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Sunday, September 21, 2014

NYT: Knicks Need to Look for Efficient Scoring

The latest entry for the New York Times Off the Dribble Blog, my take on the Carmelo Anthony trade and how it applies to the “shot creation” vs. “efficiency” debate.

Last February, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith wrote “the Knicks must go get Carmelo Anthony as soon as possible,” and “Danilo Gallinari is good, with promise, but hardly worth holding on to if it means not getting Anthony’s services.”

Smith’s remarks represent those who put a high demand on shot creation. By this standard, Anthony’s value was perceived to be much greater than that of Gallinari due to the former’s ability to take more shots. Comparing the players’ stats at the same stage in their careers, Anthony is able to take nearly 38 percent more shots than Gallinari. On the other hand, Gallinari’s true shooting percentage, a measure of a player’s overall scoring efficiency, is 45 points higher (59.0 percent to 54.5 percent) than Anthony’s. Hence those who put a low premium on scoring volume and higher value on efficiency saw Anthony as overrated.

Nearly a year later, the result of this trade seems to be that higher efficiency is more valuable than higher volume when it comes to scoring. The Denver Nuggets have a robust 14-6 record, while the New York Knicks have a mediocre record of 7-13. Not that the fortunes of these teams are based on the efforts of a single player, but they embody the opposite sides of the volume/efficiency argument.

80 comments on “NYT: Knicks Need to Look for Efficient Scoring

  1. Nick C.

    Nice. I assume you can’t call out a “colleague” like Stephen A., but thanks for the subtle jab.

  2. Gideon Zaga

    So this will never end huh, I mean aren’t you guys tired of arguing this, why won’t the Lakers trade Kobe for Gallo. We get it Melo sucks and you want Gallo back, I remember last year when Gallo couldn’t hit a three for a stretch of games. I think they should add a script to the blog where you can view the comments history to put fanhood into perspective.

  3. ess-dog

    Yeah, file this one under “things KBers have known for a while but they’re news to G.Q public.”

    The guards are clearly the main culprit here. TD has to sit and Landry, while better, isn’t exactly playing the most efficient ball. But of course, Shumpert is worse.

    Another issue is how do you have Stat and Chandler only take efficient shots in the halfcourt? It’s one thing if we’re pushing the ball, but those guys pretty much have the same range (Stat may or may not have a short jumper though.)

    Clearly a trade like D. Lee/S. Curry for Stat/Shump would be helpful.

  4. njasdjdh

    It has recently come to my attention that we keep our pick this year if it’s a Top 5 pick. So…um…uhhh…how does everyone feel about tanking?

  5. Richmond County

    Mike’s article got me perusing advanced statistics and I found one that didn’t seem to match up with what I’ve experienced watching games. Hollinger has the Knicks playing at the 2nd highest pace in the league. I don’t see a lot of SSOL or fastbreaks happening out there and the Knicks are playing way better defense (10th in defensive efficiency) so that should be slowing the pace some. And all we’ve been gripping about lately is ball-stopping and isos. I’m trying to work this out if anyone could shed light on this. Is it the turnovers leading to fastbreaks for the opposition that are increasing the Knicks possessions?

  6. Frank

    Nice article Mike – but I’m not sure you’re actually right. If you look at championships as the marker of ultimate TEAM success, the two most dominant championship-winning players in the last 20 years are MJ and Kobe. Kobe has a middling career TS%. During his championship years, his TS was only about 55% and his USG% was over 30 in all those years.

    Jordan actually had his most efficient years BEFORE he won championships. He had a TS of 60+ in 1990-1991 but for the other five he was either below average (53.3 in his last CHI year) or just above average, all while having a USG% of 30+ each year.

    Duncan has 4 championships despite never having been an efficient scorer – his career TS is probably below average for a PF/C (55%) while his career usage% is about 28. Parker also is average with a TS of 55% in his career while having USG% in the mid 20s those championship years (Ginobili is much better though).

    In fact, it’s difficult to find more than a few championship teams in the last 20+ years that DIDN’T have a high-volume/usage middling efficiency scorer. It’s like you’re taking 1/4 of a shortened season and extrapolating it so far as to make a blanket statement about all of basketball. A fairer statement may be that gutting your team to get one “star” player may lead to worse-than-expected results.

    I know “championships won” is a relatively arbitrary marker of success – lots of things factor into whether one of 30 teams wins in any given year – but at the end of the day, the playoffs are what matter, and as long as you get into the tournament, what happens in the regular season doesn’t really matter. And in the playoffs, the game is DIFFERENT. The pace slows, defenses are more dug in against the pet plays of a particular offense, and more “shot creators” and iso guys MAY be more valuable. It sure seems like it from the history of the last 20+ years.

  7. Frank

    What’s probably going on in the DEN vs. NYK thing is that there is a HUGE total talent gap between the two teams. Chandler and Melo are probably more “talented” than their respective counterparts (Mozgov/Gallo), but other than those two, Denver has the edge the rest of the way. Nene is better than STAT at this point in their careers. After that you probably have to go down to Denver’s 10th man before the 4th guy for the Knicks might actually play.

    Re: Gallo vs. Melo – Gallo gets assisted on 68% of his FGs per 82games whereas Melo gets assisted on 30%. Some of this is Melo going iso all the time, but a lot of it is that the Knicks have ZERO playmakers other than him.

