Orlando Magic 103 – New York Knicks 108 – Game Recap

You already know I played some 2KNBA games in the past (I didn’t buy 2K19, I have some sort of on-again off-again relationship with the franchise). You already know I like to play MyPlayer/MyCareer as my go-to mode. You already know, also, that my build of choice is a stocky SF/PF that plays like a ground bound Shawn Marion with no dribble skills whatsoever. I don’t know why, but it looks like my brain refuses to learn the basic joypad coordination needed to achieve an average ballhandling level in the game, so that’s the best I can do.

Just once, though, I walked another path and created a 7’2″ center that (as per his ratings) shouldn’t have been able to do anything on the court for a while, at least until he theoretically got enough reps as to improve his rating. I don’t remember that avatar’s name, let’s call him “Longson Tallman”.

See, there’s some sort of a “cheat” in every 2K MyPlayer iteration I can remember. As long as you’re positioned well on defense and you’re not a total failure at timing things, you’re going to snatch a lot of boards. But, if you’re amazingly tall, you’re also going to block a huge amount of shots. While playing with Longson Tallman, by his 30th game in the League (OVR rating: around 65) he was given starter minutes, and he started posting lines like 18 points, 16 boards and 6 blocked shots in 30 minutes. As soon as it happened for the third straight game, I found the game not competitive and not realistic (a rookie with a 65 OVR posting numbers almost never seen? I know you’re supposed to be the best player in every game you play solo, but come on) and gave up.

I fear I might have given up too soon, as that avatar is coming to life under our own very eyes. I think we are so used to be prone to overreaction that we’re not able anymore to understand on a rational level what Mitch is doing in his minutes on the court. It’s going straight into videogame production. And I feel like I can’t process what’s going on when you factor his contract in.

Anyway, the game: first quarter futility blah blah blah terrible starters blah blah blah Magic stomping the ground yadda yadda yadda ENTER MITCH ok now it’s a game but wait what Mudiay is entering with him oh god Mitch will never see the ball

But actually Mudiay does a passable impression of a two legged freight train around the rim

But Mudiay never passes the ball to Mitch

But Henry Ellenson (who?), who will have the game of his life, has already learned to lob the ball to Mitch so in the end it’s all fine

Haha fools are trying to shoot above Mitch, yeah sure TWO BLOCKS in the same possession one on the perimeter and one around the rim oh my god

Hey it’s really a game! We’re close! Oh wait Knox is back into the game doing his Isadora Duncan routine

What are you serious this is our closing lineup: Mudiay Trier Jenkins Ellenson Robinson

Oh and by the way Mud passed the ball to Mitch just once in the game, two feet from halfcourt. Good job from a so-called PG

Zo entering spinning wheel mode

Mitch entering shutdown mode and hitting the free throw to put us in the lead

Ellenson plis stahp WE ARE TRYING TO TANK (cit. Spike) but yeah it’s good to hear a meaningful Mike Breen BANG from the Larry Johnson spot

And that’s the game. That’s it. No fake comeback, a pretty thrilling win (even if one that derails the tank a bit thanks to a few scrubs that probably won’t be here next year) and another monster performance by Mitch. Good stuff, in the end.

The good:

– I think you already expect it, don’t you? Mitchell Robinson (17 pts, 14 rebs, 6 blk, +5 +/-) just played one of the most dominant defensive performance I’ve ever seen from a Knicks post-Ewing. It’s not the numbers, mind you – I mean, of course it’s the numbers, but they don’t tell the whole story. It’s how he’s much more vocal on defense, directing people with his shouts and his long-ass arms, how people are genuinely afraid to shoot when he’s near them, how he slides alongside wing players, how he scored on a one-armed putback that also doubles as a classic dad-against-a-7-year-old-kid move, how a blatant foul he committed wasn’t called to give him a block (now, this last one might just be fortuitous, but it really looked like a star treatment). Guys, I think he’s arrived on the national scene. Keep also in mind that he played a lot of minutes with Mudiay, who really, really, really doesn’t know how to pass the ball to the rolling guy without turning the rock over. I’m afraid to open his B-R page because I’m not in the position to sport a boner for half an hour right now. I’ll just say he’s cruising comfortably over .200 WP/48. As a rookie. After not having played for a year. He looked gassed at a certain point in the first half after having played 16 straight minutes of pure bombshell basketball, but that was to be expected.

– Henry Ellenson (13 pts, 9 rebs, 5 ast, +18 +/-) played like 2008 Hedo Turkoglu’s skills went into Jonas Jerebko’s body. The numbers are great for a 10-day guy, but how he got there is even better. His lob to Mitch in the early seconds of the second quarter said a couple things: one, the kid understand basic principles of basketball better than the most famous recipient of Fizdale magic (throw the ball very high to the kid who jumps higher than anyone) and two, he likes to play team basketball. I don’t think he’ll stick around for much, but a Jenkins special might be in the making (this year plus next unguaranteed). Oh, you know who never recorded a 13-9-5 line in his Knicks stint? Yeah, the tall guy who wore number 6 (Oddly enough, Willy did once).

– Allonzo Trier (18 pts, 5 rebs, 2 ast, +21 +/-) played an amazingly efficient game, scoring 18 points on just 5 shots. Generally speaking, he was very good on offense, getting to the line repeatedly and being a menace every time he touched the ball. He also recorded 3 steals, and that was in just 21 minutes of playing time. I don’t know, if someone came to me telling me that an undrafted guy would average 10/3/2 in 22 mpg on Hardenesque splits (45/38/85) and an above average TS% I would have been very happy. It’s a shame they botched the Knox pick, otherwise the last one would have been a historical draft. On a side note: how ironic is that a guy they call Iso Zo is a much more reliable source of team basketball than your nominal backup point guard? On a different side note: how bad it is that as soon as someone sends a double Allonzo’s way he doesn’t know what to do with the ball? That’s the main thing he has to improve in the offseason.

The bad:

– It’s difficult to single out a bad player among the starters, but I’ll ride with the 3-for-16 shooting guy. Kevin Knox (8 pts, 5 rebs, 2 ast, -18 +/-) should be ashamed, though it’s not his fault, that his fellow rookies are performing this much better than him. I can’t understand for the life of me how a guy can play 50 games in the NBA and still make the same basic driving mistakes. At times he looks like a floater maestro and a competent three point shooter. Most other times he looks like a terrible chucker who just learned what an orange ball is, and thinks that “Spalding” is a parody of the principal from “Saved by the bell”. In a few months he won’t be 19 anymore, and it’s going to be hard to excuse his limitations just pointing at his age. For the umpteenth time, not giving up on him so soon, but definitely not hopeful about his chances to become a good NBA player.

Fun-sized bits:

– The starters accounted for 33 of the overall 108 Knicks’ points. Not a single starter scored in double digit. Then again, a Lance-Vonleh frontcourt isn’t exactly a recipe for offensive success. Thing is, they were horrible even in their defensive rotations. Can someone tell me why are we playing Thomas again?

– Mudiay played a energizing game, but there is still no reason to play him this much when it’s evident that he don’t want to make the team run the way it should. He can score, yeah, but so did THJ. 19 points on 18 shots are merely mediocre, and while I dig his 8 rebounds, I’m sick of seeing him ignore Mitch’s diving enterprises. I’m also sick of the weird infatutation Fizdale has with him, but whatever, we’re still tanking in our own way, so we maybe need Mud’s awful defense.

– John Jenkins can shoot the ball, this we know. If only we had more people able to find him on the perimeter… oh wait, DSJ can do that, but no, let Dennis play off-guard as soon as Mudiay enters the game. I shook my head so many times during the game because of this that I might have generated a very small hurrican in my living room. I’ll call it “Chris Smith”.

