do you keep bringing up tanking? For once, no one is saying we should tank. At most, people are arguing for a minutes distribution that more closely resembles an average NBA team than one playing in a game 7.

  94. You do not draft players because of their fit with Julius Randle as ringleader. That’s exactly what you don’t do and why this whole Julius Randle as ringleader thing needs to be cut off at the pass.

    And, yes, the Nets and DLo is a prime example of what “our” faction is talking about. The whole purpose of being a GM and a front office is constantly asking yourself, “Can I win big with this guy??” If the answer is no, you move on.

    Can you win big with Julius in this role? No, you can not. Next question is, “Is it worthwhile to put Julius in a reduced role and will that work????” The answer to this one, for a myriad of reasons, is also “No, it is not.” (Can you imagine a Bradley Beal trying to do his thing with Julius’s all too frequent passes to his teammates’ knees? Kind of a horrifying thought, we’d have to admit.) It’s certainly not Julius’s fault and the way he’s gone about his business this year is both professional and admirable, but that’s at the end of the proverbial day beside the point.

  95. D’Angelo Russell is nowhere near the player Randle is. I get the analogy but keeping Russell and maxing him out is way worse than doing so for the player Randle has become and hopefully remains in the future.

  96. I think what the Nets did was:

    1) try to find undervalued assets anywhere they could
    2) player development
    3) don’t let assets leave for nothing
    4) try and sign assets to team-friendly contracts

    Hubert’s plan seems to be that Randle will DEFINITELY ask for the max and so rather than even trying to get him on a team-friendly contract, we should trade him now, then proceed to tank the season (Hubert please correct me if I’m wrong, but I think I am right).

    I’m saying it is entirely possible that Randle will sign at the very least a neutral contract. Randle on a neutral or good contract could in principle be traded as part of a deal for, say, Devin Booker in a year or two. Or Randle could keep improving and actually be good enough to be a main guy on a contending team – prob will never be a top 10 player, but neither is Jimmy Butler and look what the Heat did last year.

    My guess is that any team that has a “superstar” that wants out will ask for an all-star level player, a promising young player, cap relief, and picks. It’s pretty hard to make a good offer if you keep trading your all-star level players away.

  97. Is Randle actually playing like a top ten player though? Aren’t Sabonis and Jokic doing the same things, but better, and I doubt all three of those guys are actually top ten.

    (Not meant as a knock on Randle – he’s exceeding all expectations and has won me over from last year. But top ten feels hyperbolic.)

  98. we need to extend everyone asap to beat the massive cap surge when topshot daily dollar volume tops the cboe

  99. Randle is something like a top-5 PF in the league right now. DRuss is around a top-20 PG.

    I’d much rather have Randle than DRuss.

    Also, Randle isn’t godawful on defense the way Russell is.

    Randle isn’t a top-10 player either, or anywhere close. However, I think Randle is a borderline max-player based on how he’s playing right now.

    He’s also our only decent player on offense and arguably looks better on a team that has another player resembling an offensive threat. On his good days IQ counts.

  100. Hubert:
    we’re not misremembering, your analogy just blew up. Russell was to the Nets what Randle is to the Knicks right now. Young, really really good, helping the team get to respectability.

    And by the way, why do you keep bringing up tanking? For once, no one is saying we should tank. At most, people are arguing for a minutes distribution that more closely resembles an average NBA team than one playing in a game 7.

    OK – Russell is not and was not really really good. He sucked and continues to suck. His best season on the Nets he shot worse from the field from every level than Randle, he had like 1.4 assists more per game despite being a G who handled the ball 95% of the time, and was a complete sieve on D. And even though he was like 45% of the player Randle is this year, they STILL did not trade him for whatever they could get for him before his FA came up (not clear what they would’ve done if KD/Kyrie did not come).

    Right now the Knicks are not building around Julius Randle, nor have we seen any evidence at all that they plan to draft or sign players with his specific skillset in mind. They need better guard play, and I assume that is where we are going to go both in the trade market and FA eventually. Or at least they better since it looks like Obi is a bit of a bust (certainly not a boom), and we don’t have any replacement for Randle.

    Re: Randle’s minutes, he’s averaging 36.8 minutes per game. There are 20 players in the league averaging 35+ minutes per game. Rj’s averaging 28 minutes in February and is 33.7 mpg for the year. Then there are 8 players averaging between 19 and 28 minutes per game.

    This does not seem like a game 7 minutes distribution.

    Just feels like people need to complain about something. I’m just happy to be rooting for a fun team again.

  101. Mike Honcho: Is Randle actually playing like a top ten player though? Aren’t Sabonis and Jokic doing the same things, but better, and I doubt all three of those guys are actually top ten.

    jokic has been waaaay better, different class.

    But yes, Sabonis’s numbers are remarkably similar to Randle, and he signed a 4 year ~80MM deal last year. That’s why I think all this worry about Randle demanding a max is completely overblown. Sabonis is the comp, and barring any crazy contracts being signed for bigs this summer, it’ll remain the closest comp.

  102. Mike Honcho:
    Is Randle actually playing like a top ten player though? Aren’t Sabonis and Jokic doing the same things, but better, and I doubt all three of those guys are actually top ten.

    Jokic is certainly top 10, and actually, yes: I would take Randle over Sabonis right now. Sabonis is certainly a better post player, and the passing is pretty similar. But if Randle’s 3pt #s (and his upgraded defense ) are for real, then he’s the more valuable player. He’s also a better ball handler and can somewhat lead a fast break.

    And as you may know, at one point this offseason, Indy supposedly wanted to move Turner so it could better feature Sabonis.

    In short: Randle is a pretty valuable player right now. Kudos to Scott Perry!

    *Edit: I should not that Sabonis is at least a year younger, which could be taken into consideration a bit

  103. Ricky Rubio looked pretty good last night.

    rubio was one of the “vet” point guards i was hoping to pick up this off-season…truth is though, he doesn’t look much better than elf right now, plus he’s making like 12 million more this year…

  104. Hubert’s plan seems to be that Randle will DEFINITELY ask for the max and so rather than even trying to get him on a team-friendly contract, we should trade him now, then proceed to tank the season (Hubert please correct me if I’m wrong, but I think I am right).

    I did not say that at all!!

    I am of the opinion that Randle will want to get paid on his next contract. It’s the biggest ticket he’ll ever have. But I would not trade him this season, and I would not tank.

    All I would do differently is play this season a little more normal, and a little less like game 7 of the finals.

  105. Randle is currently top-10 in VORP. HOWEVER, Randle has played significantly more games than others because the Knicks have had so few games cancelled.

    He’s currently played 3 more games than the players immediately behind him, 6 more games than Beal, & 8 more games than AD who are close behind too.

    So I don’t think VORP is indicative of his talent level. It’s valuable for the regular season, and there’s something said for being healthy, but in the playoffs you’d rather have the player with the higher BPM than VORP.

  106. I agree that Randle is playing better than Russell was that season, though it’s worth mentioning when you take positional scarcity into account it’s still possible Russell had more value.

    I also agree it’s not inevitable Randle gets the max, largely because of the same point regarding positional scarcity. There are contracts we could sign him to that might make him an asset.

    My only point is that we have to capitalize on Randle’s play in one of two ways:

    1) trade him
    2) sign him to a contract that makes him an asset

    Personally, I think the first option is more likely to succeed than the second. Regardless, we can’t let him walk for nothing because that would render all of these wins marginal, and in my view we can’t max/near-max him because that would make assembling a contender extremely hard.

  107. geo: rubio was one of the “vet” point guards i was hoping to pick up this off-season…truth is though, he doesn’t look much better than elf right now, plus he’s making like 12 million more this year…

    I think that he’s better than Payton and makes his teammates better. Who knows, we might actually be able to gain an asset by picking up his salary, while improving at the same time.

  108. It’s ridiculous talking about building around Randle when there’s a team across the river with Kyrie, Harden, AND Durant, jeez! Honestly, we should aim to peak when that window starts closing.

    I have no problem holding onto Randle. But Rose certainly needs to do whatever it takes to get a generational talent in his prime — whether Randle is around to play with him or not.

  109. The Nets have like a 2 year window with those 3. They’re record is whatever and their defense is suspect. For all we know, this time next year Kyrie wants out and they’re looking to blow it up.

    Comparing us to them and saying those names are why we shouldn’t build around Randle is some bush league whack ass sh*t that shouldn’t fly on a blog that takes itself seriously.

    No one is saying Randle is going to be the top dawg alpha first option on a championship team. Just that he can be one of the top players on a really good basketball team. He’s legit playing like a top 10 player right now and is 26.

    I mean a few years ago people thought LOL Lowry and Derozan are fake stars on a fake contending team and then they traded Derozan for Kawhi. Who’s to say Randle couldn’t eventually be flipped in 2 or 3 seasons for another super star? Or not. People are already trying to stop this thing before we even get it started because of some theoretical ceiling they’re afraid we won’t reach. Its beyond dumb.

  110. ess-dog:
    It’s ridiculous talking about building around Randle when there’s a team across the river with Kyrie, Harden, AND Durant, jeez! Honestly, we should aim to peak when that window starts closing.

    I have no problem holding onto Randle. But Rose certainly needs to do whatever it takes to get a generational talent in his prime — whether Randle is around to play with him or not.

    All the Nets can opt-out after next season, based on the combustible personalities involved I expect at least 1 if not all to jump ship. That’s the same year we need to make a final decision about Randle. So, this actually lines up pretty well.

    I don’t know who is advocating building around Randle as your 1A option, but he can certainly slot into that 2 or 3 role right now. We have the money and picks to make a play for a #1 option.

    The real issue is that none are FA’s this year (unless Kawhi makes the real head scratcher of opting out with the actual intent to leave LAC).

    Our best path forward is IQ or RJ improving to at least Randle-level players while hitting on both picks this year. Or hitting on 5/10 of our 2023 2nd round picks.

  111. Though D’Angelo Russell was a left handed young player brought to NYC as a stop-gap for a rebuilding franchise who learned to shoot the NBA 3pter consistently and thus made his first all star appearance for a weak eastern conference, I don’t think it’s an apples-to-apples comp with Randle. Russell wasn’t a factor in BK landing Durant or any of their Big 3. He was traded for Durant out of convenience, not necessity. They could have signed Durant and just let Russell walk. He wasn’t turned into future assets.

    It was Lopez who is the Randle comp in the Nets rebuild. He was a popular player, who was adapting to the modern NBA but was still, ultimately, expendable in the long term vision for the team. He was cashed in for younger assets. That’s really the first step of any successful rebuild. You can’t plan for a hall of famer inexplicably jumping ship to play for you. When it happens, great, but in the meantime, deal your non-essential parts for a diversity of future assets (like Marks did).

  112. I think Collins is pretty similar as well and I think that is the contract to watch. If he gets 20-25 million then that is probably the ballpark for Randle but if he gets maxed then Randle will probably expect the same.

    I for one would rather have Collins, he needs the ball less to be effective, has a much longer track record as a three point shooter, and is younger. Defensively they are similar, Randle is a bit better but Collins is every bit as good or even better than Randle was at the same age.

    Randle is very good but I think we are overrating him quite a bit. He might not even make the all-star team and it wouldn’t be a snub. He is a borderline all-star. Top 30-50 player.

    He is better than Russell but he plays a much less important position so I don’t know if he has considerably more value.

  113. Ben R: I for one would rather have Collins, he needs the ball less to be effective, has a much longer track record as a three point shooter, and is younger. Defensively they are similar, Randle is a bit better but Collins is every bit as good or even better than Randle was at the same age.

