## Knicks Roster Analysis – Point Guards

Hi, I’m Kevin Pelton. At the risk of going all Lionel Hutz on you, you may remember me from such columns as “Page 23” at Hoopsworld.com and such contests as KnickerBlogger’s 2004 Bloggers Bracket. Over the last couple of months, his KBness and I have shared some e-mails and AIM conversations, and I was flattered when he asked me to do a little guest blogging during his vacation. After giving him some crap about vacationing on the best day of the NBA year, I gladly agreed and offered to give an outsider’s take on the Knicks. I’m basically thinking of this as my chance to do one chapter’s worth of a Pro Basketball Prospectus-style annual.

As KB said in introducing the guest bloggers, I’m a Sonics fan, but I’ve followed the Knicks more closely than the average NBA team the last couple of years. I guess it’s the contrarian in me that makes me feel a certain kinship with a group of guys roundly criticized as underpaid. I championed the Knicks as a playoff team in my preview this year, repeatedly insisting they were better than the Celtics. Lo and behold, I nailed the C’s record and was one game off on the Knicks. Just forget the fact that both teams remade their rosters during the season.

Before we start examining the players in detail, some technical notes about the statistics I’ll be using in the statistical summary:
TS% – true shooting percentage, the best measure of offensive efficiency (PTS/(2*FGA + .88*FTA))
Reb% – percentage of estimated available rebounds grabbed
Pass – 50 * ((AST/MIN)^2)*(AST/TO)

The other measures are all derived from my possession-based rating system, which creates an imaginary team composed of four average players and the player in question. Off and Def are this team’s offense and defense ratings, Win% its winning percentage, and WARP the wins the player is worth over a replacement-level player.

Value is derived from a slightly adjusted WARP formula and uses the Marginal \$/Marginal Win concept I’ve adapted to basketball from the late Doug Pappas. I only have this for last season. Salary is the player’s 2004-05 salary (from Hoopshype.com).

Without further ado. ?

Stephon Marbury

`Year    MPG   PPG   RPG  APG   TS%  Reb%  Pass   Off   Def  Win%  WARP  Value  Salary01-02  38.9  20.4   3.2  8.1  .519   4.7  5.12  93.1  91.1  .547   9.702-03  40.0  22.3   3.2  8.1  .520   4.6  5.06  93.4  89.9  .592  13.003-04  40.2  20.2   3.2  8.9  .519   4.6  7.05  93.0  89.2  .601  13.6 \$11.48  \$14.63`

I spent the summer of 2002 “covering” the Suns for News@Hoopsworld, and the process made me a Marbury fan. That summer, Marbury was feeling the full wrath of the comparison between him and the player he was traded for, Jason Kidd. Marbury was fairly blamed for a foolish DUI, but the blame for the teams’ performance was unjustified, as it usually is. Kidd is a better player, but he’s also been the best point guard in the NBA over the last three years. It wasn’t Marbury’s decision to effectively trade Clifford Robinson for Bo Outlaw, just as Kidd didn’t draft Richard Jefferson or magically heal Kerry Kittles.

Statistically, Marbury is one of the league’s most devastating offensive forces. It’s my belief that players who are good at more than one thing don’t get as much credit for those skills as do one-dimensional players, and Marbury might be exhibit A in that argument. Last year, Marbury posted an identical assist/turnover ratio to Kidd’s and handed out only slightly less assists per minute, but anyone suggesting that they were in the same league in terms of passing would be laughed off the ‘net.

With the Knicks, Marbury drifted slightly more to the true point guard side of things, sacrificing a point per game for an assist per game, a trade-off I imagine Lenny Wilkens was happy to see him make. It’s not inconceivable that Marbury could lead the NBA in assists next season.

The concern is that Marbury gives it all back at the defensive end of the court. Hey, look, here’s a quote that says just that!

“Marbury’s one of the top 10 players on offense,” Wayne Winston, half the brains behind WINVAL, told the Washington Times. “Everybody thinks this guy is a great player. But when he’s on defense, he gives it all back.”

Indeed, per 82games.com, the Knicks were 6.7 points per 100 possessions better on offense with Marbury in the game, 5.6 points per 100 possessions worse on defense.

But is that right? Plus-minus numbers, particularly the adjusted kind WINVAL uses, are valuable, but they’re not the complete story on defense. John Hollinger reported in last year’s Prospectus that the Suns ranked fourth in defending starting point guards, and 82games.com also reports that Marbury held opposing point guards in check.