– Dotson was completely out of rhythm today. 6 points on 2-for-7 shooting, a pretty meh way to follow on his great Spurs game.

– Vonleh only played 12 minutes, and I agree with that. Ellenson was much better than him last night. That’s scary and damning of the fact that we didn’t trade him away, even if it was for a 2025 second.

– DSJ played a blah game, but I still quite like his brand of basketball (on a grading curve, of course). I wish he’s gonna fix a bit his shot in the offseason. It looks like it can be fixed, and it would open up the game a lot for him. He found the time to throw a good lob to Mitch; it didn’t become an assist because Mitch got fouled, but they’re finding their chemistry. I like it.

– Has there ever been a 10-day contract getting interviewed after the game at center court? I think it’s a record set by Ellenson.

– Oh, guys. Mitch fouled just thrice in 33 minutes and notched 3 steals. How do you spell “future All-Defense player”?

And so we’re here, waiting for our next game against the Cavs and simultaneously praying to lose one and to see Mitch and the kids doing great things. I think we’ll win on Thursday, unless we play Mudiay and Thomas 48 minutes. Robinson is becoming too good not to heavily impact winnable games.

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Farfa

Just an Italian basketball fan with an insane passion for all things Knicks (and yes, linguine Alfredo is not a real Italian dish).

124 thoughts to “Orlando Magic 103 – New York Knicks 108 – Game Recap”

  1. I think that a lot of people here have lost sight of just how young Knox is. I just looked at a mock draft and six of the projected top 10 picks this year are older than he is (and three are older than Ntilikina) and two more are less than a month younger than he is. In other words, next season, he is still going to be one of the ten or so youngest players in the league.

  2. In other words, next season, he is still going to be one of the ten or so youngest players in the league.

    Yes, but at which point does youth stop being an excuse? I mean, has Knox improved at anything in his first season in the League? He’s posting -0.040 WS/48, -6.4 BPM, -1.7 VORP. Rookies should suck, but if you suck too hard it’s very unlikely you’ll ever be even average. Among every NBA rookie ever, the ones who posted a worse WP/48 in comparable minutes are Hot Rod Hundley (?), Jamal Crawford (eh), Gary Harris (a bit of hope) and our own Mudiay.

    Knox projects to be a total bust, and while we can’t say that for sure, it’s very very very unlikely that he will ever turn into a productive NBA player.

  3. The Mitch/Knox thing reminds me of the 93 draft, when the Lakers took George Lynch with a relatively high 1st rounder and Nick Van Exel in the 2nd. Lynch wound up a journeyman at best, while Van Exel was a good starting PG for a while, and my Laker fan friends would say, “Just pretend they took them in reverse order and we’re all much happier.” Mitch has the potential to be an even more extreme example of that.

    Right now, Knox is playing like hot garbage, and his upside at best still seems to be inefficient volume scorer on a bad team. But I’ll try to be optimistic because he’s so young, because his shot really does look so pretty when it goes in, and because there are nights when he demonstrates enough skill and energy to suggest he could at least be a useful role player on a good team. But, yeah, he’s the worst of our rookie class by a wide margin right now.

  4. Great cap.

    The way Mudiay just doesn’t look for Mitch at all really is infuriating. It’d be one thing if he was a legitimately good scorer himself (though it would still be annoying), but he thinks scoring at a late career Monta Ellis level gives him license to look off everyone. I understand that in a contract year guys have to look out for themselves, but I think it would actually serve him much better in free agency if he worked on his reputation as a playmaker. No one is backing up so much as the community bank truck for a volume scorer with a .537 TS%.

    Knox…ugh. No one is “giving up” like you said, but we should really stop drafting guys in the “if he just gets much better at everything, the sky is the limit” category. It is so god damn hard to envision a productive version of this guy, and even more so on a team that already has its volume scoring.

    Trier quietly has his TS% up to .570 and he’s still only taking 2.9 3PA/36. Get that up to 6-7 and we just might have a player.

  5. Great cap!

    I’m a contrarian and I want to get off the Mitch hype train and say, not so fast fellas, he’ll come back down to earth (literally and figuratively.) But he just seams really really legit. Needs to get better conditioned now that we have gone past his 12 minute ration from the start of the season but other than that, I think we might have stumbled into one of the best young players in basketball. Which really freaks me out to say.

    Here are the highlights….

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sh5tyRcO_Iw

  6. Cronin and Owen – You guys need to start earning your KB dollars. Peak Mitch fever. Time to take the KB.net temperature. One of you needs to put up a poll. Here are a couple of possibilities:
    1) Would you include Mitch in tradeup for 2019 #1 pick (presume we got the #4 pick)? Yes or No.
    2) Presuming we sign Kyrie and KD, would you include Mitch in a trade for AD? Yes or No

    What inference should we draw if DJ tells Knicks he doesn’t want to be waived enabling him to join a contender. We already may surmise he’s gonna tell his friend KD that Mitch is a star but why would he stay here when he knows the 3.5 room is the most Knicks could offer him next year? Would it mean that he knows KD is NOT gonna join the Knicks and he’d be angling for a large 1 or 2 year Knicks deal?

  7. 40 players from the 2017 draft have played 500+ minutes, and Ntilikina’s WS48 ranks 40th.

    28 players from the 2018 draft have played 500+ minutes, and Knox’s WS48 ranks 28th.

    It’s not what you want.

  8. 1) Would you include Mitch in tradeup for 2019 #1 pick (presume we got the #4 pick)? Yes or No.
    2) Presuming we sign Kyrie and KD, would you include Mitch in a trade for AD? Yes or No

    Oh boy. I think my answer to the second is no. The first, though… I don’t even want to ponder that.

  9. Great cap! And I absolutely want this to happen:

    Trier quietly has his TS% up to .570 and he’s still only taking 2.9 3PA/36. Get that up to 6-7 and we just might have a player.

    I love watching Trier this season, even through that stretch when he was auditioned at the point and lost his way. Trier’s energy and “feel good” story remind me of Starks. I hope he’s passing out of the double team (as Farfa said) and launching catch and shoot threes all practice long.

  10. Yes, but at which point does youth stop being an excuse?

    According to most data, it’s around age 22.

    I’ll say this til I’m blue in the face: statistical improvement among NBA players historically occurs between specific years of their lives, not years in the league. Lack of improvement from year 1 to year 2 is not as significant as lack of improvement from age 21 to age 22. No NBA player should be written off at age 21 or younger.

    Admittedly, you can make some reasonable guesses based on their performances in their age 19, 20, and 21 seasons. You’re more likely to be right if you’re writing off Frank than Knox, for instance. But the data really needs to be qualified by age, not experience.

  11. 1) Would you include Mitch in tradeup for 2019 #1 pick (presume we got the #4 pick)? Yes or No.
    2) Presuming we sign Kyrie and KD, would you include Mitch in a trade for AD? Yes or No

    A trade-up just doesn’t present enough value. We’d be trading Mitch to move up three spots. Obviously in this draft that carries much more significance than it does in most drafts, but I still don’t think you can do it. Now, if you’re just trading outright for the #1 overall pick you definitely do it (but I did have to think about it for a few seconds, which is crazy).

    My answer to #2 yesterday was I wouldn’t be mad if we did it, but I can’t say for sure that I would do it. Maybe that’s the irrational side of me that wants a homegrown player because at that point we’d be operating above the cap anyway, so there isn’t a strong flexibility argument in favor of not doing it. I guess I’d have to do it, but I wouldn’t throw in a ton of other stuff. You can have Mitch and filler or have fun with Brandon Ingram.