    Everything I’ve heard is that Collins is atrocious on defense, otherwise he’s a surefire max contract. Seemingly, ATL doesn’t even want him.

    Also, Collins gets Trae Young passing him the ball. Randle has effectively nobody passing him the ball. If we get Collins, then we need another player who can create for him.

  114. Collins is better finishing, but can’t / doesn’t pass the ball at all and is supposed to be terrible on defense.

    Brook Lopez was fine, but at even a worse position in terms of value than Randle. Also could not pass at all, and when in Brooklyn was thought to be a very subpar defender.

    It’s just hard to find any situation in which people would “move on” from a guy that legitimately should be in the MVP conversation (like 6th place, but somewhere in there) given his #s and how important he is to the team just because he isn’t a super duper star, especially when there isn’t a Supermax staring them in the face (a la Cousins in Sac).

    The only one I can think of is Porzingis, which honestly has turned out reasonably well. But Randle isn’t a malcontent, doesn’t really have injury concerns, and while not a shot blocker, is a better perimeter defender than KP and greatly superior on the offensive end.

  115. Randle also had a reputation of being a bad defender. I think big men who cannot protect the rim get bad reputations defensively. Since so many teams want to play one big having a true PF like Randle or Collins or Sabonis or even Toppin seems like a liability since none of them can play the 5 defensively for long stretches.

    I think Atlanta is hesitating giving Collins a max contract because true PFs haven’t been max players lately and I believe there is a bit of drama between Collins and Young. I don’t think defense is a huge part of it except the fact he cannot play the five.

    I think they are all fine defensively when paired with a good center. Toppin not yet but should be okay in time.

  116. Randle has made a gargantuan leap across the board this season, especially his defense. I’m not going to bet on Collins making that same leap on defense because I never bet on players stepping up their defense.

    I don’t think Randle was ever viewed as truly awful on defense either. He wasn’t good, but that’s not how people talk about Collins.

  117. Julius is a nice player. He’s never actually been the proverbial “one of the top players on a really good team,” so the only way to get there is by projecting him there and once we’re in the projection game, it’s just as easy (and IMO more persuasive) to project him as someone who really can’t be. In any event, it’s a risk I’d much rather slough off on some other team rather than take myself.

    He can be the top player on a meh team, as he is now — that he’s proven. His ability to fit into a more secondary role in which he routinely plays winning basketball on both ends with the ball in his hands far less is very, very much an open question. Again, some other team can take that risk.

    This is the kind of thing that happens when you just bumble around in the dark throwing your money at whomever is desperate enough to take it, as the Knicks did in the summer of 2019. You wind up with corned beef hash only with spam instead of corned beef. And then everyone goes, “Hey, be happy — at least it’s not five-day-old liver and onions!!!”

  118. I haven’t watched every minute of every game, but I also can’t think of many moments where Randle has looked outright bad on defense. It helps that the team has Mitch, Noel, or Toppin to guard the opponents’ best big man, but I’ve also seen Randle fighting effectively through screens, and even directing traffic on the defensive end of the court. He’s not much of a shotblocker, and not a stopper, but nor does he worry me on that end. He’s been more than fine defensively, especially given how much he’s meant to our offense.

  119. FWIW, to Ben R’s point, a quick survey of RPM, 3yr-RAPM, & RAPTOR says John Collins is actually an above average defender. So perhaps he gets a bad rap because ATL sucks on D in general. Or perhaps ATL sucks so bad on D that Collins looks good by comparison according to these stats.

    It’s a weird divergence between scouting/eye-test & numbers.

  120. The one time Julius played a more secondary role with better players on a team with actual expectations — the Pellies with AD and Jrue — it was basically a shitshow disaster. Not exactly the thing that fills one with confidence.

  121. E, all merc’d out:
    The one time Julius played a more secondary role with better players on a team with actual expectations — the Pellies with AD and Jrue — it was basically a shitshow disaster.Not exactly the thing that fills you with confidence.

    If you ever want to stop beating a strawman, then I’d be happy to engage.

  122. There have been two primary issues with Randle’s defense.

    The first has been his inability to play the five. He cannot protect the rim and when he has called on to play the five for longer stretches it has not gone well. Luckily that is not really an issue for us.

    The second issue, in the past, has been effort. He has had quite a reputation of laziness and not finishing defensive plays and not staying engaged especially off-ball. So far this season this hasn’t been much of an issue, he is working harder and seemingly having less lapses of effort or concentration. Maybe this is improvement or coaching but I have a hard time completely trusting it. Sometime lazy players get better, sometimes they temporarily improve and then once established get lazy again. He actually reminds me of Carmelo a bit. He can be good on defense (at the 4) but isn’t consistently at least over his career and I don’t know if we can trust him long term to stay consistently engaged.

    If you google his defense there is lots of stuff about both his inability to play the five and his defensive laziness from his time in LA, NO, or even last year.

  123. If it’s just going to be more apologies and rationalizations and blaming other people, it’s probably not worth the time. There’s just nothing there in his career that should really give anyone any confidence that he can play a more secondary role on a really good team. He might in fact be able to, but nothing to date would reasonably lead one to that conclusion, other than just wishcasting. If we want to be fans and we like the guy, go ahead and wishcast; it’s part of the fun and enjoyment of being a fan and I’ve certainly done a bunch of it myself over the years and I’m probably guilty of it on KB sometimes. If we want to be hardened armchair objective GMs though, there’s just very little there on which to base the projection and it’s not even remotely worth the risk.

    The record is:

    1. He didn’t even want to play with LBJ in LA and so asked out. LA quickly obliged.
    2. He went to the Pellies for a year, had AD and Jrue as running mates and it was a disaster.
    3. He came to the Knicks and has played the initiator on first a godawful and then a meh team.

    That’s the record. Red flags positively ablaze. You can even add:

    4. He’s playing to get paid.

  124. “Hey, be happy — at least it’s not five-day-old liver and onions!!!”

    ahhhh, making another grocery list (i wonder if there’s anyone else out there whom gets as jazzed as myself to go grocery shopping :) – will need to include some liverwurst…

    probably couldn’t pay most people to eat it, but – my nana hooked me on liverwurst, bread & butter pickles, with gulden’s spicy brown mustard, on toast sandwiches…

  125. Randle seems to be a good example of how you can coach somebody up on defense if they’re athletic enough and have a desire to compete on that end. There’s no reason why a strong and relatively agile guy like Randle shouldn’t be at least a passable defender.

    He’ll never be a plus defender because he doesn’t protect the rim, but he has held his own enough on defense. This year he hasn’t made lots of bad mistakes, and he has competed, and the results have been good.

  126. The complaints about Randle amaze me. Of course things could go wrong, but at the moment it’s his play that is making the Knicks a playoff team. There aren’t many players in the NBA that can do that and when you get one you try to keep him.

    As for Toppin, to my surprise, I find myself one pessimist posters here. I’m usually an optimist. I’d love to be proved wrong, but I think he’s not scoring on the inside because he can’t do it against NBA players. He can make a fancy dunk if there’s a nice opening, but he can’t create the opening and those openings don’t come along often.

  127. I’ve also seen Randle fighting effectively through screens, and even directing traffic on the defensive end of the court. He’s not much of a shotblocker

    seems like overall as a team we “slap down at the ball” (the melo defense) a lot less this season…

    had this thought about a week or so regarding our team’s defense – doesn’t seem like we take a lot of charges or get many steals…

    just off the top of your head – could anyone guess at whom leads our team in charges taken?

  128. Game 7 Cle-GS

    Lebron played 46:49
    Kyrie played 43

    Draymond 46:34
    Klay 42:17
    Steph 39:16

    The only Knick who played a ton of minutes last game was Randle at 39, and that’s been true all season. Thibs has maybe been playing Randle too much this season. Are Nets fans killing clueless neophyte Steve Nash because fat James Harden leads the league in minutes per game? There’s nobody else on the Knicks playing more than 34 minutes a night. I think you can validly criticize how Thibs has divvied up the minutes-Payton is probably playing too many because he’s been bad and IQ has been surprisingly good, and maybe he could give the young guys who probably suck some spot minutes, but we at least so far the fear we had that Thibs was going to run the starters into the ground hasn’t been justified.

  129. I don’t understand the hysteria over the Knicks. Continuing to scream “BUT THEY MIGHT DO SOMETHING STUPID” at this point is just overlooking the facts. We have the best cap situation in the league, we grabbed a good player in three consecutive drafts (Quickley, Robinson, and Barrett), we have a coach who knows how to win games, and we didn’t sell low on Julius Randle who currently leads the Knicks in points, rebounds, assists, and minutes. I’m sorry, but you can’t give Obi Toppin 25 minutes a night when Julius Randle is playing this well. He can’t play center, but hopefully he’s learning and his stats aren’t Anthony Bennett bad so there’s still hope for him.

    We didn’t trade for CP3, we didn’t trade for Westbrook, we got outbid for Gordon Hayward (who is playing well) because the Hornets way overpaid, we didn’t trade for John Wall, and we didn’t go all out on a Harden offer. We traded two lottery tickets for Derrick Rose, and that’s a move that may have short term benefits but is likely to be inconsequential.

    The way I see it, the Knicks are an upgrade over Payton, Bullock, and to a lesser extent RJ Barrett (because he’s not even 21 yet and I expect big jumps from him at least by the end of next year) away from being serious contenders in the Eastern Conference. You add Lonzo Ball and Moses Moody to these Knicks in the off season and you’re cooking with gas.

  130. Knick fan not in NJ: The complaints about Randle amaze me. Of course things could go wrong, but at the moment it’s his play that is making the Knicks a playoff team.

    Stephon Marbury made us a playoff team once.

  131. The one time Julius played a more secondary role with better players on a team with actual expectations — the Pellies with AD and Jrue — it was basically a shitshow disaster.Not exactly the thing that fills you with confidence.

    I hate to play defense counsel for Mr. Randle, but here we are:

    (1) Davis missed 26 games.
    (2) Holiday missed 15 games.
    (3) The #4 through #16 minutes players for the Pelicans (accounting for about 67% of all available NOP minutes), and their respective BPMs. I will put boldface on those with a positive BPM:

    Darius Miller, -2.9
    E’Twaun Moore, -2.3
    Elfrid Payton, -1.4
    Frank Jackson, -4.6
    Kenrich Williams, -1.9
    Ian Clark, -5.1
    Jah Okafor, -1.5
    Mirotic, 1.4
    Tim Frazier, -1.3
    Cheick Diallo, -0.9
    Solomon Hill, -3.6
    Wes Johnson, -3.1
    Stanley Johnson, -4.5
    Christian Wood, 0.9 (189 MP)
    Dairis Bertans, -8.8 BPM

    Man, Randle really sunk that team!

  132. The question of where Randle fits in to the rebuild quandary is legit. I think E’s take is off-putting in it it’s level of cynicism, but sure, how much to pay him and for how long relative to his actual on-court value is a very tough call.

    But all I know is, he’s gone from a guy who everyone here couldn’t wait to dump to a guy we’re even having a serious conversation about in pretty short order. He’s the only reason we don’t have like 7 wins right now. Aesthetics aside, he is surely playing like a true max player who can be part of a big 3. He has a bunch of ways to score in big spots, and his passing would mesh well with a couple of stars. His teammates love him and seem to look up to him. He seems to have connected with the coaches and with the media. And the dude has absolutely no help on the floor, none. Without him, we’re by far the worst team in the league and it isn’t even close. Who’s out second best player in terms of if he went down would be tough to replace? Tell you what, for all the shit he gets, it might be Elfrid fucking Payton. This is a team of the scrubbiest scrubs in the league and Randle is carrying them on his back.