    So I would agree with Alan Hahn, who by far is the most reasonable and even-tempered beat-writer-type — let’s see how this team looks in a a month or three before we start saying that the first 20 games of this season proves anything about the proper construction of a contender. Remember, despite the fact that Denver set the world on fire during the post-trade regular season, they were pretty summarily dismissed by OKC in the 1st round, just like we were by the Celtics. Too early for grand sweeping statements.

  8. Mike Kurylo Post author

    Frank,

    Michael Jordan had a TS% above the league average in every year the Bulls won a championship except for one. BTW in that last season the Bulls ranked 9th on offense, which is what you’d expect, no? I believe the were a top 3 offense the other seasons.

    Additionally in most of those seasons he’s flanked by high efficiency scorers. I just picked 2 seasons at random, but in 1991 of the top minute-getters only 1 of the top 5 is below the league average (Cartwright). In 1996 it was Rodman.

    I’m not really interested in making a study of this, but I don’t buy your conclusion.

  9. Ben R

    To further the Kobe and MJ comparisons I would say they were better and more willing passers than Melo and used their isos and overall high usage to open up easy shots for their teammates. Melo does not do that. It’s not that he takes hard shots when the offense struggles and helps create easy looks the rest of the time. Melo either hijacks the offense and creates a shot for himself or occasionally others or is almost a spectator while the others create for themselves. Sort of a my turn your turn situation.

    Also MJ and Kobe were elite defenders and created offense with turnovers and defensive stops.

  10. TheRant

    Ben R: Also MJ and Kobe were elite defenders and created offense with turnovers and defensive stops.

    I think Ben R, above, has the key point.

    You can’t argue offensive efficiency in a vacuum since defense is such a key aspect of the game. Melo (and Gallo, for that matter) is nowhere near MJ or Kobe in his ability to lock down the other team’s wing players.

  11. JK47

    @11

    They also both played in the triangle, which mandates that sort of ball movement. Put Melo in a triangle with Phil Jackson coaching the team before making an apples-to-apples comparison.

  12. Gideon Zaga

    so now its Melo vs Jordan and Kobe, not bad at least we are not talking about fantasy trades for once. I just can’t wait for tonight’s game, another must win so we can keep the coach I want fired but looking at the field guess we can’t do better.

  13. Frank

    @10-12 – that’s my whole point. There are many other things other than high-volume average-efficiency shooting that factor into whether a team is good or not. Denver is good partially because Gallo is medium volume high efficiency, but they’re also ridiculously deep with a great point guard and a well-balanced offensive scheme. The Knicks are bad partially because Melo is not scoring efficiently, but because their guards suck, their bench is the worst in basketball, and because their only point guard has yet to play a game this year. Jordan/Kobe/Wade etc. are great not only because they are good scorers, but because they do so many other things well. But Mike’s article made it seem as if the scoring efficiency was the main factor at play in the difference between DEN and NYK, when it is really only one of many (like @12 said). On top of that, the scoring efficiency of one player IS dependent on the team around him to greater (Amare) or lesser degrees. So if you score MOST efficiently in certain ways and your team can’t get you the ball that way, then your efficiency will decrease. But that’s as much a reflection on the team/offense as the player himself.

    @Mike – if “above average” is your cutoff for being efficient, then Melo has not been below the league average (53.3% over last 15 years per ESPN) for a full season since his 2nd season in the league (ok he was exactly the league average in 2008-9 at 53.2%).

  14. ruruland

    Unbelievable.

    44 percent of Gallo’s shots have come in the first ten seconds of the shot clock, and I would venture to say that at very least 25 percent of those are “run-outs.”

    I would say that alone is the only reason you’ve seen Gallo’s TS% improve. (Yes, his ts is also very good in the 11-15 seconds of shot clock, but doesn’t account for so many of his easy shots)

    64% of Gallo’s inside shots have been assisted, (78% of his dunks have been assisted, that’s the cherry-picking)

    Meanwhile, only 22 percent of Melo’s inside shots have been assisted. If you think that’s because Melo doesn’t know how to move without the ball or run the wing on the fastbreak, this is a guy who while playing with Andre Miller (the only pass-first point guard he’s ever played with), had a significantly higher assisted rate, and was perennially among the league leaders in points scored in the paint.

    This sums up Melo apparently for this board: ” Melo either hijacks the offense and creates a shot for himself or occasionally others…”

    That’s actually a rather glowing assessment from this board.

    Right now Melo has an assist percentage of 26. That’s 4th best among SFers (behind James, Hedo, and PP). It’s 51st in the league.
    Do any of the 50 players in front of him play on a team that is as woeful as the Knicks in the open jump shot department?

    He’s doing that with guys who can’t shoot the ball.

    There have been times when Melo’s hijacked the offense. I think a very strong argument can be made that, given what the struggles around him, that’s what you want your best scorer to do.

    Him doing it too often, maybe, just maybe, is a byproduct of the incompetence he’s surrounded by. I would acknowledge that he’s iso’d too often this year,

    But, there have been times, especially to start out games, where Melo has played perfectly within the offense.

    To ignore that reality really shows how deep-seated and one-sided the hatred is of…

  15. Mike Kurylo Post author

    Frank: @Mike – if “above average” is your cutoff for being efficient, then Melo has not been below the league average (53.3% over last 15 years per ESPN) for a full season since his 2nd season in the league (ok he was exactly the league average in 2008-9 at 53.2%).