  12. Among every NBA rookie ever, the ones who posted a worse WP/48 in comparable minutes are Hot Rod Hundley (?), Jamal Crawford (eh), Gary Harris (a bit of hope) and our own Mudiay.

    This is another thing we’ve gone through a lot, but when you quantify it by age there’s something like 17 players in NBA history that meet the criteria, so we don’t have enough evidence to conclude this:

    Knox projects to be a total bust

  13. 1) Would you include Mitch in tradeup for 2019 #1 pick (presume we got the #4 pick)? Yes or No.
    2) Presuming we sign Kyrie and KD, would you include Mitch in a trade for AD? Yes or No

    No, nein, niet, nee, non, bú shì, a-ni-yo.

    In both cases you’re putting too many eggs into one basket whether it’s the AD or Zion basket.

  14. 40 players from the 2017 draft have played 500+ minutes, and Ntilikina’s WS48 ranks 40th.

    28 players from the 2018 draft have played 500+ minutes, and Knox’s WS48 ranks 28th.

    It’s not what you want.

    If you compare Frank only to other 20 year-olds with 500+ minutes there are 19 guys and Frank ranks…19th in WS/48. Similarly there are only 5 19 year-olds with 500+ minutes, but Knox ranks 5th of course. Yes these guys are super young and they should improve, but any way you try to measure them against their comparables they come out looking awful. To me that’s the clearest way to see it. If these guys are going to become even above average NBA players they’re going to have to leapfrog a lot of guys. Mitch on the other hand, *swoons*.

  15. Having said all that, I completely agree with this:

    Knox…ugh. No one is “giving up” like you said, but we should really stop drafting guys in the “if he just gets much better at everything, the sky is the limit” category.

    And I would never have drafted Frank or Knox.

    Side note: NBA experts keep claiming that it’s a good thing if we get our first round pick from Dallas the year after the one and done rule is abolished. I understand the logic (there will be more quality players), but the flip side is there will be a higher standard deviation for each high school pick, and we’re not the kind of team that goes from production over potential so we’re much more likely to draft a bust that year than the year before.

  16. It’s true that rookies being unproductive in general is not a huge cause for concern. LeBron and Durant may have been net negative players as rookies, for example. The problem is when players just don’t show any reason for optimistic projection. It was incredibly easy to see how LeBron and Durant were going to get better, but to use a more relevant example it was much easier to see De’Aaron Fox improving his .436 2PT% than it was to see Frank Ntilikina improving his .385 2PT%. The outline of a productive player was there if specific improvements were made in those cases.

    What exactly can Knox and Frank do to become productive players? They are so far off in almost every category.

  17. I have a related question. How is it that we live in the era of so much player information (advanced stats, scouting, other measurements) and yet the draft feels even more of a random event than ever? Is it because of how early players enter the league now? If so, is this randomness going to get worse with 18 year old age limit? I am all for the players having the maximum earnings opportunity, but Zion would not be a consensus #1 pick if it was not for this one year at Duke. Would it not be a better idea to have affiliated youth development teams, kind of like European soccer teams do it? Just wondering…

  18. “Right now, Knox is playing like hot garbage”
    True, but other than his shooting percentage (I know, that is a huge “other than”), all of his other per 36 numbers are only slightly worse than Jayson Tatum’s rookie numbers. I have no idea what Knox will be in three year,s and he might be a bust, but it’s ridiculous to conclude that based on this season. By the way, there are only 17 players in the NBA right now who are younger than Frank.

  19. but the flip side is there will be a higher standard deviation for each high school pick, and we’re not the kind of team that goes from production over potential so we’re much more likely to draft a bust that year than the year before.

    Isn’t there a flip side to this as well? Because of the high variance it’s also more likely that a gem slips down to a position where a team picking in the mid to late round position Dallas is projected to pick? Seems like we have a better chance of getting lucky too.

  20. True, but other than his shooting percentage (I know, that is a huge “other than”), all of his other per 36 numbers are only slightly worse than Jayson Tatum’s rookie numbers.

    Other than that, it sounds like you had a great time at the play Mrs. Lincoln!

  21. Don’t care that much about where we finish but will be rooting hard for Celtics to be booted early in the playoffs and for Minnesota to fail to make the playoffs. The way Kyrie and KD interacted at the All-Star game (1-on-1 contest), they are either A+ trolls or on their way to MSG. BUT a surprise performance by Celts in playoffs could derail that. Regarding TWolves, if they fail to make the playoffs, they might switch to semi-rebuild mode and the older Covington might be available. We have a smorgasbord of young players and picks to offer. Kyrie/KD/Mitch/Covington – me like.

    Speaking of Kyrie and KAT, surprised nobody’s mentioned THIS. /i_was_a_team_attendant_ballboy_in_the_nba_for/. He liked Kyrie, hated KAT, Rondo and McDermott, and tells a funny story about Vonleh. Noticed he deleted his user name which identified him as having worked for EC team. He may have deleted some of his many many posts on NBA players so you might have to go to archive.org and hope they have an early snapshot.

  22. Isn’t there a flip side to this as well? Because of the high variance it’s also more likely that a gem slips down to a position where a team picking in the mid to late round position Dallas is projected to pick? Seems like we have a better chance of getting lucky too.

    Fair point, but there are more busts than gems in a draft, and the benefit of the upside you describe is more likely to be captured by a team with good drafting and development skills. Mitchell notwithstanding, that’s not historically been us.

  23. Well, I might have not elaborated correctly.

    a) Nobody can say for sure if Knox’s gonna be a bust. Too early.
    b) History shows that massive improvements can happen from one year to another.
    c) History, though, shows that those massive improvements are very unlikely, like, I don’t know, 1 in 50 players?
    d) In terms of probability, Knox is much more likely to be a bust (given his actual production) than a good player.
    e) It’s not reasonable to give up on him now; it’s reasonable to try and trade him this summer while his value is (again, from a probabilistic standpoint) as high as it’ll ever be, thanks to pointzzz.
    f) I don’t care that much for age when your floor is that low.

  24. How is it that we live in the era of so much player information (advanced stats, scouting, other measurements) and yet the draft feels even more of a random event than ever?

    It’s the quality of information. There are too many variables in high school/AAU competition to make the performance statistics useful for forecasting. The one year of college is helpful to weed out the frauds (Like Cam Reddish, who is probably still going to go top 5 based on his high school numbers even though he’s been exposed), but it’s not enough.

    Is it because of how early players enter the league now?

    Yes

    If so, is this randomness going to get worse with 18 year old age limit?

    Yes

  25. Well Knox basically only shoots, so he’s currently really bad at his only contribution. Also Tatum was a really good defender for a Rookie. (Nothing like Mitch, of course!) Knox really sucks as a defender. This is reflected, to some degree, in the per 36 numbers. Basically Knox is garbage on both sides of the floor. This is fine, if tanking is the priority. But when we start winning his awful play really sticks out.

  26. Most arrogant/primadonna players? Not necessarily assholish I suppose just full of themself?

    Hmmm….

    KAT, KP, Sam Dekker, Rondo, Felicio (yes the bulls one), Austin Rivers, and Seth Curry

    Not surprised by many names on this list except KAT. My nephew met him three houses down the street where his mom lives and was shocked he never heard of him.

  27. Side note: NBA experts keep claiming that it’s a good thing if we get our first round pick from Dallas the year after the one and done rule is abolished. I understand the logic (there will be more quality players), but the flip side is there will be a higher standard deviation for each high school pick

    +1

    and if you stumble on to a pretty good one you’ll probably have to decide whether to extend him before you know whether he’s worth it.

    I suspect that Dallas is going to be very good by then and those picks won’t get us all that much anyway.