    Look on the ESPN schedule page. He has led the team in points, rebounds and assists in 13 games, in 2 of the three categories in another 13. And he’s doing it while passing the ball and trying to make his teammates better. His usage% is the same 27% it has been for the past 2 years.

    All I can say is that he’s wearing that #30 well. Any guy that is prepared every night to play that hard and that well for that many minutes can be on my team any time. He’s not a top-10 player, but he’s a durable, tough, rugged badass with an expanding skillset. He’s an excellent problem to have.

  133. He went to the Pellies for a year, had AD and Jrue as running mates and it was a disaster.

    pels played 834 mins with AD, Jrue and Randle on the floor and they were +8.75 per 100.

  134. The Honorable Cock Jowles: I hate to play defense counsel for Mr. Randle, but here we are:

    (1) Davis missed 26 games.
    (2) Holiday missed 15 games.
    (3) The #4 through #16 minutes players for the Pelicans (accounting for about 67% of all available NOP minutes), and their respective BPMs. I will put boldface on those with a positive BPM:

    Darius Miller, -2.9
    E’Twaun Moore, -2.3
    Elfrid Payton, -1.4
    Frank Jackson, -4.6
    Kenrich Williams, -1.9
    Ian Clark, -5.1
    Jah Okafor, -1.5
    Mirotic, 1.4
    Tim Frazier, -1.3
    Cheick Diallo, -0.9
    Solomon Hill, -3.6
    Wes Johnson, -3.1
    Stanley Johnson, -4.5
    Christian Wood, 0.9 (189 MP)
    Dairis Bertans, -8.8 BPM

    Man, Randle really sunk that team!

    (5) Alvin Gentry was the coach

  135. i don’t get the no G-league time decision for frank…what’s wrong with sending frank to the G-league to get some time on the court?

  136. Like all citizens in the dock, Mr. Randle deserves a competent defense. And he received one to be sure. But as a matter of law, “it’s everybody else’s fault” isn’t a valid defense to the charge.

    The lineup data is just brutal. Holiday, Davis, and Julius together were only a plus-2.9; Randle with AD, a mere plus-1.8. The other guys’ BPMs isn’t an independent variable; it’s directly dependent on how well Randle, AD, Jrue are clicking. They were perfectly fine the previous year with Boogie swapped in for Julius.

    It just didn’t work for Julius with Jrue and AD. Guilty as charged. (Thus, his ready availability to the Knicks on short money.) Might a secondary role work for Julius in the future? Anything’s possible. Not worth the risk, clearly not worth the money.

  137. The thing is, Randle is not that player any more, so why talk about who he was 3-4 years ago? He’s clearly improved. He’s also a terrible match with AD…they prety much occupy the same space. He could be an excellent match with LaVine or Beal or McCollum and another star wing or PG.

  138. pels played 834 mins with AD, Jrue and Randle on the floor and they were 8.75 per 100.

    The lineup data is just brutal. Holiday, Davis, and Julius together were only a plus-2.9; Randle with AD, a mere plus-1.8.

    ???

    The other guys’ BPMs isn’t an independent variable; it’s directly dependent on how well Randle, AD, Jrue are clicking.

    Like half the guys on that list are out of the league and the other half (excluding Wood) are 12th men. But yeah, okay.

  139. Collins’ max is a lot less than Randle’s max. In 2022 Randle will be a 7 year vet and will be eligible to make $38,000,000 a year, almost $9mil more than Collins can make in the first year of his next deal. (Same for the Sabonis comp). Besides, NBA agents and front offices don’t usually make salary comps based on BPM and VORP. They base them on things like all star selections, of which Randle may have a few by the time he’s negotiating his next deal (Collins won’t, but like Sabonis, he’ll have all star incentives that will kick in, making the contract more expensive than the initial perception).

  140. I don’t understand the hysteria over the Knicks.

    There is literally zero hysteria. Just some reasonable disagreement over how satisfied we should currently be.

    Continuing to scream “BUT THEY MIGHT DO SOMETHING STUPID” at this point is just overlooking the facts.

    Did they draft Obi Toppin or is that not a fact any more?

  141. There is literally zero hysteria. Just some reasonable disagreement over how satisfied we should currently be.

    Yeah the whole “I CAN’T BELIEVE ANYONE IS COMPLAINING” shtick is tired. We’re trying to figure out how this team can go from .500ish to something better than that. That’s…eminently sensible and normal. The only person being irrational is E because when he digs in on something he ain’t being budged, but that’s just him.

    To clarify my view of Randle’s potential role on a contender, it’s obviously not true that he could never play a role on a contending team. Tons of players way worse than Randle have done just that. That’s not the question though, the question is could he do so while also providing value relative to his share of the salary cap? If the answer is no, that makes the already tall task of building a contender that much more difficult.

    My concern is once you’re approaching contention, you almost definitely have a player more worthy of being your primary playmaker than Randle. This means you lose a lot of the value he provides as a playmaker, and suddenly looks a lot like the bigs who tend to be available on the cheap. The problem is he’s demonstrated he has those playmaking abilities and will (rightfully) expect to be compensated for them, even if they won’t be utilized on a good team.

    So you’re paying for skills you’re not getting, and what’s left over is basically strong rebounding (easy to find on the cheap), and high-ish usage/high-ish efficiency scoring (not as easy to find on the cheap as rebounding, but you can get something reasonably close to it for a lot less than I think Randle will command).

  142. thenoblefacehumper:

    To clarify my view of Randle’s potential role on a contender, it’s obviously not true that he could never play a role on a contending team. Tons of players way worse than Randle have done just that. That’s not the question though, the question is could he do so while also providing value relative to his share of the salary cap? If the answer is no, that makes the already tall task of building a contender that much more difficult.

    My concern is once you’re approaching contention, you almost definitely have a player more worthy of being your primary playmaker than Randle. This means you lose a lot of the value he provides as a playmaker, and suddenly looks a lot like the bigs who tend to be available on the cheap. The problem is he’s demonstrated he has those playmaking abilities and will (rightfully) expect to be compensated for them, even if they won’t be utilized on a good team.

    So you’re paying for skills you’re not getting, and what’s left over is basically strong rebounding (easy to find on the cheap), and high-ish usage/high-ish efficiency scoring (not as easy to find on the cheap as rebounding, but you can get something reasonably close to it for a lot less than I think Randle will command).

    It’s true that if we had a better playmaker at point guard, Randle would do less playmaking. But it’s also true that if he can continue to shoot threes accurately, he’ll still be a valuable player. He would be more valuable than Morris or Hayward for example. Those two make good salaries. I think we can pay Randle quite a bit more than he’s getting and he’s still worth it even if we also get a good playmaker to go with him.

  143. I think we need to figure out how to play him at the 5, be willing to try some of the things Denver’s done with Jokic to make up for his defensive shortcomings. If you could put Randle at the 5 with 4 other playmakers and shooters, you could have a pretty darn good team.

    I’d like to see some lineups with Randle, Quickley, Barrett and two shooters.

  144. Hubert: I’d like to see some lineups with Randle, Quickley, Barrett and two shooters.

    And I’d like a pony!

    However, I come here not to bury Randle, but to praise Noel. I give him shit, and rightfully so, for his tiny baby hands, but I was watching him dig in and defend against KAT late in the game yesterday and I was mighty impressed. He was fighting for everything, and mostly in the the right place, and when the Knicks got burned a few times it was because others screwed up and Noel tried to make up for it.

    I appreciate Taj’s experience and smarts, but he’s a medium-sized, old, ground-bound power forward forced to play center. Noel and Mitch are godsends, and that’s why I’d be hesitant to play Randle much at the 5 outside of certain match-ups.

    Of course in those cases we still need to find those two shooters to put around him…

  145. i don’t think we have a lineup that can succeed with randle at the 5, bc we don’t have a jerami grant or millsap type player who can space a little while still being a plus defender helping to mitigate randle’s deficiencies as a defensive 5. i sympathize with thibs’ desperation to replace mitch with another big bc randle is just too porous as the main paint help defender to not kill your team, even on max effort. it’s hard to get those sorts of guys. i wonder if zach collins might be an affordable flier next year given the horrendous start to his career. i would love obi to be that guy but i don’t think obi is that guy.

  146. I like Randle. I think he is a very good player and I was very happy when we signed him. I think Randle can totally be a part of a good competitive team as long as he is the #2 or #3 option. With that said I think where we are as a team moving him for assets is a better move today. If we got a good young player and a decent mid-teens pick for him and lost a bit more this year and got a higher pick that would be a good thing. But that’s not happening so I am totally fine moving forward with Randle.

    My bigger problems are with Thibs. I think he is doing us zero favors trying so hard to squeeze every possible win out of this roster. Thibs seems unable to take his foot off the gas for even a second and because of that, he will never be the coach to develop young players. Barrett is getting good minutes but playing with multiple non-shooters and a ball-dominant forward is not helping maximize his development. We are doing nothing to expand Robinson’s game, in fact, we are running far fewer plays designed to get him the ball near the rim. We have completely blown up IQ’s role on this team getting Rose and he has definitely struggled since. Toppin has been relegated to such a small role it is inevitable that he would struggle. Knox is back on the bench and Frank hasn’t played at all. You have to be willing to live with some mistakes, bad defense, and sloppy play if you are committed to developing your young players and bench. Right now, midseason is when you do that.

    Is this what we want, a not even .500 team winning on the backs of Randle, who is part of the future, and a cast of veteran castoffs who aren’t? I still believe, even with Randle’s emergence, our future is tied to Barrett if he becomes a legit star we are in good shape but if he fails to develop then we are a bottom scraping team with or without Randle. Furthermore, our long-term potential also rides with IQ, Robinson, and to a lesser extent Toppin and whatever we can get out of Knox and Frank.

  147. i don’t think we have a lineup that can succeed with randle at the 5, bc we don’t have a jerami grant or millsap type player who can space a little while still being a plus defender helping to mitigate randle’s deficiencies as a defensive 5.

    I agree. I tried to put the lineup together myself and kept getting stuck at the 5th guy. I wish it could be Toppin or Knox, but unlikely.

    But I’d still try it and get information before the off-season. If it looks promising, we should make finding that missing piece our priority.

  148. mmmmmm, maybe it’s getting close to another food thread for us…E’s talk of liverwurst sandwiches has got me thinking on my very favorite sandwiches of all time…

    there’s a lot of sexy sandwiches out there like a meatball sub or roast beef french dip – but, gonna go with a classic and fairly simple BLT (with turkey) on toasted french bread…great textures and not overfilling at all…

    top that if you can…

  149. At this point, Randle deserves a share of the creating duties even on a contending team. Are there any teams that have a #1 option that does 100% of the creation? Maybe MIL? Even HOU had CP3 & Westbrook to help Harden.

  150. geo:

    does the cheese or bread used really matter?

    absolutely. the possibilities are endless. I usually go with a whole wheat sourdough and jarlsberg, gruyere, or cheddar. But you can try (almost) anything.

  151. Hubert: Did they draft Obi Toppin or is that not a fact any more?

    Unless you have some other numbers backing you up, Obi Toppin’s rookie season to this point has been perfectly acceptable for a mid lottery guy. He can’t get minutes because the guy in front of him is an All Star, and to this point both Randle and Toppin are really only playable at power forward. I’m perfectly okay with taking a wait and see approach there (with regards to how we end up managing both as assets and how Toppin develops) and I definitely don’t believe Toppin has been a train wreck on the court. If you want to lambast the pick because we should have taken Halliburton, you have to note that we landed a comparable player to Halliburton much later in the 1st round which was absolutely a part of our draft strategy. All in all, I do not believe taking Toppin was a dumb decision or even a bad one.