    I can’t tell if you’re twisting the numbers on purpose. Carmelo Anthony’s career TS% is 54.4. In all but one of Jordan’s championship seasons he had a higher TS%. Three of those seasons are higher than Carmelo’s career best. (The fourth and fifth are off by only .001 and .003).

    Frank: But Mike’s article made it seem as if the scoring efficiency was the main factor at play in the difference between DEN and NYK, when it is really only one of many (like @12 said).

    I don’t deny that they are other things in play. But that’s a strawman argument because in the NBA there will always be differences among teams. Well at least until we get cloning down properly.

    And I don’t deny that the Knicks are under-performing. But let’s turn the tables and assume the non-star Knicks were shooting lights out basketball. Wouldn’t there be people touting the greatness of Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire’s shot creation? Shouldn’t the sword cut both ways?

    Here’s the premise of the article: The Knicks have lots of guys that are taking a high number of shots, including two players who are known to be high volume scorers. The Nuggets have lots of guys with high shooting efficiency, and none of them are high volume scorers. The Nuggets rank #1 on offense in the NBA, the Knicks 24th.

    Even if you take the Knicks out of the equation, it should be shocking (to some) that the Nuggets are #1 on offense without a top gun scorer. Shouldn’t the offense be struggling to score every trip down the floor? What…

  16. BigBlueAL

    Speaking of Michael Jordan, have you guys seen his WS/48?? OMG.

    His career WS/48 is .250 and that includes his 2 seasons with the Wizards when he was slightly below .100 both seasons. 3 times he was above .300, his career high being .321 in the Bulls 1st championship season (.317 in the 72-10 season). Shit.

  17. xcat01

    @13,

    D’Antoni’s offense is a ball movement offense also similar to the triangle. Why I agree that you can not compare Kobe and MJ directly with Melo, what makes you think that Melo will give up all his ISOs just because the offense is the triangle as opposed to SSOL? Either way Melo has to learn that there are 4 other players on the offensive end besides himself. Until he gives up his “I got my shots” attitude the Knicks will not improve.

  18. cgreene

    And then there is this to lighten your moods:

    @WaltFrazier
    The Knicks woes have me feeling blue and I know you are too…I’m dressed in black hoping the Knicks will come back!

  19. ruruland

    P>@Mike – if “above average” is your cutoff for being efficient, then Melo has not been below the league average (53.3% over last 15 years per ESPN) for a full season since his 2nd season in the league (ok he was exactly the league average in 2008-9 at 53.2%).

    2008-2009 he played with injuries all season long. You’ll notice from a TS % it’s an anomaly from the rest of his mature career. ( as a 19 and 20 year old he was not a mature player and that’s reflected in his numbers)

    Denver has two excellent point guards, not one. Gallo is always surrounded on the court by guys who are penetrating, or finding him getting behind the defense… That’s before you talk about spacing the superior passing ability of the 2 guards and the PF.

    It’s really a well-built, congruently-built team. Everyone understands that.

    But again, the guys who played with Melo, Nene and Afflallo are not anywhere near as efficient without him as they were with him.

    Despite just an above average ts% most of his career, Denver and New York have always been significantly better with Melo on the floor on offense.

    How do you come to terms with the idea that Melo hijacks the offense when that’s always been the case.

    And, let me remind you, Denver has always had very good bench play. In fact, many years Karl had superior players coming off the bench for him, guys like JR Smith, Rodney White, Chris Andersen, Nene, Earl Boykins, Ty Lawson etc al.

  20. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    Speaking of Michael Jordan, have you guys seen his WS/48?? OMG.

    His career WS/48 is .250 and that includes his 2 seasons with the Wizards when he was slightly below .100 both seasons. 3 times he was above .300, his career high being .321 in the Bulls 1st championship season (.317 in the 72-10 season). Shit.

    Yeah, I was looking at career Win Shares the other day to entertain myself by seeing who the top Win Shares were for each of the drafts in the 1980s (some surprising results on a few of the years) and I was taken aback by how awesome Jordan’s numbers were. I mean, again, just like you, I knew that they were good, but not this good! Wow.

  21. ruruland

    xcat01: @13,D’Antoni’s offense is a ball movement offense also similar to the triangle. Why I agree that you can not compare Kobe and MJ directly with Melo, what makes you think that Melo will give up all his ISOs just because the offense is the triangle as opposed to SSOL? Either way Melo has to learn that there are 4 other players on the offensive end besides himself. Until he gives up his “I got my shots” attitude the Knicks will not improve.

    26 in assist percentage on a team that can’t make jump shots, 4th behind guys like Lebron, Hedo and PP.

  22. ruruland

    P>Even if you take the Knicks out of the equation, it should be shocking (to some) that the Nuggets are #1 on offense without a top gun scorer. Shouldn’t the offense be struggling to score every trip down the floor? What…

    Premise isn’t surprising at all. There is no inefficiency on Denver, no shots or usage “overhead”, no diminishing marginal returns. That’s all a result of the style of the play and the kind of players it’s assembled.Just an ideal fit from every kind of way you want to look at it, until of course the team is foreced to win in grind-out fashion in the 4th quarter.

    It’s a team that plays very fast, and is very unselfish. Take five of it’s best ten players, replace them with five supporting players from the Knicks, increase the usage of those five players as a result, and the efficiency will decease dramatically across the board.