  28. Fair point, but there are more busts than gems in a draft, and the benefit of the upside you describe is more likely to be captured by a team with good drafting and development skills. Mitchell notwithstanding, that’s not historically been us.

    That’s true of any draft though. If we’re going to take the position that every draft is inherently doomed by our poor scouting/drafting/development skills then what’s the point even considering the benefit of picking in any draft all? Anyways, like you said, there are more busts than gems in a draft so even teams with “good drafting and development skills” will miss more likely than hit.

  29. Well Knox basically only shoots, so he’s currently really bad at his only contribution.

    This is the real problem with Knox. Lot’s of player suck. But he’s the type of player who will suck shooting the ball 17 times a game and missing 14 of those shots.

  30. I have a related question. How is it that we live in the era of so much player information (advanced stats, scouting, other measurements) and yet the draft feels even more of a random event than ever?

    The players are younger.

    1. You have a smaller sample of games and stats to evaluate

    2. Young players improve, but they they do not improve at the same rate. If you get to see two players at 22 you have a much better idea of what both will be like eventually than if both are 18. One of the 18 year olds might explode forward in the next few years and the another might barely inch forward.

    What they do now is try to figure out what the data says about which player is more likely to explode forward.

  31. c) History, though, shows that those massive improvements are very unlikely, like, I don’t know, 1 in 50 players?

    Does it?

    Most professional basketball players played their age 19 and 20 seasons in the NCAA. It was a very frequent occurrence for a player to break out as a junior or senior. In fact, it was rare for a 19 year old to even get to play. Most freshman sat and watched, then played more as sophomores, then were judged on their junior and senior years. Improvement was fairly regular.

  32. How is it that we live in the era of so much player information (advanced stats, scouting, other measurements) and yet the draft feels even more of a random event than ever? Is it because of how early players enter the league now?

    Some of it might be feel, some of it is probably the lack of useful track record and some of it is the impossibility of predicting young player development. Look at Frank-he was terrible last year, but you figure well, he’s super young, he’s coming from a much worse league, he’ll be better his second year. . .and instead he’s even worse than he was his first season. And that still doesn’t tell you he’s never going to be a decent NBA player, it just makes it less likely.

  33. Does it?

    Yeah part of the problem is that while Knox and Frank have been bad-even for their age-there also aren’t enough players who were their age in the NBA

  34. The problem with Knox (as opposed to Frank) is that there’s no obvious path to him becoming a “plus” basketball player. He does a few things better than Frank, but he does NOTHING WELL.

    Role players only have to do a couple of things well and then stay in their lane.

    Frank is a plus defender. Add a spot up 3 with some secondary play making, stay in that lane, and he’s a solid role player.

    When you look at Knox’s skill set, even though there are more things to work with, no matter where on the checklist you look, he’s got to get a lot better at that skill to be a plus at it. That seems a lot tougher to me, but if you pull it off on multiple levels you have a better player.

  35. What they do now is try to figure out what the data says about which player is more likely to explode forward.

    And what the data says is that Knox’s shot attempts are an encouraging sign, even at low percentage. Frank, on the other hand, as much as I want him to be good, has no encouraging data.

    Of course, that shot attempt data seems noisy. Are shot attempts really a good predictor of success? Being good at a young age and taking a lot of shots seems naturally correlated. Giving a green light to a terrible shooter at a young age bc your team sucks doesn’t necessarily mean he belongs in a group of players who earned their shot attempts because they were good.

  36. Cronin and Owen – You guys need to start earning your KB dollars. Peak Mitch fever. Time to take the KB.net temperature.

    Will get right on it when we return from our staff trip to Hawaii. ;-)

    It’s difficult enough to evaluate college players, as every draft shows. It’s even harder to evaluate high school kids. When Magic Johnson came out he was considered the third best player after Gene Banks and Albert King. Larry Bird was only third team all state in Indiana

  37. I guess there might be some encouraging defensive data for Frank? Otherwise he’s, uh, not a terrible rebounder for a PG and he’d be a good playmaker if he was a wing, and his FT% increased a bit.

  38. Giving a green light to a terrible shooter at a young age bc your team sucks doesn’t necessarily mean he belongs in a group of players who earned their shot attempts because they were good.

    I think the thing with 3 point attempts being positive is that players rarely take 3’s when they’re not open, and a high amount of 3 point attempts is essentially a sign that a player is skilled at getting open for 3’s.

  39. And what the data says is that Knox’s shot attempts are an encouraging sign, even at low percentage. Frank, on the other hand, as much as I want him to be good, has no encouraging data.

    This is how I think about it.

    Mitch does 2 things very well right now.

    1. Block Shots
    2. Score efficiently on lobs and around the rim
    (Starting to rebound better too)

    The reason boxscore models rate him so highly is that he’s elite at those 2 things (so far) and more importantly he stays in his own lane. If we asked him to be the primary scoring option and start creating off the dribble, shooting 3s, taking turnaround mid range 2s etc..his efficiency would plummet and the same models would say he’s mediocre. We shouldn’t ask him for more until he’s ready.

    Frank has no encouraging data if you are focusing on the offensive side. Not only does he not have any positive scoring skills yet, he also tries to create his own shot at times. On the flip side, if we had a model that captured his value in areas that are not in the boxscore like individual defense, switching, passing lanes etc.. we’d see a plus player on that side despite being very negative on the other side. And we’d know that if he added a spot up 3 and made some plays and he stayed in that lane, we’d have a useful player no matter what WS, BPM, PER etc.. says. It would probably show up best in on/off.

    Knox can create his own shot. Having that skill can be a huge plus, but only if you can hit shots often enough to add value and only if you do it when it’s the best alternative on that possession. He takes bad shots and isn’t efficient enough even when he takes goods one. He also doesn’t do anything else really well. He has a long way to go.

  40. Re Knox, it’s certainly possible that he improves his shooting over the Summer. De’Aaron Fox improved his 3 pt shooting from 30.7% to 37.4% from his rookie year to his second year. And I think he likes to play video games too..so there’s hope.

  41. This is the essence of Frank Ntilikina’s scouting report:

    if we had a model that captured his value

    if he

    It would probably

    You’re not alone in squinting, Stratomatic, but everything about Frank is hypothetical. Given that he is, objectively, at best, a bottom-10 offensive player in the league, how good do you think he’d have to be on defense to be worthy of earning playing time on the basis of ability? (This is a completely separate argument from whether he should be given playing time on an actively tanking team devoid of productive talent in all positions but center.)

    Adding a spot-up 3 is not an easy task. You’re competing against players who already have a spot-up 3 and have every opportunity to improve their shot as you do! Do you think people can just practice their way into being a Steph Curry or Klay Thompson from behind the arc? Do you really think that it’s just a gap in practice that separates the Brook Lopezes from the Joakim Noahs? Can you teach Dennis Rodman’s magnetic hands and brilliant footwork to an Andrea Bargnani?

    That seems entirely implausible to me.

  42. Frank’s thing is that he would still suck on offense even if he added a spot up three because he’s so atrocious at generating good scoring opportunities. To become a decent offensive player based around shooting 3’s Frank would have to:
    1) develop a spot up 3
    2) stop taking 2 point shots
    3) start taking more 3s
    4) turn the ball over less often

    It’s a lot.

  43. I think Knox and Frank are both going to be busts, full-stop. However if I had to keep one going forward it would be Knox because a 3PT% that isn’t god awful on his 3PA volume is a legitimate thing to work with. I just have my doubts that he’ll limit himself to that role at any point.

    I think it’s perfectly fair to categorize Frank as a good defender, but I also think it’s fair to question the impact of his defense.