  152. Hubert: I agree. I tried to put the lineup together myself and kept getting stuck at the 5th guy. I wish it could be Toppin or Knox, but unlikely.

    But I’d still try it and get information before the off-season. If it looks promising, we should make finding that missing piece our priority.

    HOU is open to trading PJ Tucker, who is also a FA after this year. RoCo is a FA in 2 yrs, the same time as Randle. There’s potentially ways to make it work.

    If only we had grabbed Batum off waivers… or signed him…

    Also, Christian Wood Randle would be the best front court in the league until the Lakers decide to stop being cute and play AD at C.

  153. Also, two guys I’d look to pair with Randle long term are Jared Vanderbilt and Mo Bamba. Bamba’s a plus defender and rebounder, plus he can score at all three levels of the court. Vanderbilt, another ex-Wildcat, is a switchable defender that plays in the dunker spot on offense. Vanderbilt should be a good buy-low option for the Knicks this summer, and Bamba could probably be had for Knox and a 2nd round pick at this point.

  154. i think there’s still some more upside with randle to not entirely dismiss him as something like a second piece of a really good team…. he’s being asked to be the best player on a soso team which is sort of depressing his efficiency but if you’re trying to picture him on a really good team he’s the type of guy who could be much more efficient since we’ve seen already seen a lower usage version of him…

    you combine new orleans version of randle in 2p territory and 2021 version of randle with his 3p shooting and passing and you legitimately have a 5+ bpm player … if we get better pg play or just better overall offensive play around him where he’s not iso’ing half the time that should catapult his 2p numbers where he’s not shooting so much midrange from a triple threat position…

    even all that aside… randle works extremely hard… and much like jimmy butler you’d be hardpressed to put a cap on guys who work as hard as they do…. or another way to look at it is.. are you going to bet on randle or some other random late first rd pick that you were going to trade for him?

  155. thenoblefacehumper: Yeah the whole “I CAN’T BELIEVE ANYONE IS COMPLAINING” shtick is tired.

    This is an oversimplification. It’s more “I CAN’T BELIEVE ANYONE DOESN’T GET THAT ONCE THIBS WAS HIRED, CERTAIN THINGS BECAME IMPOSSIBLE AND THERE’S NO USE COMPLAINING ABOUT WHAT IS IMPOSSIBLE, ESPECIALLY WHEN THE TEAM IS SORT OF DOING WELL AND IS IN A GREAT POSITION TO DO SMART THINGS THAT WORK.”

    We can debate what those moves are, given the playing field. That includes things like whether we should sign or trade Randle, whether we should trade for Beal, etc. That does NOT include things like not playing Payton, playing Obi over Taj, developing players by letting them play through their mistakes in extended minutes. etc., because those things simply have zero chance of happening while Thibs is coach. Zero. That’s the schtik that’s tired, and really, only one poster is dug in there. No one is “continually” saying “I can’t believe anyone is complaining!” BBA has said it, but he only posts on occasion.

    It would be like taking a trip to Florida and constantly complaining that the downhill skiing was terrible. Expecting Thibs to change his rotation towards anything but what he thinks gives him the best chance of winning is like expecting a Paricutin event in Tallahassee.

  156. Why are so many people so convinced that playing to win is somehow detrimental to the young guys’ development? What’s wrong with training guys to be at 100% for every second they’re on the court?

    I think Thibs is showing a great deal of restraint by keeping IQ’s minutes in check and good judgement keeping obi on a short leash. I wish frank and Knox had the same treatment in their rookie years

    When people talk about a “developmental” coach, do you just mean a guy you like even though he does’t win basketball games?

  157. The Glass Half Rebuilt: Unless you have some other numbers backing you up, Obi Toppin’s rookie season to this point has been perfectly acceptable for a mid lottery guy.

    Maybe for a 19-20yo but not for the oldest guy in the upper first round. It wasn’t a reach per se, but the problems he is having on both ends were clearly defined in the “weaknesses” section of most reputable scouting reports. Obviously way too soon to pass final judgment, and you might argue that spending an entire off-season doing whatever Julius did might help his game for next year. But the clock is ticking faster for him than the 19yo’s for sure.

  158. absolutely. the possibilities are endless. I usually go with a whole wheat sourdough and jarlsberg, gruyere, or cheddar. But you can try (almost) anything.

    hmmmm, no ham, huh…just cheese and bread with some butter on the outside…no dipping “sauce” (like mustard, mayo or ranch) with it…

    simple and minimal, tasty enough though…

  159. This version of Julius Randle can absolutely be the 2nd best player on a contender. If you put Julius Randle in Portland, Denver, or Utah you could argue he’d be their second best player and those teams would be 55-60 win locks in a normal 82 game season.

  160. Fetch: Why are so many people so convinced that playing to win is somehow detrimental to the young guys’ development?

    I think thfh’s take is perfectly logical…not what he would do, but not enough evidence to determine whether he is right or wrong. But it seems to work for Toronto, SA, and some others.

    Or you could just draft better players who are ready to play more like Hali or Herro or Mitchell or SGA or Mikal…

  161. Z-man: Maybe for a 19-20yo but not for the oldest guy in the upper first round. It wasn’t a reach per se, but the problems he is having on both ends were clearly defined in the “weaknesses” section of most reputable scouting reports. Obviously way too soon to pass final judgment, and you might argue that spending an entire off-season doing whatever Julius did might help his game for next year. But the clock is ticking faster for him than the 19yo’s for sure.

    I get this and I fully agree with that. If he’s not league average by next year, he’s pretty much finished as a pro. I’m not so quick to draw conclusions on him though just because Julius Randle has been a top 25 player in the league this year according to BPM and top 15 according to VORP. That’s a bigger reason for Toppin’s low minute count than his skills, I think.

  162. The Glass Half Rebuilt: That’s a bigger reason for Toppin’s low minute count than his skills, I think.

    True, but Obi’s matador D is not something Thibs is gonna let cost him wins. It’s game 7, remember? (omg KAT incinerated him so bad on one play that Randle might as well brought an urn when he subbed back in)

  163. geo: hmmmm, no ham, huh…just cheese and bread with some butter on the outside…no dipping “sauce” (like mustard, mayo or ranch) with it…

    simple and minimal, tasty enough though…

    pastrami….rye…mustard…boom

  164. Z-man:
    Looks like Dallas is resting KP…front end of b2b, 4 games in 6 days.

    That must be why they’re controlling against Memphis tonight

  165. geo: hmmmm, no ham, huh…just cheese and bread with some butter on the outside…no dipping “sauce” (like mustard, mayo or ranch) with it…

    simple and minimal, tasty enough though…

    you have to cook it in the butter, geo. Throw some high quality, unsalted, grass-fed butter into a cold pan. Put it on medium-low heat til it oxidizes, drop the sandwich into the brown butter, and cook until the bread is crispy and the cheese is gooey.

    You can add things to it if you want, but to me that’s a perfect sandwich. Goes great with a thick tomato soup.

  166. ***This is an oversimplification. It’s more “I CAN’T BELIEVE ANYONE DOESN’T GET THAT ONCE THIBS WAS HIRED, CERTAIN THINGS BECAME IMPOSSIBLE ***

    Seriously, Thibs and his lifelong obsession with winning regular season games aside, any coach in the world wants to win games, not just because it’s the way they are programmed, but because they understand that they will lose their jobs if they don’t. There are a few exceptions to this at the NBA level. Pops can safely rebuilt if he wants to and not worry about being fired by Buford. And Brett Brown under Hinkie. But pretty much everybody else is hired to win the games and fired if they don’t. (In fact, yesterday you and others were discussing SVG not utilizing his roster for maximum wins, when, in reality, NO is probably providing a much longer leash, as they can afford to be patient with their young roster, are playing in a much much much more competitive conference, and the owner can’t afford to absorb a four year dead weight contract like Dolan can). So, yeah, blaming Thibs for trying to win is a total waste of blametime.

  167. Z-man: This is an oversimplification. It’s more “I CAN’T BELIEVE ANYONE DOESN’T GET THAT ONCE THIBS WAS HIRED, CERTAIN THINGS BECAME IMPOSSIBLE AND THERE’S NO USE COMPLAINING ABOUT WHAT IS IMPOSSIBLE, ESPECIALLY WHEN THE TEAM IS SORT OF DOING WELL AND IS IN A GREAT POSITION TO DO SMART THINGS THAT WORK.”

    Z-man – You post good things and I like discussing stuff with you but this is a terrible take. Complaining about what is wrong with the team is a large part of what we do here. How much space has been used complaining about Phil Jackson, Carmelo Anthony, or James Dolan?

    As for trying to win, of course, a coach is going to try and win, but maximizing winning each game all the time is actually not the best way to build a winning team. Take a look at Pop, he routinely lets his bench and young players play through a bad stretch, often without even taking a timeout because he knows that while it might hurt the team in the moment it will help those players grow and better prepare them for the next moment. He knows that it’s okay to lose a couple midseason games if it better deepens and prepares his team to overcome future adversity.

    We are not doing that, every time we hit a bump we are back to relying on Randle and the starters to bail us out. What happens if Randle gets Covid or twists his ankle? This team is not prepared to win games with him gone for a week or two. Maybe if Randle played closer to 30 minutes and Toppin played closer to 20 and we went long stretches with Randle on the bench we could better weather such a scenario. Developing your bench and your youth is a big part of what good teams do to help them overcome injury and player turnover.

  168. DW, mostly agree, but if Miller were retained, he might have worried about being fired for NOT playing Obi and other young guys enough, under the guise of not properly developing them. Thibs has the street cred and relationship with Rose to pretty much do what he wants for now. He may have even had input in drafting who we did, and is viewed as having a stake in their development. Unless he goes full a-hole he’s not going to get fired no matter what his substitution patterns are this year, especially given that they are exceeding expectations.

  169. Ben, I am not disagreeing with your complaints at all, they are at least arguable. My point is that no amount of complaining will change anything. That’s who he is.

    Where we differ is in determining whether his brand of coaching is good or bad for the team, either specifically for young player development, or more generally for a healthy rebuild. I think that there are good arguments on both sides, and that it’s way too early to say whether his preferences will work out better or worse for the players involved, or for the team.

    Hornacek and Fizdale let Knox and Ntilikina play an obscene amount of minutes and it didn’t help their development one bit. Miller played RJ a ton and he still sucked, then came into this year, and Thibs played him even more than Miller and he sucked worse! Did Thibs let him play through it? Yes he did. Mitch couldn’t break the starting rotation last year and nearly everyone begged for Fiz and Miller to play him more. Thibs lets him play through his many mistakes so long as he stays out of foul trouble.

    There is no right answer as to whether a player should be allowed to play through stretches of poor play. Thibs helped turn Butler into one of the best players in the league via a first year of tough love. Why are you convinced that Obi and IQ won’t benefit from the same approach?

  170. Comparing us to them and saying those names are why we shouldn’t build around Randle is some bush league whack ass sh*t that shouldn’t fly on a blog that takes itself seriously.

    LOL really?

    No offense to Randle, he’s had a great season. But the goal should always be to get a legit top-10 player and then build around him. We haven’t done that yet.

    The Nets arguably have three top-10 players. Randle would be lucky to be considered the 4th best player on that team.