Marbury’s other big weakness is that sometimes he tries to do too much. The playoffs were the quintessential example of that; the image of Marbury forcing it time and time again in desperation against the Nets will be hard to forget (and not just because I picked the Knicks to pull the upset). Marbury put up 23 shots a game over the last three games of that series. He’s been at his best when paired with a strong power forward along the lines of Kevin Garnett and Amar? Stoudemire — and the Knicks might just have someone like that on their roster.

I think the defense requires a slight downgrade to the numbers I get for Marbury, but he’s still certainly amongst the top five point guards in the NBA and likely amongst its top 20 players. At \$14 million-plus next year and for many years to come, he’s somewhat overpaid, but he gives the Knicks a star player they haven’t had since Patrick Ewing, and the price paid for him in the trade with Phoenix was worth it.

Moochie Norris

`Year    MPG   PPG   RPG  APG   TS%  Reb%  Pass   Off   Def  Win%  WARP  Value  Salary01-02  27.4   8.1   3.0  4.9  .471   6.3  4.14  89.7  91.1  .463  2.902-03  16.8   4.4   1.9  2.4  .470   6.7  2.32  88.4  89.7  .468  2.003-04  12.8   3.5   1.0  1.8  .471   4.5  1.93  87.7  88.4  .454  0.9  \$2.528  \$3.850`

Since I’m only going back three years, Norris’ last good year doesn’t show up. The last three years, Norris has barely been adequate for a backup point guard, and last year he was even worse than that after seeing his passing and rebounding numbers tank. If there’s good news, it’s that Norris did pick up his performance after joining the Knicks in a trade for Clarence Weatherspoon, pushing his field-goal percentage from a dreadful 31.0% to 40.8%.

Most point guards come out better offensively than defensively by my system, which makes sense. With scoring and passing, most of their contributions come on the offensive end of the court. But Norris hasn’t been an efficient scorer in the last three years and has only been a good passer one of those years.

As a price for unloading Weatherspoon’s larger contract, Norris isn’t that bad, but the Knicks shouldn’t feel particularly compelled to play him, and if he’s still in the rotation next fall, that’s not a good sign.

Frank Williams

`Year    MPG   PPG   RPG  APG   TS%  Reb%  Pass   Off   Def  Win%  WARP  Value  Salary02-03   8.0   1.3   0.9  1.6  .393   6.3  4.15  86.1  90.3  .372  -0.103-04  12.8   3.9   0.9  2.2  .478   4.3  2.76  88.1  89.5  .432   0.5 \$2.216  \$0.957`

Williams has just recently been discussed here, so I’m not sure entirely how much I have to add for the discussion. Unlike Dave, I wasn’t a particularly big fan of Williams in college. I recall thinking of him as an underachiever (I also abhorred Illinois teammate Brian Cook), and scoffing when people got excited about his summer-league play before his rookie seasons.

After a couple of NBA seasons, however, I have to agree with Dave that the Knicks need to keep Williams and give him more action. Offensively, Williams and Norris were similar players last season, and neither was very good. The first place there’s a difference between the two of them is that while Norris will be 31 this summer and is on the downside of his NBA career, while Williams turned 24 this season and has plenty of room to grow.

The second difference is defense. I hadn’t really investigated Williams’ defense very much before this, but there’s little question statistically that it’s fantastic. Williams’ on-court/off-court comparison is the reverse of Marbury’s – 5.7 points per 100 possessions better on defense (and also 1.4 points per 100 possessions better on offense). Williams’ individual defense also looks great; he limited opposing point guards and shooting guards both to a microscopic 10.1 PER.

Sadly, I’m going to copy Hollinger again by using my similarity scores to assess the future prospects of the Knicks’ youngsters. Williams’ closest age-24 comparable is Jeff McInnis, at the time playing limited minutes as a backup in Washington. It would take a couple of years, but McInnis eventually developed into an adequate starter. The next four names on the list — Morlon Wiley, Anthony Goldwire, Dan Dickau, and someone named Lowes Moore — aren’t as encouraging, but next after that is Scott Skiles and Sam Cassell also lurks in the top ten. So there’s some breakout potential there.

KnickerBlogger correctly points out that there won’t be a ton of minutes for Williams next season if Allan Houston is back, but what about the possibility of just cutting bait on Anfernee Hardaway? Hardaway isn’t a bad player by any stretch of the imagination, but he’s not a part of the Knicks’ future and Williams could be. I think Williams is plenty thick enough to play 20-25 minutes behind Marbury and Houston as a third guard in a three-guard rotation and that would really help the Knicks’ perimeter defense.