    I have a feeling that one of the reasons his defensive numbers don’t scream “elite defensive stopper” is because in an era in which the average PPS has skyrocketed, the importance of actually ending possessions (via steals, blocks, and to a lesser extent DRBs) has increased. Frank does not do that very often—his good defense manifests itself in players having to pass or take a suboptimal shot.

    Simply put, if you let the other team get a shot off it’s more likely to produce points than it used to be. Oddly enough, this would mean defensive box score aggregators might be a better indicator of a player’s defensive impact than they used to be. Just a theory!

  44. If Knox was drafted by another team and we watched him perform against us, we’d all be saying “thank God we didn’t draft that stiff, I feel kind of sorry for the team that did”

    As a Knicks fan I really want him to succeed, but I’ve seen him do nothing on a basketball court that makes me think he’ll be an NBA rotation player.

  45. 1) develop a spot up 3
    2) stop taking 2 point shots
    3) start taking more 3s
    4) turn the ball over less often

    It’s a lot.

    Not if you *~*believe*~*

    Mitch should have been a top-5 pick. I can see not believing in his “upside,” but he’s clearly a productive player and does things, like most great lottery picks, that you can’t teach to a stiff. Take his innate gifts and refine them — a much better strategy than trying to teach Frank to nail a 3 at 35%.

    My Blazer-fan buddy, who’s more a sports-talk-radio kinda guy, says this about Mitch: “Let’s see how he plays against actual NBA players instead of spot minutes off the bench.” And to that I agree, but only because I see him as a 17 and 12 guy in 30 minutes a game on .650 TS%, with a Gobert-like impact on the defensive end.

    He’s untouchable.

  46. I have an irrational affection for Frank, but the reality is, and hopefully somebody tells him this: His audition to be an NBA player after this year is happening now. If the Knicks end up with Durant and Irving + a top 3 pick they will definitely be in win now mode and he doesn’t have a spot on a team like that as the player he currently is. So he needs to be putting in extra work on his own now and play better when he’s on the court.

  47. Mitch is untouchable and is exceeding my wildest expectations. So much so that I can’t even be mad at him for fucking up our tank and possibly decreasing our chances at Zion. A bird in the hand and when you double down on the fact that Perry locked him in for 3 more years at $1 million per year…its literally a franchise changing move. You can argue if Perry has done a good job overall or not and the real test is this summer. But that one move erases A LOT of mistakes. I think we just may have to temper our expectation that we’re going to get Zion bc I think we might win a decent amount of games here down the stretch. But I ain’t mad about it at all. Mitch is fucking awesome.

  48. here’s the full list of players who’ve averaged 4.5 blocks and 1.5 steals per 36 in 700+ minutes: http://bkref.com/tiny/VD2lv
    Mitch has to be untouchable.
    On Knox: He had four or five shots last night that if he’s able to add any strength at all next year he’ll be able to finish or draw a foul. I think he’ll wind up a decent volume scorer but unless he can add value elsewhere he’ll be nothing more than bench fodder

  49. I have affection for Frank, and I wouldn’t say it’s irrational…but I think it’s reasonable to hope for your young players to grow. It’s a disservice in some cases to draft players at a young age and play them in the spot-light. Jimmy Butler’s first year in the NBA was at the age of 22 and he shot .182% from 3 pt range. Even DeAndre Jordan 2nd year in the NBA was lackluster, averageing 4.8 pts/gm and just 5 rebounds. I still think it’s too early to judge one way or another with Frank.

  50. His audition to be an NBA player after this year is happening now

    I agree with you in principle, but the historical evidence shows no indication that his career is in jeopardy.

    Starting with the 2014 draft class’ lottery picks (i.e. players who have been extended or given a 2nd contract), only #15 Adreian Payne is out of the league.

    2013: #1 Anthony Bennett, #14 Shabazz Muhammad
    2012: #5 Thomas Robinson, #13 Kendall Marshall
    2011: #2 Derrick Williams, #6 Jan Vesely, #10 Jimmer Fredette
    2010: #12 Xavier Henry, #15 Larry Sanders (voluntarily retired)
    2009: #2 Hasheem Thabeet, #6 Jonny Flynn (lol), #8 Jordan Hill, #10 Brandon Jennings
    2008: #11 Terrence Williams, #13 Tyler Hansbrough, #14 Earl Clark, #15 Austin Daye

    That’s still just 18 of 105 players drafted in the lottery since 2008 that are out of league, to say nothing of those 18 players who did receive another contract after their rookie-scale contract ended.

    It always strikes me as remarkable that Anthony Bennett, a #1 overall pick, played for four different teams in four different years. The NBA’s appetite for (to avoid a cruder sexual idiom) “reclamation projects” knows no bounds.

    I suspect that if the Knicks were to cut Ntilikina, he’d be picked up by any number of teams who believe that they have the secret recipe to turning shit to gold.

  51. Even DeAndre Jordan 2nd year in the NBA was lackluster, averageing 4.8 pts/gm and just 5 rebounds

    Jordan averaged as many points per 36 in his rookie year as he did in his age-25 season as a star on a 57-win team. His rebounding rate in 2009 would not be surpassed until that very season, five years later.

    Jordan did improve over time, and his OBPM in his rookie year was dreadful on the basis of a high TOV rate and only “good” efficiency on very low volume, but his per-game stats aren’t the basis of any real criticism of his rookie year.

  52. If you gave Frank a league-average 3-point shot, he’d still be a horrible offensive player.
    If you gave him an elite 3-point shot, he’d still be a bad offensive player.

    He can’t “just add a spot up three” and become a passable offensive player, because there’s the small problem of him having zero ability to finish near the rim or draw fouls. Basically he cannot make any kind of basket. He’s shooting .376 on two-point attempts. He’s a career .234 (!) shooter from 3-10 feet. He has eight career dunks in 2500 minutes. He averages 1.3 FTA per 36 minutes.

    He is a butcher on the offensive end, an epically shitty offensive player. He either needs to take a massive leap forward with his entire offensive game, or he will be out of the league. “Adding a spot up 3” is not going to cut it.

  53. Knox is not athletic enough to score on drives. If he has a future it is purely as a spot up shooter. Hopefully he can improve his rebounding.

    Knox is remarkably similar to Ellenson, minus the passing and rebounding.

  54. @57

    And that’s why raw athleticism is often overrated. People see a 6’9” kid who looks athletic and can grow into his body, and just assume he’ll be NBA athletic, when there’s so much more involved. He drives out of control all the time, he has no idea how to actually approach the angles and attack the basket, it’s the same thing we’ve been talking non stop since his college highlights. He has the athleticism to get to the rim, but he has no idea how to do that nor what to do when he gets there. Of course he can improve, and it’s even likely he’ll improve a bit at least, but he’s in such a bad spot right now that he needs to improve a lot, not just a bit.

  55. 1. If Mitchell Robinson merely turns into a sane Larry Sanders, he will be an enormous bargain for the next four years.
    2. Carmelo (at $25M/year for 2 years) for Enes Kanter ($20M/year for 2 years), Doug McDermott, and the second round pick that became Mitchell Robinson was a great transaction for the Knicks.
    3. Mitchell Robinson’s ceiling is Rudy Goebert, even if he never develops a better offensive game.
    4. Robinson’s discipline in not taking any shots outside of the paint is part of what makes me so optimistic about him. He is VERY coachable.
    5. Robinson’s improvement in rebounding in traffic (eye test) is something that I would love to see some stats on. It seems to me that he has improved a lot in four months.
    6. Robinson’s improved foul shooting leads me to believe that he could eventually be an effective shooter away from the rim, if left unguarded.
    7. Even now, the threat of Robinson alley-oops is creating opportunities for his teammates. Defenders abandon the weakside corner to tag him in the paint, leading to open corner threes. Both defenders in the PNR also worry about him, allowing the PNR ballhandler to get to the rim more easily.
    8. If Robinson’s development means that the Knicks will win more games this season than PHX/CHI/CLE, I am willing to pay that price.