    Not many people here are “pro-tank.” But that is one way to get a top player without giving up anything. Otherwise, you have to find one through trade and/or free agency. That’s why getting Beal is a legit strategy, depending on how you rank him. And this is what you should expect after a hire like Thibs.

    And it’s reasonable to wonder if moving Randle for more picks and the shot at a better 2021 pick isn’t the best strategy tbh… but I can’t see a Thibs team going in that direction.

  171. pastrami….rye…mustard…boom

    i’m personally not a big pastrami fan, it’s hard now for me to recall exactly what it tastes like – those three items are a great mix though…

    Goes great with a thick tomato soup.

    pairing the right dish/snack compliment(s) to a great sandwich is an art in of itself…for myself tomato soup best pairs with peanut butter and jelly on toasted sourdough…you can actually use the soup to dip the sandwich in…

  172. Ben R: We are not doing that, every time we hit a bump we are back to relying on Randle and the starters to bail us out. What happens if Randle gets Covid or twists his ankle? This team is not prepared to win games with him gone for a week or two. Maybe if Randle played closer to 30 minutes and Toppin played closer to 20 and we went long stretches with Randle on the bench we could better weather such a scenario. Developing your bench and your youth is a big part of what good teams do to help them overcome injury and player turnover.

    I’m not sure any of this is true…it’s just as possible that if Obi played 20mpg that our record would be 10-21 and it would be moot if Randle got hurt or not, and Obi’s confidence would be totally shot.

    Baseball seems to have a more patient approach to player development…any organization that took a draft pick and immediately put him in the majors before he could handle MLB pitching would be crucified for throwing the kid to the wolves and destroying his confidence. I truly think that Frank would have been much better served to be brought along slowly, probably in the G-League. That’s probably where Obi belongs right now…he’s a major liability on the court and not getting any better. But the approach of bringing him in at the beginning of the 2nd quarter every game and adjusting his minutes based on the way the game (and his game) is going is perfectly okay as far as I’m concerned.

  173. From ESPN’s Weekly power rankings (where the Knicks are 15th and Dallas 16th)

    Kristaps Porzingis has found his rhythm offensively, averaging 22.8 points on .500/.423/.903 shooting splits in February. But Porzingis’ defensive struggles are a major problem for the Mavs, who rely on him to protect the rim, a role he excelled in last season. He has the worst defensive rating (119.5) of any player in the league who averages at least 20 minutes per game — and it has shot up to 128.2 this month. “He’s had to play his way into shape, and it just hasn’t been the same,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “He’s a work in progress.” — MacMahon

  174. Obi looks like he needs heavy steroids to play the power forward right now. He’s got the forward but lacks the power.

  175. There are Losses that feel like Wins and Wins that feel like Losses.
    Our last win felt like a Loss.
    But it counts as a Win.
    So I’ll take it.
    And ask for more!
    And as the Sisters of Mercy are singing:
    I WANT MORE!

  176. Ben R: Complaining about what is wrong with the team is a large part of what we do here. How much space has been used complaining about Phil Jackson, Carmelo Anthony, or James Dolan?

    I’ll give you that, with some caveats. Phil Jackson was given varying amounts of rope until he signed Noah and traded for Rose, and tried to win now with expensive albatrosses at the expense of picks and cap space. And of course, the whole how’s it goink thing with the triangle. Strat was the lone voice in the wilderness for a long time.

    Re: Melo, the most heated debates were between those who saw Melo for what he was with a hard ceiling and those who thought he would change his game to be a better alpha dog. Wouldn’t you say that the ones who predicted that Melo was who he was turned out to be 100% right? Ruruland was the only one left shouting at the wind for years.

    James Dolan is universally hated by just about all KB posters. But there’s legitimate debate on how much of the team’s disastrous run through the last 2 decades is a harbinger of what is to come under the Rose regime. Dolan has had substantially more success with the Rangers, so it all depends on whether you consider them a control group or not. Sure, the Dolan bomb could explode at any time and PTSD is justified. But so far, this has been the rosiest (npi) scenario Knicks fans have had to stress over in a long time.

    In any case, it’s all relative. Even the “haves” are subject to hyperbole. Celtics fans are calling for the heads of Ainge and Stevens en masse just because they are underperforming for a short stretch. Most of us would have done handsprings to have the situation they were in 5 years ago. We’re not there, but objectively speaking, there is ample room for at least a modicum of optimism. There will be plenty of time to bash Thibs and Rose if/when things go sour. The DRose trade was certainly not a good sign.

  177. #Optimist Expectations#
    When we’re the favourite team for the Win we underperform.
    We have the mentality of the underdog stamped on our asses.
    I expect us to play much better after the Orlando/Minnesota fiascos.

  178. I like Wins, sandwiches and fuzz guitars!

    until i looked it up today – i never knew a gyro was different than a doner kebab…i always thought they were the same thing…

    whenever i visit a place that servers gyros or kebabs – i get transfixed by the spinning meat thing…

  179. Gyros is from pork (or chicken) and extremely famous in Greece.
    Doner Kebab should be credited to Turkey and comes from cow or lamb meat mostly.
    I can take an oath over a swirling gyros!

  180. The Bulls might be having their own Randle issue with LaVine. They’re winning more than I think anyone expected and LaVine is obviously a big part of that. I think Arturas Karnisovas is a very smart basketball executive, so what he does with LaVine will be fascinating.

    EDITED TO ADD: Ha! I mixed Brooks up with Donovan. My bad. So never mind, Donovan has always been good.

  181. #As an aside, why was Brooks so good in OKC and now is also good in Chicago and yet he was so painfully bad in Washington (despite having a good team there)?#

    I see a Brooks/Donovan mindgyros on that or am i missing something?

  182. Hubert: BBA, there are 4 teams in NY & LA, and currently 7 elite players play for 3 of those teams. You take your team of Randles and have fun getting smoked by Durant, Harden, and Kyrie.

    But you have to get to that point first! And why are so may people obsessed that because Julius Randle is our best player now that it means we have to build around him as the focal point? Don’t put the cart before the horse; if Julius Randle ever becomes an obstacle for the team to go from good to great/championship contender, it means an awful lot has continued to go right. I want us to get to that point first before worrying. Ditto for Thibs’ coaching.

    There’s still so much that can happen – I understand that as Knick fans we’re conditioned to always expect the worst. I just believe some of us really need to take a deep breath; yes, the team has been fucked for 2 decades but that doesn’t mean the next decade has to be the same as the last 2.

    The team is in an improving place. The arrow is pointing up.

  183. I’ve been a Lavine hater since he was at UCLA but he’s pretty interesting right now. It’s hard to get a handle on how bad his defense is outside of the Bulls as a whole, but if it’s mediocre he’s a good player.

  184. I also have been a Lavine hater for years. I feel exactly the same way about him.

    He and Randle are both playing out of their mind relative to what I thought was their baseline.

    I don’t know what I would do with either of them. But I think I’d trust Karnishovas more than Rose to make a big call.

  185. The Jazz were ahead of the Hornets 91-90 after 3 quarters. Final score Jazz 132 Hornets 110.

    That team can score in bunches, with so many good shooters. Don’t think they can get past the Lakers, but they’re putting together quite a season.

  186. someone mentioned it upstream about the knicks place in espn power rankings, i saw this bit of info on dame that really caught my eye:

    “Dame Time” doesn’t have an actual statistical definition, but clutch time does. In those moments — when the score is within five points in the final five minutes of regulation and overtime — Damian Lillard continues to rise to the occasion. He’s second in the league in clutch-time points and is doing it on an absolutely absurd 61.5% from the floor and 58.8% from 3. He’s 24-for-24 from the free throw line and is third in assists (15), and his team is 12-4, which is tied for the most clutch-time wins in the NBA. — Young

    i got a question – we don’t want any part of kemba – do we?

    that’s an ugly contract…

  187. Porzingis probably would be a good change of situation candidate. I don’t know that he and Luka really complement each other.

  188. d-mar:
    The Jazz were ahead of the Hornets 91-90 after 3 quarters.Final score Jazz 132 Hornets 110.

    That team can score in bunches, with so many good shooters. Don’t think they can get past the Lakers, but they’re putting together quite a season.

    As I recall, the Jazz did something like that to us too

  189. Any ideas who could use KP?

    I think he fits a lot of teams, honestly. He’s likely never going to be some amazing player, but I think that there are teams he would fit a lot better than Dallas. I think Dallas is realizing that with someone like Luka, you really don’t need another high usage guy. You’ll get more bang for your buck by spreading that money out over other players. For instance, Porzingis is probably better than Drummond, but I think Drummond probably fits Dallas much better right now.

  190. Wow, the Wizards just beat the Lakers.

    It’s amazing, man, the difference a star player can make. You can be a bunch of G-Leaguers and you add Bradley Beal around them and suddenly they’re competitive every night.

  191. Brian Cronin:
    Wow, the Wizards just beat the Lakers.

    It’s amazing, man, the difference a star player can make. You can be a bunch of G-Leaguers and you add Bradley Beal around them and suddenly they’re competitive every night.

    I’m trying to imagine how much uglier our offense will look if/when Randle has to miss a game. Woof.

  192. Brian Cronin:
    Porzingis probably would be a good change of situation candidate. I don’t know that he and Luka really complement each other.

    If they attach a pick, we can take the poor guy back! :D

  193. Saw a trade idea from a Nets fan that i think it’d be good for the Knicks, but that’d only apply if we weren’t so focused on winning now.
    For the Nets, they need help now and Dinwiddie is out for the season, also Noel would be huge for their push for a championship. For the Knicks, Dinwiddie would opt-in for next season (12.3M) and would be a huge upgrade over Payton (he’s a penetrating PG as Thibs likes so much, the only problem might be his defense, but i don’t know a lot about it), and Nic Claxton looks like a promising prospect.
    Proposed trade: Payton + Noel for Dinwiddie + Nic Claxton

  194. As an aside, look at the box score for Team USA when they last missed out on the Gold Medal.

    The first number is how many minutes the players played. Yes, Larry Brown played Lebron James three minutes, Stoudemire two and Melo none. They were all really young at the time, but come on, dude!

    5. Stephon Marbury 28 18 0 1 1 1 1 1 3 3 8-15 0-3 2-3
    14. Lamar Odom 26 14 5 3 8 3 2 0 1 4 6-12 0-0 2-6
    13. Tim Duncan 20 10 3 3 6 0 0 1 3 5 4-8 0-0 2-2
    4. Allen Iverson 31 10 1 2 3 3 2 0 1 0 3-12 1-2 3-3
    11. Shawn Marion 27 9 2 3 5 1 3 0 0 2 4-10 1-2 0-0
    7. Carlos Boozer 25 8 3 6 9 1 3 0 2 2 3-6 0-0 2-2
    15. Richard Jefferson 19 7 2 0 2 0 0 1 0 1 2-5 0-2 3-4
    9. LeBron James 3 3 0 1 1 0 0 0 1 0 1-1 1-1 0-0
    6. Dwyane Wade 19 2 1 1 2 2 2 0 3 4 1-8 0-1 0-0
    12. Amar’e Stoudemire 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0-0 0-0 0-0
    8. Carmelo Anthony Did Not Play
    10. Emeka Okafor Did Not Play

  195. It’s hard not to feel resentful about the whole KP debacle but I guess all’s well that ends well!

    In the realm of dodged bullets, Hayward aggravated his wrist injury. Dude must have picked up his carpals and tarsals in the clearance bin…

  196. geo: i got a question – we don’t want any part of kemba – do we?

    that’s an ugly contract…

    Hell no, not unless Boston is attaching assets to dump him. He’s been terrible after the injury and he’s 30, he might never be a good NBA player again and definitely won’t be worth that contract.