    Also, this is the most talented top to bottom Denver has ever had. And it almost ideally uses its depth.

    The Billups-Melo Nuggets were an elite offensive unit, and the total efficiency numbers belie how good they were. Because those teams were more reliant on their usage, when they went out, there was greater decrease in efficiency.

    They both missed quite a few games together. But when they were healthy and both playing, Denver was every bit as good on offense as they are now, except they had the horses to win the close, half-court 4th quyarter games.

  23. Frank

    Mike Kurylo:
    Here’s the premise of the article: The Knicks have lots of guys that are taking a high number of shots, including two players who are known to be high volume scorers. The Nuggets have lots of guys with high shooting efficiency, and none of them are high volume scorers. The Nuggets rank #1 on offense in the NBA, the Knicks 24th.

    Even if you take the Knicks out of the equation, it should be shocking (to some) that the Nuggets are #1 on offense without a top gun scorer. Shouldn’t the offense be struggling to score every trip down the floor? What…

    Fair enough – but it’d be interesting to see how the #1 offense in the league would operate without Lawson and Miller. My guess is that watching Gallo, Afflalo, Nene, etc. operate without someone getting them the ball in an advantageous position (and NOT getting it to them in a disadvantageous position) would be just as ugly as our offense looks right now.

    Point is – there are only very few guys out there that can score in any way imaginable – with the ball in their hands, without the ball in their hands, regardless of the offensive system. Two of them are in Miami, one in LA is declining but still has it for the most part, one is in Chicago. But even those guys need space to operate. It would be VERY interesting to see what Miami’s offense would look like if their starting guards were shooting 22 and 26% from 3 point range.

    I don’t think anyone ever thought that Melo and Amare were in the same class as Kobe-in-his-prime, Wade, Lebron, Rose. The thought was that in D’Antoni’s system, those two could thrive – and they still might if they can get a PG that can deliver the ball to them in ways that allow them to score efficiently.

    I’m always optimistic, maybe incorrectly so, but I think we still need 6 weeks to see what this team is about.

  24. njasdjdh

    Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin): Yeah, I was looking at career Win Shares the other day to entertain myself by seeing who the top Win Shares were for each of the drafts in the 1980s (some surprising results on a few of the years) and I was taken aback by how awesome Jordan’s numbers were. I mean, again, just like you, I knew that they were good, but not this good! Wow.

    Yeah, I tried comparing LeBron and MJ through 9 seasons earlier today thinking it’d be fairly close. Nope.

  25. ruruland

    Mike Kurylo: I can’t tell if you’re twisting the numbers on purpose. Carmelo Anthony’s career TS% is 54.4. In all but one of Jordan’s championship seasons he had a higher TS%. …

    Melo is nothing like the player he was as a 19 yo or 20 yo. If you didn’t follow Denver closely then you wouldn’t understand how substantial the improvements were going into his third season.

    When you look at post 20 yo Melo, the mature player, you have TS% of: 563, 552, 568, 548, 575, 547.

    That paints a different picture. And, Mike, it’s clear you can win with relatively modest TS% high-volume guys. Long, long history there.

    Shoot, talk about Kobe, but understand Denver should have beaten the Lakers in ’08 anyway with Melo as the front and center guy.

  26. Mike Kurylo Post author

    Here’s a thought. Maybe in the NBA you just need a pair of good distributing PGs, and some selfless shooters. Not the “superstar” volume scorer. If NBA teams started to value the former & paying less for the latter, imagine how entertaining the league would be in 10 years.

  27. flossy

    ruruland: 26 in assist percentage on a team that can’t make jump shots, 4th behind guys like Lebron, Hedo and PP.

    That assist percentage is a function of the fact that he has the ball in his hands on 90% of our plays. As the primary distributor in any offense, 26 AST%, 4 ast/36 and a 1.25:1 AST/TO ratio is awful.

  28. ruruland

    flossy: That assist percentage is a function of the fact that he has the ball in his hands on 90% of our plays. As the primary distributor in any offense, 26 AST%, 4 ast/36 and a 1.25:1 AST/TO ratio is awful.

    90% of the plays would mean his usage would be much higher. That’s obviously not the case. And there are other guys on this team who attempt to be the primary player on many possessions, mostly by taking shots.

    That assist percentage would be much higher if guys were making shots at just an average clip. Even if you distributed the made shots across the board, Melo’s assist % would still rise into the 30s because of the proportion of overal passes he’s making.

    Has it come down to blaming Melo for not being Steve Nash on a team that can’t shoot? I think it has.

  29. flossy

    ruruland: That assist percentage would be much higher if guys were making shots at just an average clip.

    They made them at an above average clip when someone else was running the offense. Weird!

  30. Ben R

    Why is it that we are simply bad because our PGs suck when Atlanta is winning with Teague and McGrady, Miami with Chalmers and Cole, Lakers with Fisher and Blake, Memphis with Conley and Selby.

    Our problems go beyond the bad play of TD and Shumpert.

    Since his rookie year Melo has had two coaches in his NBA career and both are ball-movement specialists yet both failed to stop Melo’s ball-stopping. Denver was successful despite of Melo’s ways but to think that a new PG or a new coach will all of a sudden make Melo share the ball and play a flowing offensive game is delusional.

    I’m not saying Melo can’t be effective he has been effective but he did it on his own terms in an iso heavy, ball-stopping offense. Amare cannot be effective in that offense so something has to give. A new PG or new coach won’t suddenly make them fit together.