  56. Carmelo (at $25M/year for 2 years) for Enes Kanter ($20M/year for 2 years), Doug McDermott, and the second round pick that became Mitchell Robinson was a great transaction for the Knicks.

    Sir, are you aware of how upset that trade made Joakim Noah?

  57. summary of last month or so of comments: kevin = young and bad; frank = young, bad and hurt; mitch = young, inexpensive and very good…

    came across this of which i was unaware:

    a business dispute between Clippers owner Steve Ballmer and New York Knicks owner James Dolan has turned nasty and will probably result in a legal fight that could interfere with NBA business.

    Dolan owns the Forum in Inglewood, California, a building the Madison Square Garden Company spent $100 million renovating to make a first-class concert venue. Ballmer has his own deal with the city of Inglewood to develop a new arena for the Clippers to move to, essentially across the street from the Forum, when their Staples Center lease ends. As you might imagine, MSG and Dolan aren’t thrilled with this development.

    The issue is MSG used to control the land via a lease to be used for overflow parking. But the company gave up the lease when the city indicated it wanted to build a technology park there. When Ballmer showed up in Inglewood to announce his glorious new home for the Clippers, Dolan was, um, furious. He sued.

    According to sealed documents and emails from the case that were unearthed by the Los Angeles Times last week, the mayor of Inglewood and Ballmer were working together for months to plan the arena while taking steps to hide their plans from Dolan so MSG would be willing to give up the lease on the land.

    that’s some sort of interesting stuff right there…sell jimmy, sell…

  58. Yeah, we really should have kept Noah, a 2nd round rookie can’t be playing so many minutes if we want to eventually build a winning culture.

  59. The only hypothetical “if” with Frank that we really haven’t answered yet is “if we take the ball out of his hands”. Even when he was on the wing earlier in the year he was either a) still running pick and rolls and doing other things he is terrible at, or b) playing with Trey Burke or Emmanuel Mudiay, both of whom are just scorers from the point guard position who couldn’t set up a table. I am curious to see if he does any better paired with a primary ballhandler like Smith.

  60. a high amount of 3 point attempts is essentially a sign that a player is skilled at getting open for 3’s.

    or – the other team wants them to take those shots :)

    i can just imagine the opposing coach telling his team to make sure to leave kevin wide open – “a key to our victory tonight gentlemen is making sure knox puts up at least 20 plus shots”…

  61. Per Basketball-Reference, Robinson is on pace to become the sixth rookie since 1985 to average more than two blocks per game and shot over 50% from the floor. Five of the other six were No. 1 overall picks (Hakeem Olajuwon, David Robinson, Shaquille O’Neal, Chris Webber and Tim Duncan).

    * But Mitch isn’t merely just shooting a smidge over 50%; he has knocked down a scorching 68.7% of his field goal attempts. No qualified rookie in NBA history has ever shot over 66% over a full season.

    * Part of what makes Robinson such a unique and special shot-blocker is his ability to challenge jump shooters on the perimeter. Per Second Spectrum, Mitch Rob has blocked 17 shots outside the paint this season. Jrue Holiday is the only player with more such rejections (24), and Holiday has played 1,411 more minutes than Robinson.

    * According to NBA.com tracking data, Robinson has also blocked 14 3-point attempts by opponents this season, which is astounding. Myles Turner, the NBA’s current league-leader in blocks, has only two such 3-point rejections in 2018-19. Gobert has one. Anthony Davis has five. Yes, Robinson has more than Turner, Gobert and AD combined. He also has more than the entire Cleveland Cavaliers team.

  62. @62

    I hate Dolan as much as I’ve ever hated anyone I don’t personally know (other than a certain orange American) but he’s in the right there.

  63. @68

    Like, it’s all cherry picked to a certain extent, but the evidence is starting to mount. If Mitch can shoot 3s eventually he’s a superstar, period. He might very well be one without shooting 3s, as I consider guys like Gobert or Knicks Tyson superstars in their own rights.

    Teams will start game planning for him, trying to get him into foul trouble, but there’s only so much you can do to strategize against a guy that plays like he does. It’s like someone said earlier, what are teams going to do, try to box him out? Not shoot in his immediate vicinity?

  64. I’m not even sure he needs to develop a three- if he can hit 15-16 footers (which given his improved free throw shooting certainly seems possible) and just be able to take one dribble he could be a monster. If he can make 5’s come out to guard him in the high post he’s so long and quick it’ll be almost impossible to keep him from at least getting to the line if he can put the ball on the floor a little- kind of like young Amare where he’s just so quick off of his feet he’s at the basket before you can react.

  65. I am ok if he never shoots a three and spends the rest of his career around the basket dunking the ball and catching lobs. I’ll take the next Tyson Chandler or Rudy Gobert (who is an amazing player)….

  66. Mitch does so much on the offense just by being a lob threat…check out this play where Mudiay drives yet two Magic players are guarding Mitch: https://youtu.be/akwROnj1BbM?t=104

    In essence Mudiay gets a layup because the Magic are so concerned with Mitch.

    Mitch makes everyone better around him just by rolling to the hoop, doesn’t matter if the ball is actually passed to him. He just opens up the floor for his team. I think that’s one of the reason that the Knicks do so well offensively when Mitch is playing. He makes the game easier for everyone else, even if he doesn’t touch the ball.

  67. I’m sure adding a midrange shot will go about as well for Mitch as it has for Jayson Tatum

  68. Ephus…did you mean Mitch’s floor is Gobert?

    No, I meant to say that Mitch does not have to develop at all on offense beyond what he is currently doing to be the equal of Gobert, so long as his defense (not fouling) and rebounding continue to improve. He, like Gobert, can be an All-Star with an effective range of 2 feet.

  69. I hate Dolan as much as I’ve ever hated anyone I don’t personally know (other than a certain orange American) but he’s in the right there.

    ha…i had the same reaction vincoug – and, it kind of messed me up a bit, i wasn’t ever expecting to be a bit sympathetic towards any of dolan’s interests…

    steve ballmer, you dirty dog :)

  70. @75

    Yeah, there’s no point to it. Andre Drummond has been trying desperately to prove he’s more than just a dunker for years and it has only affected his game negatively, to the point where his offensive efficiency is simply trash outside of well, the dunks and offensive rebounds.

    Gobert should really be the model he should follow. Very effective scorer with a soft touch that doesn’t try to do much outside of his comfort zone. If you can add a 3 pointer then yes, of course work on it, but that’s it.

  71. I’m sure adding a midrange shot will go about as well for Mitch as it has for Jayson Tatum

    For the record I don’t want him actually taking mid-range shots- I just want to him to be able to drive from the top the key which is tough if the big will just sag back into the paint. His usage is 12 at the moment and during this nice run in February it’s up to 15%. If he could get his usage up around 20 while not losing too much in the way of efficiency (say keeping it .630+) then he’s a top ten (if not top 5) player. Of course, I’d rather have him stay where he is than significantly lower his TS% and add turnovers by doing something he’s not very good at doing but we’re just spitballing about ceiling here so why not dream a little?

  72. Mitch only needs a baby hook to be near-dominant. There are still some 2 points, 12 minutes games in his immediate future but he’s already a game changer. Now the most important thing is what he has between the ears. If he doesn’t grow jealous of other players because of his ridiculous contract, he’s gonna be a top-5 center as is.