  197. There’s also the matter of what Porzingis would bring back in return. “Who are teams you could in theory see going after him?” the Western Conference executive wondered. “I can’t say that’s a contract I’d pay to take on.”

    After this season, three more remain on Porzingis’ five-year, $158 million deal.

    “I think maybe you could squeak out a lottery-protected first from somebody,” one capologist said, but that would likely only happen if Dallas took back other unwanted salaries. If the Mavericks are searching for contributing players, perhaps Dallas could engage a team like Chicago or Charlotte—with a mix of young players and veterans on sizable contracts—that could be looking to take the same swing Dallas once did.

  198. I’d keep an eye on Boston. They have trade exception and Ainge has always sniffed around Porzingis.

    Btw, how ironic is it that the Nets, fleeced by the Celtics, are currently much closer to a title than the Celtics? Way to blow your stash, Danny.

  199. I’ve been saying for the last week I heard that Dallas was kicking the tires on everyone on the team except Luka and that they talked to a few teams about KP. However, these articles that just came are mostly overstated.

    They are NOT actively trying to trade KP anymore than they are actively trying to trade Brunson, Kleeber, Powell, Finney-Smith, Hardaway etc..

    What’s going on is that they realize the defense sucks and they need to get way better on that end. To contend they have be able to hide Luka on defense and still have a team with a lot of space so he can do his magic inside on offense. When KP was defending the paint well, blocking shots, he was a good backline defense when Luka or the other got beat. Since the meniscus surgery he’s been a revolving door on defense. In Clyde’s words he’s been playing “matador D” after Doncic and the others play “Swiss cheese D”. lol They are better with WCS defending the paint and P&Rs even though they give up a lot on offense.

    What they aren’t sure is whether that’s permanent or a function of having no offseason work, no training camp work, and the knee and strength still recovering, They know what he’s capable of. They saw last year when he got in shape and it carried over into the bubble and playoffs. He made a 2nd team star and carried the team at times. Is he still that guy on defense or is he done? That’s the question. They are kicking the tires while they are trying to figure that out. However, given the questions and his repeated injuries they have to kick the tires.

    Way more important to us is that they are kicking the tires on Brunson and he would be a major upgrade at PG for us.

  200. DRed:
    I’ve been a Lavine hater since he was at UCLA but he’s pretty interesting right now.It’s hard to get a handle on how bad his defense is outside of the Bulls as a whole, but if it’s mediocre he’s a good player.

    IMO, defense is one of those things where 1 + 1 = 3.

    If you have 1 bad defender on the court you can usually hide him on a weak player or scheme and help well enough to get away with it. When you have 2 bad defenders on the court it seems like it often all breaks down badly.

    At this point we are playing very good defense, but I don’t think it’s because we have a lot of good defenders. It’s because Thibs is a brilliant defensive coach, they are well prepared for their matchups, and he has them in top shape working hard on that end. If we throw a negative defender into the mix (like LaVine), it may turn out to be a toxic brew on defense even if he’s not terrible on his own. He may more of the kind of guy you try to hide behind a few really good defenders.

  201. Prying loose Brunson would be a good move, depending on the asking price. Seems like a solid young player and he can actually shoot.

  202. Maybe Dallas would accept vaunted offensive dynamo/assistant coach/enlightened philosopher-MVP Derrick Rose for Brunson, though we’d be well within our rights to ask for another pick in return.

  203. sounds like more specifics from our old friend Ian Begley – that the Mavs reached out to the Warriors about KP (and not the other way around). That gives some more weight to this – specific team involved…

  204. Bernard King was a low calorie scoring bum before the Knicks traded for him. All you statheads out there. Is there a comp between bernard and julius? Both drafted 7th, bounced from several teams, landed on Knicks in age 25/26. Saw huge jump in performance from knick year one to knick year two.

  205. I said earlier in the thread that Julius was wearing #30 well. He’s not Bernard, but he is carrying this otherwise mediocre team on his back like Bernard did.

  206. I thought KP would turn out better than he has, so happy to take the L on that for now. I still think we could have gotten a better return for him at the time, and am sticking to that. But either way, it’s nice not to have to see him tearing up the league in Dallas while we already jettisoned DSjr as a total bust.

  207. I don’t have the bookmarks but I know there were many times I argued with Strat that we ended with an equal player (Randle) for half the cost. Now is there a single person who thinks Dallas could get Randle from us for Porzingis without adding value?

  208. Having dissed Porzingis for years, though, I know have to ask… isn’t he kinda the ideal frontcourt partner for Randle? If you’re on Team Build Around Randle, shouldn’t we kick the tires on this?

    We can still capitalize on the low salaries of Randle and Barrett this summer to make a good offer to a free agent PG like Paul or Lowery.

    Paul
    Shooter
    Barrett
    Porzingis
    Randle

    with Quick and Mitch on the bench.

    I don’t know if I want to go all in on that, but that’s as good as you can get around Randle, isn’t it?

  209. I’d put the odds of Randle having a playoff run like Bernard’s against Detroit and then against Boston (McHale/Bird) in the spring of 1984 at approximately 0.011%. Game was different then, lane was much more clogged, midrange was much more clogged, and still Bernard at 6-7 was unstoppable. Most explosive guy off two feet from a standing start shooting a turnaround J you’ll ever see.

    In my very early career adulthood, I shared Bullets season tickets with some buddies during Bernard’s late career stint there. He still favored the bad knee (*) — surgery wasn’t then what it is today and the Knicks doctor was kind of a known hack — and was still an all-star and a great player. Definitely didn’t have the all-time elite explosion he had pre-surgery, but still had plenty of game.

    Between the time Bernard dried out and the time he blew out his knee, he was a top 50 all time caliber player. As Simmons put it in the Book of Basketball: “Had King come along twenty years later during the “just say no” and Dr. James Andrews eras, he would have become one of the thirty greatest players ever. It’s not even up for discussion.”

    Julius is zip codes and stratospheres away from Peak Bernard. It’s not close.

    (*) I don’t think he ever jumped one leg off the bad leg or if he did, it was very rarely. Even after two years of rehab, the surgery was at best a qualified success.

  210. Let’s offer Frank and a 2nd for KP.
    I guess that original trade’s working out for the Knicks now.

  211. Hubert:
    Having dissed Porzingis for years, though, I know have to ask… isn’t he kinda the ideal frontcourt partner for Randle?If you’re on Team Build Around Randle, shouldn’t we kick the tires on this?

    I agree that theoretically healthy Porzingis would be a great partner for Randle in the frontcourt. I just don’t know if you can be sure that player exists anymore and he’s signed through ’23-’24 when he has a player option at $36M. If his mobility and defense don’t come back that could start looking like one of the worst contracts in the league pretty quickly, and that’s even if he stays healthy from here, to say nothing about the ever-looming prospect of his next injury. Taking him on even for nothing (which the Mavs would never, ever go for) is the kind of move that has the real potential to nip the good thing we’ve got going on in the bud pretty quickly.

  212. KP without the D is essentially an injury-prone Lauri Markannen. That’s pretty bad value for a max contract. I also don’t think the frail 7’3 guy with anemia is going to suddenly turn a corner re: his health any time soon.

    The Knicks really dodged a bullet, gotta thank KP and Janis for being such pricks. And a major shoutout to Phil Jax for his role in the kerfuffle. We’d likely have KP on that max if PJax wasn’t so bad at managing the whole situation. Thank you Phil!

  213. Yes, a fever-dream KP is the right stretch-5, defend-the-rim partner for Randle. But in reality KP is an overpaid ass who can’t stay on the floor (those of us who might care to remember that those seasons when he actually played, about half the season he was either recovering from something or collapsing) and, let’s be honest, he’s actually below NBA average on 3-pt % for his career. So it’s really a fever dream.

    Let’s get Mitch up to .357 on threes and we have a durable KP on the cheap! With a more bearable coif, too.

  214. Hubert:
    Having dissed Porzingis for years, though, I know have to ask… isn’t he kinda the ideal frontcourt partner for Randle?If you’re on Team Build Around Randle, shouldn’t we kick the tires on this?

    We can still capitalize on the low salaries of Randle and Barrett this summer to make a good offer to a free agent PG like Paul or Lowery.

    Paul
    Shooter
    Barrett
    Porzingis
    Randle

    with Quick and Mitch on the bench.

    I don’t know if I want to go all in on that, but that’s as good as you can get around Randle, isn’t it?

    CP3 has a player option for $40M next season. If he’s opting out of that I would assume it’s to sign on with a title contender to try and win a ring before he retires. Lowry’s 35 and making $30M this year, how much are you offering him to sign with us?

  215. Brian Cronin:
    Wow, the Wizards just beat the Lakers.

    It’s amazing, man, the difference a star player can make. You can be a bunch of G-Leaguers and you add Bradley Beal around them and suddenly they’re competitive every night.

    Ummmm. Westbrook is a G-Leaguer? missed another triple-double by 1 assist.

  216. Kristaps would be a good fit with a lot of frontcourt players if he can get his mobility back on defense, but that is an enormous if, and who is taking that chance with his contract?

  217. Ummmm. Westbrook is a G-Leaguer? missed another triple-double by 1 assist.

    Out of all qualified players (199), Westbrook ranks 194th of 199 in TS%. His shot attempts have yielded -76.0 points against league average efficiency. He takes ~30% fewer shot attempts than Beal per possession and still commits 50% more turnovers. As good as he is at passing, there’s virtually nothing a player can do on offense to dig out of a high-volume, low-efficiency shooting hole.

    A reminder that earning an MVP several years ago doesn’t make a player good today.

  218. Yeah Westbrook is having a horrible season, which is also a testament to how great Beal has been

    If we had acquired Westbrook (which some idiot local sports talking heads were advocating for) , we’d be the ones watching him throw up bricks and turn the ball over. Thank god we dodged that dum dum bullet.

  219. KP is always working his way back from an injury and that’s always the excuse for why he’s playing mediocre ball.

    That’s the excuse they’re giving for his shitty defense this season, he doesn’t have his “base” of conditioning together, he’s not physically right.

    So unless you’re banking on a major change of his fortunes when it comes to his health, you’re getting a player who is almost always “working his way back into shape.”

    He’s vaporware at this point. It’s probably time to realize his brittleness is going to prevent him from hitting his 99th percentile outcome.

  220. One of the Mills/Perry administration’s defenses of how the KP deal went down was that they needed to set up the trade quickly and quietly, because once the world knew he was being shopped, things would have gotten ugly for the team until the trade was closed. It was lame, like almost everything Mills did, but it does make me wonder what the path forward will be for KP in Dallas. Guys have been publicly shopped before and wound up staying long-term, but the Porzingis brothers are also fairly petulant, so I could see this turning into a mess, even though KP and Doncic are reportedly very close.

  221. Yeah Westbrook is having a horrible season, which is also a testament to how great Beal has been

    And this is not a Melo-in-2013 debate, where he’s clearly a solid enough player but well short of his reputation’s lofty heights. This is just plain as day: Westbrook fucking sucks and he’s the 2nd-highest paid player in the entire league to do it.