Kevin Pelton writes “Page 23” for Hoopsworld.com on a semi-regular basis. He can be reached at kpelton@hoopsworld.com. Check back Wednesday for his analysis of the Knicks’ shooting guards.

## Mountain Trip To Japan 2004

KnickerBlogger is on vacation until July 5th. I leave for Japan early tomorrow morning. Don’t worry, my site will have plenty of activity, as I’ve assorted three excellent guest bloggers to keep things running.

You’ve already met Dave, a passionate Knicks fan, who tried to send me off a day early. He’s already off to a very impressive start with his take on the Knicks outlook for next year, and did so without a single statistic. If you haven’t already, read it now! I guarantee* you’ll think it’s the greatest column ever.

I expect the opposite from Sonics-fan Kevin Pelton. Page23‘s author will have an outsider’s view on the Knicks, that I assure you with have lots of numbers, a few with a decimal points (oooooh).

Last but not least, I have Bob Chaikin. Saying Bob knows a little hoops is like saying Madonna’s kissed a few guys. Bob will be talking about whatever the hell he wants to. I’m not paying these guys you know!

Hopefully I might be able to chime in here & there if I get some free time and an internet connection from half way around the globe, but if not I’ve left my blog in great hands. There’s been a lot of content over the last few days. In case you missed any of it.

Friday: Message Board GMs
Thursday: Knicks Off-Season Preview (1 of 2) (by Dave)
Wednesday: KnickerBlogger 2004 NBA Playoff Brackets Contest
Tuesday: King Of The Wild Frontier
Monday: Quick Recap Of My Finals Thoughts
Sunday: “Finals Experience”

*not a guarantee

## Message Board GMs

Sports message boards is an interesting mix of technology, sports, and the human psyche. The anonymity of sitting behind a computer makes every emotion seem more heightened. Every losing streak is a lost season. Every winning streak a championship run. Every rumor is truth. Every trade idea is a rumor. Every draft pick is an All Star. For every move a GM makes there is at least someone that hates it.

OTOH, message boards can provide lots of great information. When a few intelligent posters get together & ask some good questions, you can only hope your GM is as astute. “I Need A Question Answered…” asked poster Jazz(FU). [I’m guessing he either is a musician at Fordham, Fairfield or another starting with “F” University, or he really hates the Utah Jazz.]

Posted: Mon Jun 14, 2004 3:33 pm Post subject: I need a question answered..

WHY PROTECT EXPIRING CONTRACTS?!?

I see and fully understand the value of an expiring contract. But for an otherwise useless player, isnt a trade exception 10x more valuable? I mean a team like Phoenix that thought they had a legit shot at Kobe could trade us players for a future 2nd and take back zero salary, unlike with an expiring contract they have to take back salary until the end of the year. A trade exception HAS to be more valuable…

I’ll admit, I haven’t been giving 100% of my attention to the upcoming expansion draft. At the moment of reading this I hadn’t know about the trade exception rule. According to the Bobcats webpage on nba.com:

The expansion draft is scheduled for June 22, but would be pushed back a day if the NBA Finals go to a seventh game. Teams have to protect at least one player who is either under contract or a restricted free agent, and no more than eight. Charlotte will select at least 14 players no more than one from a team. That means it’s far from a given that Portland will lose anyone. If they lose one under contract, the Blazers would receive a trade exception equal to that player’s salary for next season.

Recently, the papers have reported a lot of high salary players as unprotected (Antoine Walker, Allan Houston, Penny Hardaway, Eddie Jones, etc.). If you don’t know why, poster kosmovitelli will tell you:

The TPE really matters when you get a huge one.
Just imagine if the Bobcats take Allan Houston and we get a \$17.5M TPE.

We could acquire via trade a \$9M player in july then acquire a \$5M player in september and a\$3.5M player in october.
In that case, the TPE is a credit and you have one year to use it and you can split it.
If we want to trade Allan Houston, we can only use him once in a trade. That’s the bonus of the TPE.

Teams, like the Knicks or the Mavericks, that could never dream of having fiscal flexibility would have it if the Bobcats take one of their expensive players in the expansion draft. It would be as if you were under the cap by that player’s salary, even if you were still \$20M over it. Other teams that want to get under the salary, can trade their players with contracts for part of this exception.

The first poster is asking why protect a contract that is expiring over a non-expiring one. The question is a lot more complicated than it looks. Let’s look at it from the Knicks’ GM point of view.