    Denver is thriving without Melo because Karl finally has a team that fits his style and Lawson is finally able to shine after being held back by Melo and Billups. Gallo has been more effective but he is a different player that fills a different role. You could not ask Gallo to do what Melo does anymore than you could ask Melo to do what Gallo does.

  31. BigBlueAL

    Jeff Teague does not suck, in fact he is having a very good season for the Hawks. I should know because he is on my fantasy team lol

  32. ruruland

    Mike Kurylo: Here’s a thought. Maybe in the NBA you just need a pair of good distributing PGs, and some selfless shooters. Not the “superstar” volume scorer. If NBA teams started to value the former & paying less for the latter, imagine how entertaining the league would be in 10 years.

    Yeah, I think people get it.

    I think you need to go back historically and present a much more balanced view of your argument, instead of this recklessly jaded I hate melo and the trade fodder this board gets blasted with on a daily.

    There are quite a few cases of very good regular season teams with very balanced offenses that always fell short in the playoffs. George Karl’s SuperSonics are a great example.

    I don’t necessarily think you “can’t” win an NBA championship with the Denver model, but it’s way, way, way too early and not backed up with nearly enough evidence to suggest that it’s the blueprint for championship success.

    On the contrary when you’re talking about rings.

    My suggestion is to keep watching Denver. Watch how they do in close 4th quarter games in the half-court. Clearly that was their downfall in the playoffs. It’s been their downfall so far this year.

    You’re completely ignoring the value of a guy who can create his own shot. Denver doesn’t really have one of those.

  33. ruruland

    Ben R: Why is it that we are simply bad because our PGs suck when Atlanta is winning with Teague and McGrady, Miami with Chalmers and Cole, Lakers with Fisher and Blake, Memphis with Conley and Selby.Our problems go beyond the bad play of TD and Shumpert.Since his rookie year Melo has had two coaches in his NBA career and both are ball-movement specialists yet both failed to stop Melo’s ball-stopping. Denver was successful despite of Melo’s ways but to think that a new PG or a new coach will all of a sudden make Melo share the ball and play a flowing offensive game is delusional.I’m not saying Melo can’t be effective he has been effective but he did it on his own terms in an iso heavy, ball-stopping offense. Amare cannot be effective in that offense so something has to give. A new PG or new coach won’t suddenly make them fit together.Denver is thriving without Melo because Karl finally has a team that fits his style and Lawson is finally able to shine after being held back by Melo and Billups. Gallo has been more effective but he is a different player that fills a different role. You could not ask Gallo to do what Melo does anymore than you could ask Melo to do what Gallo does.

    of course Melo could do what Gallo does, he’s done it before (yeah, with a higher usage on much less talented teams).

    Melo used to be a runner like Gallo who got a lot of great shots for himself by getting out early.

    Uh, Miami’s duo have been extremely effective. Every example you used has been much better offensively than the Knicks guard duo.

    Are you suggesting that Melo has magically turned these guys into awful offensive players?

    Why is the offense so much better with Melo on the court, despite his awful shooting this year? Why aren’t these guys playing better, let alone worse, when Melo is on the bench?

  34. flossy

    ruruland: You’re completely ignoring the value of a guy who can create his own shot. Denver doesn’t really have one of those.

    Everyone gets it! We get it, okay! Sometimes, the ability to create one’s own shot is important! Melo is so good at it!

    The problem, is that he does not have another gear to switch in to that actually fits within a ball-movement oriented offence. Paul Pierce has managed to assimilate himself with a handful of other HOF-caliber teammates without dominating the ball and diminishing the effectiveness of those around him. Late in close games, when the Celtics need him to ISO, he does and to great effect. At other times, he plays within the team concept. If Melo can’t manage to do the same he is not worth his paycheck, period!

    I’m willing to suspend my disbelief until we have Baron Davis on the floor, but based on the mountains of evidence available, the odds that Melo takes that opportunity to stop heaving up stupid shots in favor of keeping the ball moving are slim to none.

  35. flossy

    ruruland: What?

    Who and when?

    Landry Fields, Toney Douglas, Amar’e Stoudemire? Last year? Or were you still a Nuggets fan at that point?

  36. ruruland

    flossy: Landry Fields, Toney Douglas, Amar’e Stoudemire? Last year? Or were you still a Nuggets fan at that point?

    The Knicks were better on offense with Melo last year, too.

    Douglas played the best ball of his career with Melo last year.

  37. ruruland

    flossy: Everyone gets it! We get it, okay! Sometimes, the ability to create one’s own shot is important! Melo is so good at it! The problem, is that he does not have another gear to switch in to that actually fits within a ball-movement oriented offence. Paul Pierce has managed to assimilate himself with a handful of other HOF-caliber teammates without dominating the ball and diminishing the effectiveness of those around him. Late in close games, when the Celtics need him to ISO, he does and to great effect. At other times, he plays within the team concept. If Melo can’t manage to do the same he is not worth his paycheck, period! I’m willing to suspend my disbelief until we have Baron Davis on the floor, but based on the mountains of evidence available, the odds that Melo takes that opportunity to stop heaving up stupid shots in favor of keeping the ball moving are slim to none.

    If you don’t think Melo has played within the team concept this year or in the past, throughout long stretches of games this year, there is no point exchanging comments with you.