  222. cybersoze:
    Saw a trade idea from a Nets fan that i think it’d be good for the Knicks, but that’d only apply if we weren’t so focused on winning now.
    For the Nets, they need help now and Dinwiddie is out for the season, also Noel would be huge for their push for a championship. For the Knicks, Dinwiddie would opt-in for next season (12.3M) and would be a huge upgrade over Payton (he’s a penetrating PG as Thibs likes so much, the only problem might be his defense, but i don’t know a lot about it), and Nic Claxton looks like a promising prospect.
    Proposed trade: Payton + Noel for Dinwiddie + Nic Claxton

    My bet is Dinwiddie opts out after this season to get a better deal. So that’s a non-starter.

    At the very least he won’t prematurely opt-in before his agent gets a sense of the market.

  223. The Honorable Cock Jowles: And this is not a Melo-in-2013 debate, where he’s clearly a solid enough player but well short of his reputation’s lofty heights. This is just plain as day: Westbrook fucking sucks and he’s the 2nd-highest paid player in the entire league to do it.

    I would take any number of g-leaguers over Westbrook. He’s probably the difference between worst team in the league and the Magic. He’s lost WSH games Beal would have won single handedly.

  224. My bet is Dinwiddie opts out after this season to get a better deal. So that’s a non-starter.

    There’s a ton of cap space open this summer and not many marquee FAs out there to take it. Guards and wings are going to get paid.

  225. Bernard was/is my all-time favorite player. I remember the game in KC when he blew his knee out like it was yesterday. I broke up with my girlfriend to watch his first game back from 2 years of rehab.

    Just sayin: Bernard’s game exceeded anyone’s expectations when they traded Michael Ray for him. On this thread above there are numerous shots at Julius about his Lakers and Pelican’s days. Bernard is a lofty bar, but its fun to watch a player transform and get better in front of your eyes. Even more difficult to wipe away pre-conceived notions about his ceiling. Enjoy the moment. Cap Space, draft picks, competitive basketball. When is the last time the Knicks had all three? asking for a friend.

  226. d-mar: Yeah Westbrook is having a horrible season, which is also a testament to how great Beal has been

    If we had acquired Westbrook (which some idiot local sports talking heads were advocating for) , we’d be the ones watching him throw up bricks and turn the ball over. Thank god we dodged that dum dum bullet.

    Let’s see what his line was in yesterday’s win over the Lakers…
    13-25 (52% FG%), 0-1 from 3pt, 6-12 FT, 14 Reb, 9 Assists, 32 pts…… 2 TO

    And the win against Portland..
    11-17 (65%), 0-1 from 3pt, 5-7 FT, 11 Reb, 13 Assists, 27 pts…. 7 TO

    Note that he hasn’t hit a 3pt shot since Feb 10. If he stops taking 3’s and limits his TOs, the Wizards are going to keep winning. Beal cannot win on his own. And I understand how everyone here feels.

  227. Early Bird: I would take any number of g-leaguers over Westbrook. He’s probably the difference between worst team in the league and the Magic. He’s lost WSH games Beal would have won single handedly.

    I’m glad the Knicks passed on him, too, regardless of his last couple of games. The team has surprised so far, so I hope they just sit tight the rest of the season (unless a really nice deal comes around), and play this hand.

  228. et’s see what his line was in yesterday’s win over the Lakers…
    13-25 (52% FG%), 0-1 from 3pt, 6-12 FT, 14 Reb, 9 Assists, 32 pts…… 2 TO

    And the win against Portland..
    11-17 (65%), 0-1 from 3pt, 5-7 FT, 11 Reb, 13 Assists, 27 pts…. 7 TO

    Note that he hasn’t hit a 3pt shot since Feb 10. If he stops taking 3’s and limits his TOs, the Wizards are going to keep winning. Beal cannot win on his own. And I understand how everyone here feels.

    And 5-15 (2-6 FT) against Denver for 12 points and 8 turnovers. 8-22 against Houston. 6-19 against Boston.

    Squint harder, bro!

  229. Don’t understand why there isn’t more momentum on this board for Beal. Forgetting price for a second does he not seem like the absolute perfect guard fit with Randle and Mitch?

  230. If Dallas really is looking to move KP then its official – we won that trade. True, it was certain to anyone honest enough to admit it well before these rumors spread. But the fact that the Mavs are themselves to looking to dump his max contract is their own implicit acknowledgement of that reality.

  231. Don’t understand why there isn’t more momentum on this board for Beal. Forgetting price for a second does he not seem like the absolute perfect guard fit with Randle and Mitch?

    He’s gonna take like 3 unprotected firsts and 3 swaps to get him out of WAS.

  232. cgreene:
    Don’t understand why there isn’t more momentum on this board for Beal. Forgetting price for a second does he not seem like the absolute perfect guard fit with Randle and Mitch?

    Because the price is going to be huge and we won’t be able to afford it. Any realistic trade guts the team of the few assets we have. I’m sure nobody here is opposed to a trade if all we’re giving up is Frank, Knox, and like a single first round pick but a Beal trade is going to have to include multiple first round picks plus some combo of RJ, Mitch, and Quickley.

  233. The Honorable Cock Jowles: And 5-15 (2-6 FT) against Denver for 12 points and 8 turnovers. 8-22 against Houston. 6-19 against Boston.
    Squint harder, bro!

    So, you seem to AGREE with me that when he is playing well, the Wizards play well. His 3pt shooting and FT shooting have been horrible. I don’t think he’ll get better beyond the arc, but he’s not going to shoot 61% from the line very long. He’s a career 80% FT shooter that shot 76% last season.

  234. vincoug: Don’t understand why there isn’t more momentum on this board for Beal.

    Dude, I was shot down like a dog for even proposing the idea about 3 weeks ago. The general trend on this board is to run the Knicks like the Wilpons ran the Mets – like a small market team.

  235. The Honorable Cock Jowles: He’s gonna take like 3 unprotected firsts and 3 swaps to get him out of WAS.

    Ok. Let’s start the bidding. Think I did this exercise before.

    Either the NY or DAL unprotected 2021 1st
    Either the NY or DAL top 3 protected 2023 1st
    2022 swap
    Toppin
    Frank
    Knox
    Filler

    This is a deal I would do.

  236. So, you seem to AGREE with me that when he is playing well, the Wizards play well. His 3pt shooting and FT shooting have been horrible. I don’t think he’ll get better beyond the arc, but he’s not going to shoot 61% from the line very long. He’s a career 80% FT shooter that shot 76% last season.

    Are you really trying to make the case that the Knicks should’ve traded an asset for Russell Westbrook? There may be no more hilarious hill ever died on in the history of this board.

    This isn’t even some philosophical thing about the value of winning now with guys not here for the long haul a la Chris Paul or Lowry or whoever. Russell Westbrook is just bad. He’s also signed for two years after this season for $45.5M AAV.

  237. Ok. Let’s start the bidding. Think I did this exercise before.

    Either the NY or DAL unprotected 2021 1st
    Either the NY or DAL top 3 protected 2023 1st
    2022 swap
    Toppin
    Frank
    Knox
    Filler

    Putting aside the merits, I highly, highly doubt this gets it done considering the competition. I’m nearly certain you’d need to add (with no subtractions) RJ to this package just to get a conversation going.

  238. thenoblefacehumper: Putting aside the merits, I highly, highly doubt this gets it done considering the competition. I’m nearly certain you’d need to add (with no subtractions) RJ to this package just to get a conversation going.

    Personally I’d rather add IQ.

    But my point is you make the offer and see where the bidding goes from there. But you would do my original deal no?

  239. cgreene: Ok. Let’s start the bidding. Think I did this exercise before.

    Either the NY or DAL unprotected 2021 1st
    Either the NY or DAL top 3 protected 2023 1st
    2022 swap
    Toppin
    Frank
    Knox
    Filler

    This is a deal I would do.

    You don’t need to list Frank and Knox separately, they’d be included under filler. So you’re trade proposal is two first round picks and Obi (who barely rises above filler at this point). That’s not going to be enough to get a deal done.

  240. GoNYGoNYGo – Tired of Tanking: The general trend on this board is to run the Knicks like the Wilpons ran the Mets – like a small market team.

    Or it’s to not pay top dollar to add a one-dimensional player (who is very good, but not a top-tier superstar) to a sub-.500 team. Some of us are better at staring at the marshmallow so we can have two later.

    Let us remember the Jrue Holiday trade:

    November 23, 2020: As part of a 4-team trade, traded by the New Orleans Pelicans with Sam Merrill to the Milwaukee Bucks; the Denver Nuggets traded a 2023 1st round draft pick to the Oklahoma City Thunder; the Milwaukee Bucks traded R.J. Hampton to the Denver Nuggets; the Milwaukee Bucks traded Eric Bledsoe, a 2024 1st round draft pick, a 2025 1st round draft pick, a 2026 1st round draft pick and a 2027 1st round draft pick to the New Orleans Pelicans; the Milwaukee Bucks traded George Hill to the Oklahoma City Thunder; the New Orleans Pelicans traded Zylan Cheatham, Joshia Gray, Darius Miller, Kenrich Williams, a 2023 2nd round draft pick and a 2024 2nd round draft pick to the Oklahoma City Thunder; and the Oklahoma City Thunder traded Steven Adams to the New Orleans Pelicans. New Orleans acquires right to swap 2024 1st-rd pick with Milwaukee 2025 1st-rd pick is MIL own New Orleans acquires right to swap 2026 1st-rd pick with Milwaukee 2027 1st-rd pick is MIL own 2023 1st-rd pick (DEN own) is top-14 protected 2023 2nd-rd pick is WAS own 2024 2nd-rd pick is CHO own

  241. But my point is you make the offer and see where the bidding goes from there. But you would do my original deal no?

    I think the original idea is so far from what it would take that, sure, it would be worth doing because at a minimum we could immediately flip Beal for more than we gave away.

    I’m against trading for Beal when taking into account the actual cost because doing so would involve subtracting production from the current roster, which we can’t afford to do until we’re better than .500.

    Beal is a free agent after next season (he’s a lock to decline his 2022-2023 player option) so we wouldn’t have a lot of time to impress him enough to mitigate the risk of him walking. Realistically, the current roster plus Beal, minus RJ, is a pretty low upside group and we’d lose tons of flexibility to add to it.

  242. cgreene: Ok. Let’s start the bidding. Think I did this exercise before.

    Either the NY or DAL unprotected 2021 1st
    Either the NY or DAL top 3 protected 2023 1st
    2022 swap
    Toppin
    Frank
    Knox
    Filler

    This is a deal I would do.

    Based on this deal we go into next year with:

    IQ
    Beal
    RJ
    Randle
    Mitch

    1st rd Rookie
    2nd rd rookie
    Iggy
    Rivers

    If we re-sign Mitch for $10M that leaves ~$13M for FAs.

    Assuming Rivers is the backup PG, we need a backup Wing, PF, & C. We can probably re-sign Bullock & Noel for similar prices. That leaves under $2M for a backup PF. Maybe the rookies can step in immediately at C or Wing. At most around $9M.

    That’s a solid team, but not a contender. Either we’re betting big on RJ & IQ or we hope a true #1 option becomes available and sell a bunch of picks for it.

  243. I agree that the price on Beal is going to be too high, but… who exactly are these other teams willing to step up and pay the kind of price we’re assuming? There’s not many asset rich contenders right now.

  244. I’ll just reiterate here that the right move is to use Randle to flip into Beal. If the Wiz aren’t interested, it speaks volumes about Julius’s actual market value. He’s underpaid with only a year to go on his deal after this one, so it’s not even as if his contract should get in the way.

    My drop dead cost hasn’t changed: No year without at least one #1 pick.