  73. I remember being completely convinced that Tyson Chandler was going to add a nice 10 foot mid range shot to his game and take the team to the next level after the 54 win season. It wasn’t the only thing I was delusional about back then.

  74. Yeah hopefully the Knicks can hook Mitch up with a shoe contract or some endorsement deals the next few years (or slip him some cash under the table). But I think the low paying contract will keep him hungry and motivated to keep getting better so he can REALLY get paid in 3 years.

  75. Anyone interested in addressing the Kyrie Irving drama going on in Boston? I just can’t see that he’s staying there after the season is over. Seems like people around the team have an idea and he’s getting a lion’s share of the blame for their chemistry issues as of late. From the advanced metrics he’s having a career year and is a top 10 player right now. But listening to the Bill Simmons’ of the league there’s this Ewing Theory idea that the team is playing and gelling better together without him.

  76. There’s a real (and pretty convincing) argument that MitchLob is currently the best shot blocker in the NBA and is certainly an extremely efficient offensive player. If you add a 3 point shot to that . . . how do you defend him? He’s fast enough to dart to the rim past the opposing big, and if he can learn to hit the three consistently enough (which is not out of the question, given his track record) he becomes what we always wished Porzingis was. He’s also clearly a plus perimeter defender, which means he would be a unicorn that could easily cancel out opposing unicorns. This is still just a pipe dream, but even without a three point shot we seem to have stumbled into one of the best center prospects in quite a while.

  77. @84

    The thing that gives me heart about his savant-like basketball IQ is how quickly he improved his free throw percentage. I know he’s working hard in the gym up until 2:00 am in the morning improving his game…

    This was *last night* posting from the gym at 2am. Tonight Mitchell Robinson became the 2nd Knicks rookie to put up 15p/14r/5b at MSG after Patrick Ewing. No college ball. Just pure dedication to the craft and wanting to be better. pic.twitter.com/F9VDj0Ca5d— Melissa (@MelissaSulewski) February 25, 2019

    but we have guards in this league like DSJ and Lonzo Ball who aren’t making those kinds of strides in a few months time. Though Fiz is smart to reign him in this season to just covering the basics at the 5 position I am actually okay with letting him launch an open 3 pointer or two to see how it goes.

  78. Anyone interested in addressing the Kyrie Irving drama going on in Boston? I just can’t see that he’s staying there after the season is over. Seems like people around the team have an idea and he’s getting a lion’s share of the blame for their chemistry issues as of late. From the advanced metrics he’s having a career year and is a top 10 player right now. But listening to the Bill Simmons’ of the league there’s this Ewing Theory idea that the team is playing and gelling better together without him.

    Better question, do we actually want to try and sign this guy? He played on the best team in the East, went to 4 straight Finals winning 1, and then demanded a trade because he didn’t want to play in Lebron’s shadow. Now, less than 2 full years after that trade which made him the undisputed best player on a team that won 55 games last year and will probably win 50 games this year, he can’t stop complaining and is making a bunch of noise about leaving this Summer. Why does anyone think if he comes here he’ll finally be happy? Oh, and he can’t stay healthy.

  79. Why does anyone think if he comes here he’ll finally be happy?

    Because he never wanted to play in Boston to begin with. He had a list of teams he wanted to play on and it didn’t include them.

  80. I have a good friend who’s a huge Celtics fan, and he says the fans and management are totally done with Kyrie.

    Does give you pause as to why we would want a guy who never seems to be happy with his situation(s).

  81. On Mitch:
    – I don’t want him shooting 3’s even if he’s able to make them. He’s an elite offensive rebounder who needs to be near the hoop. His ORR and Kobe Dime potential is more important than draining 3’s at a 33% rate. Vertical spacing is more than enough.
    – The most important thing IMO for him is to be a reliable free throw shooter. Jordan drove CP3 bonkers in tight playoff games because of his poor FT%. He needs to be more Tyson than Jordan in this regard. His improved FT% may just be noise at this stage – time will tell.
    – The 2nd most important thing is tools to be able to take advantage of switches. Maybe that’s a simple baby hook. He’s got a soft touch at the rim which bodes well for success of the hook and finishing on drives.
    – I’d like him to be able to hit wide open mid-range shots at the elbow. If opposing center has to guard him there, he could dribble once, take two steps and be at the rim in a blink given his speed. Of course, once again he’d have to be able to hit his free throws.
    – I’m happy to win games this last month if Mitch is playing a huge role. Kyrie and KD will take notice. A lights out shooter off the dribble like Kyrie is the perfect Mitch pairing in the PnR. Again the main limitation of CP3/Jordan was Jordan’s free throw shooting. I think Mitch would be a better 3rd guy than AD on that particular team.

  82. Re: Kyrie..I think it may be the difference between renting and owning a home. If you rent, you don’t really improve things, you may not clean the molding or wash the floors thoroughly or be concerned about lingering problems. As a homeowner, it’s your home, you take pride in things. You are more likely to go the extra mile, you fix issues because you’re there for the long-term. I think if Kyrie comes here, this will be his home and he’ll act accordingly.

  83. On Kyrie, he’s just a weird guy, and I really think he thought it would all work out perfectly. But frankly, he’s doing what he’s supposed to be doing on the court, it’s not really his fault that the media and the fans continue to overrate small sample sized playoff performances. Nobody could expect Hayward to be this useless, but it could very well be predicted that guys like Rozier, Brown and even Tatum wouldn’t be able to keep up, or that Horford is in his decline phase.

  84. Thoughts on Kyrie. He is weird and his durability worries me BUT….

    He didn’t want to go to Boston. Never did.

    4 straight finals and a championship. Very true. But the writing was on the wall once Durant went to Golden State that they were not going to win another title. And Lebron was also thinking about his next move. If he stayed in Cleveland, after Lebron left the team would not be a contending team bc they made so many win now moves to try and win with Lebron. So it was smart of him to want out of that situation because their run was ending.

    Kyrie is still quite young and maybe, like Durant, he wants the challenge of building his own unique thing with The Knicks, his hometown team. And even if you think he would still be second fiddle to Durant on The Knicks, it would be a totally different thing bc KYRIE is the hometown kid and its The Knicks. Winning a title for this franchise would be a HUGE deal. In Cleveland it was Lebron’s team not just because he was Lebron but because it was Cleveland.

  85. So it was smart of him to want out of that situation because their run was ending.

    Haha, what?

    “Me leaving there wasn’t about basketball.”
    And then, with a substantially worse team (that had to be turned upside down AFTER Kyrie left), LeBron made the Finals again. And Kyrie is now in a contract year, so it’s not like Cleveland wouldn’t have been able to trade him in the summer of 2018, rather than the summer of 2017.

    It sounds like you’re trying to access the rational mind of a man who has said the following:

    “Brad fits perfectly in terms of that because he has an intellectual mind and is an intellectual human being. It was something I was unbelievably craving in terms of what I wanted for my career.”

    “I feel absolutely amazing. My energy, my sleeping patterns, just my intellect and everything that I’m awake to now—I’m very much aware.”

    “The whole intent behind [the flat earth comments], Coach [Auriemma], it wasn’t to bypass science. It wasn’t to have the ultimate intent of starting a rage and honestly be seen as this insane individual. Coach, it was, just when I started just seeing comments and things about just universal truths that I had known, I had questions. I had questions. I don’t necessarily know. I won’t sit here and say that I know.”

    “When I started actually doing research on my own and figuring out that there is no real picture of Earth—there is not one picture of Earth. And we haven’t been back to the moon since 1961 or 1969. And you start, and then it becomes like conspiracies where you start thinking, ‘OK, let me question this.'”