  38. fmrcoach

    Melo is in a poor situation with the Knicks at this time. Coach D does not run an offense that gives Melo many touches in his sweet spots. He has been forced to mostly work out of isos to produce his points. The Knicks as currently structured are a poorly constructed team. They traded away too many parts in that trade, let 2 of their pgs go, and did not replace them. This is on the FO, not on the player, not adjusting his offense to take advantage of his strengths is on the coach. When healthy, he is the best closer in the league. It is not his fault that Stats is not 100% The Knicks need more tweaking to jell, then he will be a real asset

  39. flossy

    ruruland: If you don’t think Melo has played within the team concept this year or in the past, throughout long stretches of games this year, there is no point exchanging comments with you.

    Well, there was that stretch of games when he was literally to injured to shoot.

  40. ruruland

    flossy: Well, there was that stretch of games when he was literally to injured to shoot.

    Again, it’s one thing to say Melo takes too many shots and goes into to many iso’s, it’s quite another to say he can’t play within the team concept and hasn’t so for long stretches in games this year, or historically.

    If that is your opinion, I’m not going to insult my own intilligence by addressing it.

  41. flossy

    flossy: Well, there was that stretch of games when he was literally to injured to shoot.

    *too injured.

    And yes, Melo has absolutely either failed (charitable view) or refused (uncharitable view) to be the primary facilitator in the kind of ball-movement oriented offense that Mike D’Antoni has espoused. Whether or not that’s what he, as a scorer, wants to do is besides the point. He’s a so-called superstar making max money and the roster we have demands he play this role. Who do you think is being referred to when even Amar’e is telling the press that “some players” are playing without so much as even consulting the game plan?

  42. ruruland

    flossy: *too injured.And yes, Melo has absolutely either failed (charitable view) or refused (uncharitable view) to be the primary facilitator in the kind of ball-movement oriented offense that Mike D’Antoni has espoused. Whether or not that’s what he, as a scorer, wants to do is besides the point. He’s a so-called superstar making max money and the roster we have demands he play this role. Who do you think is being referred to when even Amar’e is telling the press that “some players” are playing without so much as even consulting the game plan?

    Uh, that was after the Houston game, but I know reality doesn’t matter in this witch hunt.

    How is Amar’e consulting the game plan?

    How unselfish has he been this year. Does he, another max contract guy, get a pass despite being completely reliant on a pg to spoon-feed him layups, and otherwise offering nothing else to the table?

    I mean, Amar’e shoots the ball just about as much as Melo but doesn’t have anywhere near the assist percentage.

    Let me understand your argument here. Melo, who currently has the 4th highest assist% behind 3 point-forwards playing with substantially better shooters, needs to do a better job of making
    his teammates MAKE open jump shots.

    He needs to make Landry Fields shoot better than .413 efg% on jump shots, Shumpert .373 efg% on jump shots, Douglas .340% on jump shots, Bibby .438 efg %.

    He needs to get these guys dunks and layups, frankly, if they are unable to make an open jump shot.

  43. ruruland

    flossy: *too injured.. He’s a so-called superstar making max money and the roster we have demands he play this role.

    What role is that? Point guard. Oh, he already leads the team in assist %, does he need to be a better point guard?

  44. flossy

    ruruland: He needs to get these guys dunks and layups, frankly, if they are unable to make an open jump shot.

    Yes, he needs to get them dunks and lay-ups. Why doesn’t he? Is Landry Fields unwilling to cut to the basket? How about instead of shooting defended 20′ jump shots, he needs to consistently use his ability to create his own shot to actually draw double coverage and open up better scoring opportunities for his teammates closer to the basket? Instead of bailing out the defense with low percentage shots, why not even attempt a 2-man game with Amar’e? We’ve all seen him do these things sometimes, which is why it seems like he is consciously choosing not to do them consistently. There are actually other options besides teammates bricking long jump shots and Melo going into chuck mode, you know. And since he is one of the main reasons that this roster is so thin, it is kind of on him to run the offense in a way that makes it actually work. The Knicks roster is full of players who have demonstrated they can thrive on offense. Melo needs to run the kind of offense in which they can be effective. If he can’t, or won’t, as I said, not worth the dough.

  45. flossy

    ruruland: What role is that? Point guard. Oh, he already leads the team in assist %, does he need to be a better point guard?

    Yes? Obviously? Is that so hard to understand? 4 assists and 3 turnovers per 36 is not getting it done.

  46. Degree_Absolute

    Also, Stephen A. Smith is worthless. I can’t think of an ESPN writer whose opinion I value less. He acts as if his opinions are the Gospel and backs it up with plenty of bluster, but no substance. If the Knicks want to be successful they should literally do the opposite of whatever SAS says.

  47. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    of course Melo could do what Gallo does

    Melo’s career high TS% is the same as Gallo’s career low TS%. So if Melo could do what Gallo does, I’d really like for him to start doing so. That would really help the team (as they were helped when Melo had that career high TS% last season).

  48. Degree_Absolute

    Degree_Absolute:
    Also, Stephen A. Smith is worthless.I can’t think of an ESPN writer whose opinion I value less.He acts as if his opinions are the Gospel and backs it up with plenty of bluster, but no substance.If the Knicks want to be successful they should literally do the opposite of whatever SAS says.

    I may have just SAS’ed. My apologies.