    But what’s probably going to happen is RJ plus way too many picks and then Randle and Beal won’t mesh with Julius as point forward and the Knicks will wind up overpaying for a true point guard to try to fix things and at that point Randle’s role will shrink to the point where he isn’t really of much use anymore and he’ll either walk or the Knicks will trade him for way less than they’d get if they’d just include him in a Beal package now.

  245. Reports that Tiger broke both legs. Doesn’t appear to be life-threatening (beyond the inherent risk of invasive surgery).

  246. Hubert:
    I agree that the price on Beal is going to be too high, but… who exactly are these other teams willing to step up and pay the kind of price we’re assuming?There’s not many asset rich contenders right now.

    Denver could build a package around Jamal Murray. OKC has a massive warchest of draft picks. ATL could build a package around John Collins. GSW has Oubre, Wiggins, and Minnesota’s unprotected 1st this year. Houston could flip some their assets from the Harden trade for Beal (not that I think their cheapskate owner would do that). NOP could build a package around Lonzo Ball and some of the picks from the AD trade. Orlando could build a package around Aaron Gordon. Charlotte’s always a wildcard.

  247. Ok, so we have to give up 10 picks but golden state can waltz in with andrew wiggins and kelly oubre. Come on. They’d have to give up Weisman and the wolves pick, and I don’t think that would be very smart.

    Denver isn’t giving up Murray, and he’d be more miserable in Washington than Beal is. They can trade Porter and their first in 21 & 25. That’s not rich.

    Other teams you mentioned (Houston, OKC, New Orleans), don’t have any reason to trade for Beal.

    I’m just saying, we’re assuming the cost is high by looking at comparable players. That’s not how this works. What contender has the picks and the will to make that trade? I think CGreene’s trade (two 1sts and Obi) is probably as high a bid they’ll get.

  248. I can’t imagine anyone trading major assets for Beal around here. His career metrics aren’t so hot.

  249. The Minnesota pick is more valuable than anything you put in the original offer. I don’t know why Denver wouldn’t consider giving up Murray for Beal. If Houston, OKC, and New Orleans have no reason to trade for Beal than why do we?

  250. GoNYGoNYGo – Tired of Tanking: Dude, I was shot down like a dog for even proposing the idea about 3 weeks ago.The general trend on this board is to run the Knicks like the Wilpons ran the Mets – like a small market team.

    You were shot down because your initial proposal for Beal was literally our four worst players plus a second round pick, and your argument was literally that it worked in the trade machine.

  251. Denver could build a package around Jamal Murray.

    Murray turned 24 today and is under contract until the end of 2025. Beal isn’t old but he’s could get a 10-year-vet max next year worth about $240M over five, stretching out until he’s 33. Murray has a lot of unrealized potential, but he’s a far better bet. Cheaper, younger, and with a better outlook, since he’s beginning his prime right now.

    OKC has a massive warchest of draft picks.

    They do, but Beal would not be “the piece” on his own. I think Presti will push the chips in once he has a cost-controlled core. The picks are incredibly valuable from a rebuild perspective — they only need 1/3 of them to pan out as (at minimum) rotation players, then use cap space and trade assets to acquire the superstars — and they’re very clearly rebuilding. Their top 5 players in MP, by age: 20, 21, 22, 22, 19. Then Al Horford, who I almost forgot was in the league still.

    ATL could build a package around John Collins.

    This seems kinda plausible.

    GSW has Oubre, Wiggins, and Minnesota’s unprotected 1st this year.

    Would be a heist by GSW, unless they land top 3 with the MIN pick. Jalen Suggs as a Warrior is fucking scary, even if Curry starts to decline.

    Houston could flip some their assets from the Harden trade for Beal (not that I think their cheapskate owner would do that).

    Yep.

    NOP could build a package around Lonzo Ball and some of the picks from the AD trade.

    Also plausible, although I don’t know how much those picks are worth.

    Orlando could build a package around Aaron Gordon.

    Plausible because it’s so dumb!

  252. We actually don’t have any good reason to trade for Beal, but we have a win now mindset from the coach to the owner. And there are people here who want to build around Randle. I’m more of a “be patient and accumulate assets” guy, but I’m willing to entertain the alternative.

    Houston, OKC, and New Orleans have no delusions about where they are on the win curve.

  253. If Houston, OKC, and New Orleans have no reason to trade for Beal than why do we?

    We actually don’t have any good reason to trade for Beal, but we have a win now mindset from the coach to the owner. And there are people here who want to build around Randle.

    I’m more of a “be patient and accumulate assets” guy, but I’m willing to entertain the alternative.

    I would not touch Barrett or IQ. I would pray Obi still has value. I’m 1000% out on him but a lot of GM’s allegedly loved him and we can explain his lack of PT. Obi and 3 firsts is unwise, IMO, but I think it gets the job done. And we still have 1st round picks every year except 2025.

    But even then, we’d still need Leon Rose to pull a CAA miracle and land us a PG

  254. If you accept Z-Man’s “You must learn to stop worrying and love the Thibs” perspective, trading for Beal is a great idea. Thibs is going to do a shitty job developing the picks anyway, so best to just cash them in and give him his vet superstar. Even putting all that aside, Beal is a worthwhile get at the right price. If a real bidding war starts, drop out.

  255. The Honorable Cock Jowles: Murray turned 24 today and is under contract until the end of 2025. Beal isn’t old but he’s could get a 10-year-vet max next year worth about $240M over five, stretching out until he’s 33. Murray has a lot of unrealized potential, but he’s a far better bet. Cheaper, younger, and with a better outlook, since he’s beginning his prime right now.

    Does he have a better outlook? His counting stats are good but his BPM is 0.6 and his BPM last year was only 1.2 his efficiency is basically league average which is what it’s been for his career. Meanwhile, Denver is 16-14 and in 7th place a year after going to the WCF and have only 4 players with a positive BPM and Jokic is the only one with a BPM above 1. They need to at least consider trading Murray to improve the team.

    The Honorable Cock Jowles: Orlando could build a package around Aaron Gordon.

    Plausible because it’s so dumb!

    Dumb for who? Washington or Orlando?

  256. “But even then, we’d still need Leon Rose to pull a CAA miracle and land us a PG”

    Still holding out hope for Lonzo.

  257. Word is that at least one person in the Heat FO is discussing trading for Lonzo. Would love to have Rose scoop the young man up.

  258. If you accept Z-Man’s “You must learn to stop worrying and love the Thibs” perspective, trading for Beal is a great idea. Thibs is going to do a shitty job developing the picks anyway, so best to just cash them in and give him his vet superstar. Even putting all that aside, Beal is a worthwhile get at the right price. If a real bidding war starts, drop out.

    This is absurd. Thibs being coach means minute distributions aren’t going to look the way a lot of us would like. It doesn’t mean the front office will inevitably do stupid things.

    Also, it’s a pretty weird to say all picks are hopeless under Thibs when the Knicks employ the consensus steal of the most recent draft. We can certainly quibble about whether or not Quickley’s minutes are optimal, but to say he’s not being “developed” at all is hilarious.

  259. it’s amazing what kind of fantasizing having payton/bullock as your starting backcourt can generate amongst the fanbase…

    lonzo/beal -2022!!!!

  260. thenoblefacehumper: This is absurd. Thibs being coach means minute distributions aren’t going to look the way a lot of us would like. It doesn’t mean the front office will inevitably do stupid things.

    Also, it’s a pretty weird to say all picks are hopeless under Thibs when the Knicks employ the consensus steal of the most recent draft. We can certainly quibble about whether or not Quickley’s minutes are optimal, but to say he’s not being “developed” at all is hilarious.

    This is really on Knickerblogger for not doing a better job developing E.

  261. I’m surprised this hasn’t come up yet, but anyone think we should look into signing Quinn Cook? It’s almost definitely not happening due to the roster crunch, but I think he’d be a better use of a spot than Taj Gibson.

  262. It’s a frustrating argument absent any reasonable parameters for what the deal would like.

    I don’t really want Beal though. Just not my style.

  263. thenoblefacehumper:
    I’m surprised this hasn’t come up yet, but anyone think we should look into signing Quinn Cook? It’s almost definitely not happening due to the roster crunch, but I think he’d be a better use of a spot than Taj Gibson.

    i would go for him over both rivers and rose..

  264. thenoblefacehumper: Are you really trying to make the case that the Knicks should’ve traded an asset for Russell Westbrook? There may be no more hilarious hill ever died on in the history of this board.

    No. I’m making the case that Washington is not winning with Beal and G-leaguers, as was stated before. They are winning with Beal+Westbrook+ some NBA rotational players.

  265. Z-man: More like an invasive species, but I digress…

    A more accurate description. GoNYGoNYGo=Invasive Species.

  266. vincoug: Dumb for who? Washington or Orlando?

    Not dumb for anyone. Dumb enough to happen, given that WAS and ORL are the two franchises involved. ORL would basically become the Wizards of the south, and WAS gets a player who has never moved the needle once. Orlando fans are constantly scratching their heads about why this guy with “all the tools” keeps at the helm of a perennial 35-win team.

    Does he have a better outlook? His counting stats are good but his BPM is 0.6 and his BPM last year was only 1.2 his efficiency is basically league average which is what it’s been for his career. Meanwhile, Denver is 16-14 and in 7th place a year after going to the WCF and have only 4 players with a positive BPM and Jokic is the only one with a BPM above 1. They need to at least consider trading Murray to improve the team.

    Beal from 24-27 has had a 2.2, 2.9, 2.9 and 4.9 BPM. This year, he’s got a sky-high OBPM because he leads the league in USG% on a TS% that’s just ahead of Murray’s (102 to 104). That’s great! He is an exceptional offensive player right now.

    But again, he’s going to turn 28 before the playoffs start. And Murray’s under contract through that age. Beal is not, and is eligible for an even bigger contract, possibly a 10-year supermax if he keeps up this level of play. That’s a HUGE edge to Murray, even if his potential is as of yet unrealized. I think Beal is a much better player on offense than Murray right now, but we’re talking about a huge bet on a short-term future play. Once Beal signs his supermax, whichever team is holding it better be ready to go deep into the playoffs, because they sure as hell ain’t adding help once he’s making $50M a year. And if he declines after 30, too bad. That’s a guaranteed contract and Jokic’s prime is wasted.

  267. No. I’m making the case that Washington is not winning with Beal and G-leaguers, as was stated before. They are winning with Beal Westbrook some NBA rotational players.

    Ranking 194th of 199 qualified players in the league’s most important stat? That’s not G-league-esque to you?

  268. cgreene: Ok. Let’s start the bidding. Think I did this exercise before.

    Either the NY or DAL unprotected 2021 1st
    Either the NY or DAL top 3 protected 2023 1st
    2022 swap
    Toppin
    Frank
    Knox
    Filler

    This is a deal I would do.

    It’s not really worth the exercise. Your offer is fair. It would take a tweak or two. Nobody on this board is going to believe you get Washington to agree. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read “I can’t believe how (fill in the team) stole (fill in the star) here.

  269. If we could add another superstar to Randle, IQ, Beal, and keep our center duo of Mitch & Noel, then I’d consider it.

    We’d need to move significant draft capital and give up RJ.

    I just don’t see where we get a 3rd superstar, unless we bet on LaVine’s season being real. At that point you’re betting on LaVine, Randle, & Beal maintaining their career numbers from this season as their new baseline. Randle & LaVine are young enough for it to be plausible, Beal not so much.

    Even if those 3 players are all real, then I’d still probably slot us behind the Nets and a few teams. On the other hand, we probably have 4-5 year window to make it work.

    There’s a path with Beal, but the window to acquire a 3rd star closes very quickly.

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