    “Oh, if you’re very much woke, there is no such thing as distractions.”

  86. @93

    That’s a very interesting quote your raise, so interesting I had to go to the source to understand what the Hell Kyrie meant:

    Irving said “you start figuring out what was important to you off the floor, and how it’s conducive for your development on the floor,” and then it made sense for him to ask out.

    He said “it was my time to do what was best for me in terms of my intentions and that’s going after something bigger than myself and obviously being in an environment that’s conducive for my potential.

    “I think that statement is self explanatory, because it’s pretty direct in terms of what my intent is, and that’s to be happy and be with a group of individuals that I can grow with,” Irving said.

    So is Kyrie saying he didn’t like playing in Cleveland with his teammates there?

  87. Right Jowles, because Athletes, like all celebrities, always 100 percent reveal what all of their intentions are behind everything they do.

    Are you really that dense? Everyone knew Cleveland had no shot beating GS after Durant showed up. Also they were going to be in rebuilding hell once Lebron left bc of all the win now moves they made during Lebron’s tenure. Plus it was always going to be Lebron’s team cause he’s from Ohio and he’s Lebron.

    If you’re Kyrie, do you really want to stick around to be “the man” on a Cleveland team that won’t even sniff the finals and maybe not even make the playoffs once Lebron leaves?

    I know you love to put down my ideas and posts on but give me a break, dude. All of this of this is fucking conjecture anyways. You can put me down all you want in regards to stats and shit but when it comes to reading player’s minds, my take is just as valid as yours. Pulling quotes means jack shit.

  88. boston has hayward for 31 million a year for another 2 years…maybe he hasn’t recovered from the injury yet…

    #isiahthomaskarma…

    good loss by the celts…go pelicans for a great night of basketball…

  89. @100

    No, and even Bill Simmons admitted as much. The Celtics are in a very tough situation here. They are wedded to that horrible Heyward contract, know Kyrie has checked out on his way out, have their pick from the Kings lower than expected, and are banking on the idea that Anthony Davis is going to want to be there. People here like to fantasize about nightmare scenarios where we end up wiffing on Kyrie and KD and end up signing a combination of Kemba and Butler/Harris but it seems that this scenario is what the Celtics are staring at right now.

  90. Knox is remarkably similar to Ellenson, minus the passing and rebounding.

    If words could end a career, these would do the trick.

    Hayward looks washed up.

    Easy to forget that Paul George’s injury happened nearly five years ago, and it took him well over a year to return to form (but he did).

    No way to know whether Hayward will do the same. Different bodies, different injuries (we don’t know if the trauma was similar, beyond the bone break), different surgeries and different recoveries.

    He sure as hell looks washed. I wish absolutely no ill will to Hayward in any way, but yeah, Celtics earned that bad karma via Isaiah.

  91. @99

    I think you have to give Hayward another year before getting worried. That was a really devastating injury he suffered last year and I’d guess that it takes a year+ to recover fully from the physical trauma and then another year to recover from the mental trauma. Though it’s certainly possible he never returns to what he was.

  92. @ 102

    I’d think that Hayward’s injury was worse than George’s. Both are gruesome and I’m sure hurt like fuck but there’s a lot of smaller, more delicate bones in the ankle. A broken leg sucks but it’s relatively easy to fix with little long term worry.

    I wish absolutely no ill will to Hayward in any way, but yeah, Celtics earned that bad karma via Isaiah.

    Hayward also earned that bad karma himself. He has a long history of messing around with high school girls back when he was in Utah and I think college.

  93. Hayward is what, 28 years old? Celtics are expecting him to recover back to old form as a 29 year old going onto 30? Yeesh. Paul George was able to bounce back from his injury the year after as a 25 year old with comparable WS/48 and VORP scores to the year before. Hayward’s behind on that timetable in what should be his career peak. Good luck to him.

  94. Lebron is now as large, if not larger, than Karl Malone was at the same age. He’s massive. Dude is a PF in today’s game.

  95. The Celtics are going to lose Kyrie Irving but they’re still going to end up in a good position. They’ll trade Tatum and Brown for AD and have a nucleus of AD, Hayward, Horford, and Rozier which Brad Stevens will coach into the 2015 Atlanta Hawks.

  96. They’ll trade Tatum and Brown for AD and have a nucleus of AD, Hayward, Horford, and Rozier which Brad Stevens will coach into the 2015 Atlanta Hawks.

    AD is going to leave that situation in a year. Then they’re in real big trouble.

  97. I think Kyrie is extraordinarily talented, but man he plays so much hero ball.

    Agreed. He needs another “superstar” player he’d defer to in order to reign his hoggish tendencies in.

  98. That Dwyane Wade game-winning three was legendary. The NBA is so amazing. You can almost always see something special every night.

  99. @112

    Only to have the same predictable ending with the latest super team winning it all. It’s kind of like a labyrinth where there are a bunch of twists and turns that will always take you to the same prescribed endpoint.

  100. pels and lakers have all the intensity (and defense) of an all star game…

    i don’t know man, i don’t blame ainge for doing what he did to IT, the only question being is how much did IT aggravate his hip injury by being a good soldier, and how much did boston know about the extent of his injury early on…

    the hayward deal just never made a lot of sense (other than the history with stevens, which doesn’t count for much) with both brown and tatum on the roster already…31 million a year…go boston…here’s hoping ainge makes a some more mistakes this off season…

  101. The NBA is so amazing. You can almost always see something special every night.

    Unless you’re watching MSG, that is.

  102. Man, Malcolm Brogdon had some doubters here his rookie year. He’s having a very, very nice 3rd season. Big sample now. Good player.

  103. @116 my fiancee, a Lakers fan, has begun to take a liking to him. I’ve peeped some of his recent games and it looks like his 3-ball had finally come around. I know Doncic is really special, but perhaps that draft day trade may become defensible from the Hawks standpoint one day.

    NOTE: the fact that my lady has recently begun to watch sports regularly is a nice little surprise development in our relationship. And she’s catching on with the basketball lingo fairly quickly (had to teach her to say “shoot the ball” not “throw the ball” when yelling at a player… lol).

  104. Doncic is better than Young and will likely always be better than him, but as of today I probably like Atlanta’s future more than I like Dallas’ future. I like Trae Young and John Collins a lot, plus it’s more likely than not that they end up with two more lottery picks this year. Atlanta could be going into next season with Trae Young, Kevin Huerter, John Collins, PJ Washington, and Bol Bol. If the Knicks had that kind of young talent on their roster with no bad contracts in the way of intervening with personnel moves? I’d be jumping for joy.

    Dallas on the other hand has no trade assets outside of their untouchables pieces. Luka Doncic is really awesome, but he’s a better rebounder than the center his team is about to pay $30M AAV. Dallas could wind up with a 6’8” James Harden and the perfect cross between Marc Gasol and Dirk Nowitzki, or they could end up holding a magic Kristaps of porzingbeans that keeps them from being serious contenders.

  105. The Mavericks will also have $31 million dollars in cap space this offseason after taking Porzingis’ $17 million cap hold into consideration.

  106. No, and even Bill Simmons admitted as much. The Celtics are in a very tough situation here. They are wedded to that horrible Heyward contract, know Kyrie has checked out on his way out, have their pick from the Kings lower than expected, and are banking on the idea that Anthony Davis is going to want to be there. People here like to fantasize about nightmare scenarios where we end up wiffing on Kyrie and KD and end up signing a combination of Kemba and Butler/Harris but it seems that this scenario is what the Celtics are staring at right now.

    They’re the Celtics, though. Whatever the opposite of Dolan’s razor is applies to them. Watch them get Davis for Hayward, Smart, Williams, and all those lower than expected picks.

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