  49. Ben R

    Melo has never completely bought into any offensive team concept, there is a reason Karl was constantly at battle with Melo over shot selection. In fact to get Melo to even partially buy into his concept in Denver he had to bargain with Melo. I remember him telling Melo he could shoot 10 iso shots if he also drove to the basket 10 times and posted up 10 times. That is not buying in. Melo plays the way Melo wants to play. He disrupts ball movement and flow by stopping the ball and “creating offense” 20 feet from the basket.

    As for the “open” looks our guards have been missing they are not all that open. If we had Ray Allen or Kyle Korver the shots would probably be open enough but Fields has not been getting the same quality looks from 3 that he did pretrade. Fields is more of a slasher than a spot up shooter and needs a little time to set his shot to be effective from 3. Since the trade he has not had that time. If the looks our shooters were getting were great then why are Bibby, Fields, Walker and Douglas all shooting so far under their career averages.

  50. ruruland

    Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin): Melo’s career high TS% is the same as Gallo’s career low TS%. So if Melo could do what Gallo does, I’d really like for him to start doing so. That would really help the team (as they were helped when Melo had that career high TS% last season).

    Again, I said with higher usage, thus lower TS% (Melo has been a fast-break player). Currently there is no one on the team that can get Melo, or anyone else for that matter, the ball on the break. There is no guard on the roster who can intitiate and sustain a fast-break, period.

    So, throw that out (and it’s been a huge part of Gallo’s offense in his career, a big part of his TS% as he’s never played without an excellent pass first guard or in a half-court offense)

    if you want Melo to play like Gallo in the half-court, put him in the corner, on the wing, have him do two things: take open 3′s, or when the defense closes, drive to the basket, flail your arms, and get to the free throw line.

    That is the summation of Gallo’s offense. I’m sure if Melo chose to do just those two things, and cherry-pick the defense, his TS% would be well in advance of .600. Of course, the Knicks would have no chance of winning, but I’m sure it’d win over a small portion of the Melo haters, TS and WS are everything guys on the board.

  51. ruruland

    Ben R: Melo has never completely bought into any offensive team concept, there is a reason Karl was constantly at battle with Melo over shot selection. In fact to get Melo to even partially buy into his concept in Denver he had to bargain with Melo. I remember him telling Melo he could shoot 10 iso shots if he also drove to the basket 10 times and posted up 10 times. That is not buying in. Melo plays the way Melo wants to play. He disrupts ball movement and flow by stopping the ball and “creating offense” 20 feet from the basket. As for the “open” looks our guards have been missing they are not all that open. If we had Ray Allen or Kyle Korver the shots would probably be open enough but Fields has not been getting the same quality looks from 3 that he did pretrade. Fields is more of a slasher than a spot up shooter and needs a little time to set his shot to be effective from 3. Since the trade he has not had that time. If the looks our shooters were getting were great then why are Bibby, Fields, Walker and Douglas all shooting so far under their career averages.

    Melo is the reason, obviously.

    Melo is the reason.

    Melo is the reason.

    Melo is the reason.

    Melo is the reason.

    Melo is the reason.

  52. Ben R

    ruruland: Melo is the reason, obviously.

    Melo is the reason.

    Melo is the reason.

    Melo is the reason.

    Melo is the reason.

    Melo is the reason.

    I agree

  53. d-mar

    Ben R:
    Melo has never completely bought into any offensive team concept, there is a reason Karl was constantly at battle with Melo over shot selection. In fact to get Melo to even partially buy into his concept in Denver he had to bargain with Melo. I remember him telling Melo he could shoot 10 iso shots if he also drove to the basket 10 times and posted up 10 times. That is not buying in. Melo plays the way Melo wants to play. He disrupts ball movement and flow by stopping the ball and “creating offense” 20 feet from the basket.

    As for the “open” looks our guards have been missing they are not all that open. If we had Ray Allen or Kyle Korver the shots would probably be open enough but Fields has not been getting the same quality looks from 3 that he did pretrade. Fields is more of a slasher than a spot up shooter and needs a little time to set his shot to be effective from 3. Since the trade he has not had that time. If the looks our shooters were getting were great then why are Bibby, Fields, Walker and Douglas all shooting so far under their career averages.

    You are kidding about Fields’ open looks right? I don’t know how many times this season he has caught the ball at the 3 pt line, looked around, looked around again and then launched a brick. What exactly is a “quality look” if it’s not having no defender within 10 feet of you?

  54. BigBlueAL

    I dunno what constitutes an open look but this is the NBA, you are not going to constantly get open looks where a player can take 5 seconds to shoot the ball from 3pt range. In the NBA if you can catch and shoot immediately w/o a hand in your face thats an open look.

  55. d-mar

    Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin): This will be the latest and greatest of their must-win games. Hopefully it goes better than their previous must-win games.

    Let’s see, Detroit reeling, 2nd night of a back to back, Knicks at home…I would say the Knicks should be underdogs based on past experience

  56. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    if you want Melo to play like Gallo in the half-court, put him in the corner, on the wing, have him do two things: take open 3?s, or when the defense closes, drive to the basket, flail your arms, and get to the free throw line.

    I would love to see Melo take open threes and drive to the basket, yes. Please, sign me up for that. It is similar to what he did last season that got him his career-high TS% and led the Knicks to an impressive offense.

  57. BigBlueAL

    Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin): This will be the latest and greatest of their must-win games. Hopefully it goes better than their previous must-win games.

    I kinda was hoping he didnt play tonight because of the 3 games in a row starting on Thursday. Figured the Knicks could win tonight w/o Melo and have him as healthy as possible the the upcoming tough stretch.

  58. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    Let’s see, Detroit reeling, 2nd night of a back to back, Knicks at home…I would say the Knicks should be underdogs based on past experience

    In all seriousness, they can’t lose this game, right? I mean, it would be close to impossible to lose this game. Man, I hope they don’t lose this game.

  59. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    I kinda was hoping he didnt play tonight because of the 3 games in a row starting on Thursday. Figured the Knicks could win tonight w/o Melo and have him as healthy as possible the the upcoming tough stretch.

    I definitely understand the logic behind that, but I dunno, I really think they need a win right now, and playing him should help to lock a win down, so I’d play him. Unless, of course, he isn’t even 90% healthy yet, in which case, yeah, give him the extra game.

  60. Ben R

    A lot of players can make set shots off of mediocre passes with a small window with no hand in their face, a lot can’t. Fields is not a shooter, he is a slasher. He is only effective from beyond the arc with a lot of time. He seems to be trying to adjust his shot to make it faster but a big reason his offense fell off a cliff last year is the window on his open looks from 3 was a lot shorter post trade. There was still a window but not a large enough one for Fields.

    Fields has not been great from the wide open looks this year but I would guess that he has shot better than 30-35%% on the wide open ones and 10% or less on the semi open ones. Last year he was probably shooting better than his ability but most of his 3′s pretrade were wide open while most of his post trade were not.

    It is impressive that Fields has adjusted his game of late and is now one of the most efficient players on the team, better than Melo, Amare, TD or Shumpert, the only players with higher usage. In fact over the last two weeks Fields has shot a TS% of over 58%. I think Fields is no longer the problem.

  61. BigBlueAL

    Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin): I definitely understand the logic behind that, but I dunno, I really think they need a win right now, and playing him should help to lock a win down, so I’d play him. Unless, of course, he isn’t even 90% healthy yet, in which case, yeah, give him the extra game.

    How about he plays and they have an easy win which lets Melo sit out the entire 4th quarter insuring he doesnt get further injured :-)

  62. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    Shumpert will be replacing Douglas in the starting lineup.

    So wait, didn’t they just make a big thing about how Shump will no longer be a point guard? And they follow that up with him starting…at point guard? Gah?

  63. Ben R

    Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin): So wait, didn’t they just make a big thing about how Shump will no longer be a point guard? And they follow that up with him starting…at point guard? Gah?

    I hope it’s because they are sitting TD so he maybe can get healthy and play like he should be playing.

  64. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    I hope it’s because they are sitting TD so he maybe can get healthy and play like he should be playing.

    I would like to see Toney get some rest to see if it helps his shoulder, but in that case, why not start Bibby? Or even (when pigs fly) Lin? It just seems like such a strange idea to commit to a guy not playing the point and then automatically playing him at the point.

  65. Ben R

    Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin): I would like to see Toney get some rest to see if it helps his shoulder, but in that case, why not start Bibby? Or even (when pigs fly) Lin? It just seems like such a strange idea to commit to a guy not playing the point and then automatically playing him at the point.

    I agree, Lin seems like the best choice but maybe MDA doesn’t want to throw too much at Lin all at once. As for Bibby I would prefer Jeffries at PG over Bibby. Bibby is so bad it is actually hard to watch.

  66. Nick C.

    Sorry I wasn’t paying better attention when they talked about Shumpert starting during the pregame. I was reading you guys up above. :-)

  67. hoolahoop

    Ben R:
    To further the Kobe and MJ comparisons I would say they were better and more willing passers than Melo and used their isos and overall high usage to open up easy shots for their teammates. Melo does not do that. It’s not that he takes hard shots when the offense struggles and helps create easy looks the rest of the time. Melo either hijacks the offense and creates a shot for himself or occasionally others or is almost a spectator while the others create for themselves. Sort of a my turn your turn situation.

    Also MJ and Kobe were elite defenders and created offense with turnovers and defensive stops.

    Yes, This.

  68. stratomatic

    Quick point.

    I don’t think we should compare shooting stats for this season with shooting stats from previous seasons. The league as a whole is shooting below average because of the shorter camp.

    To me, the issue with Melo vs. Gallo is not one of talent.

    It’s one of basketball IQ.

    Melo’s is low.

    Gallo’s is high.

    Playing intelligently generally means trying to get to the rim (either on your own, assisted, or in transition), getting to the FT line, and taking good looks from beyond the arc “IF” you are very good at it (upper 37% and up).

    Here’s a summary of his Melo’s talents.

    He’s “great” at getting to the rim, drawing fouls, and is very efficient when he does.

    He’s not very efficient taking long or contested 2s and in ISO mode (virtually no one in the league is)

    He’s not very efficient from beyond the arc.

    Players should only do what they are good at unless it’s late in the shot clock. Their efficiency & usage will then be a function of how many things they are good at and how good they are at them.

    The problem with Melo is that he often stops the ball, goes ISO, takes a contested shot, takes a long 2 from just inside the arc, or takes a 3 “when it’s still early in the clock”. That’s what kills his efficiency and prevents other players from potentially getting superiors looks if he would just move the ball.

    Melo should lower his usage and stop doing the things he’s not good at (like shooting 3s, going ISO, taking contested long 2s) unless it’s late in the clock.

    It’s really that simple.

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