First is will Charlotte take Houston? They are operating with about a \$30M cap, smaller than the rest of the NBA. Using half of their cap on Houston seems to be a crap shoot, especially since his health is in doubt. If they do take the risk, the question turns into can Isaiah make our team better with \$17.5M to trade or spend? This part comes down to whether you think the Bobcats will take a flier on H20, and can Isaiah deliver if they do.

If the Bobcats don’t draft anyone from the Knicks, then the question we can ask is would we rather have the trade exception for Harrington or Mutombo? It’s much more likely that one of these guys would be taken by the Bobcats, since they make considerably less (\$3M and \$5M repectively). New York would then have a few extra million to play with, and the trade exception would be more valuable than the player. Sure both of they are tradeable now, since they are in the last year of their deals, but a team would more easily trade for the exception since they wouldn’t have to pay the salary for the rest of the year. In essense, if you traded a \$5M trade exception for a \$5M player, you’re giving the team \$5M, since they don’t have to pay a player that amount. That is why it is more valuable than the expiring contract.

Looking back, I think Jazz(FU) brought up a good point. Isaiah has a track record of taking risks like the one he is doing with Allan Houston. Just ask Doleac, who was traded in the hopes that the Knicks would be able to pick him up back up off of waivers. At least this time the Knicks would get something in return if Isaiah lost Houston. I have yet to see a single credible report saying that Charlotte would take Houston, so the chances have to be very slim. Most likely the Knicks will come out of the expansion draft without a single change, but it would have been better if we got a small exception for one of our lesser used players.

## Knicks Off-Season Preview (1 of 2)

Hey Knicks fans. While the Knickerblogger is away on vacation he has asked some of us who bleed orange and blue to pinch hit. The Knickerblogger swings a mighty fine bat but I’ll do my best to measure up.

Two Lessons I’ve Learned from Joe Dumars

In some ways the weeks following the NBA Finals leading into the summer off-season is my favorite time, especially this season since I get to see the Lakers be dismantled. As a Knicks fan I am now at my most hopeful. So what should the Knicks do this off-season? I?ll take a few moments to speculate, hopefully restraining myself from proposing a list of shamelessly lopsided moves in which the Knicks bag Kobe, C-Webb, and ?Sheed for Shandon Anderson, Dikembe Mutombo, and future considerations. In fact I?ll keep my suggestions for specific roster moves at a minimum precisely because what I have learned from Joe is that it’s about identity first then players.

Having listened to numerous interviews with Joe Dumars over the past several weeks what has impressed me most is the clarity of his vision. Dumars?s plan for building a championship NBA franchise in an NBA shantytown is centered on developing identity first and talent a close but clear second. (What I label ?identity? others may call ?direction? or ?philosophy? but you get the point.) Dumars acquires talent (and that includes Larry Brown) to fit an identity not the other way around. That Joe Dumars is one smart cookie. Detroit’s no dynasty in the making – I don’t think – but they’re no one hit wonder either. I believe that Isiah Thomas could learn a couple lessons from his Bad Boys backcourt mate that could help transform the Knicks from playoff also ran into real contenders.

Lesson 1: Establish a basketball identity. At the end of the year one in the E.Z. (Era of Zeke) I really have no sense of what the Knicks are (or are becoming). This is not altogether surprising given that the Knicks followed a bona fide palace coup with a blockbuster trade, a coaching change, and another huge trade. But, presumably the point of blowing up the roster was to move the Knicks in a new direction. I am just uncertain about what direction that is. Put another way, can any of you sum up what ?playing the game the right way,? a mantra we heard repeatedly from Detroit players, means to these Knicks? For Detroit we know that playing the right way means nonstop hustle, suffocating help defense, and sharing the ball. For the Knicks I am uncertain what it means, unless clearing the floor for a terrible shot by Marbury constitutes playing the right way.

To be fair, these identityless Knicks did manage to make the playoffs. Unfortunately they spent this year?s first round pick dragging themselves across the threshold. Consequently, if the Knicks are to get younger and more athletic, to use Thomas?s oft-repeated phrase, then more roster turnover must be on the horizon. Frankly, turnover is not necessarily a bad thing on a team with so much flotsam and jetsam. Nonetheless ?younger and more athletic? is more of a description than an identity. An identity helps answer the question, what purpose would a proposed roster move serve? That’s why you establish it before you make a move. So, here we are at the end of year one E.Z. I think it?s fair to pose the question who are these Knicks? Maybe you all have an answer but I sure don’t.

Lesson 2: Develop young players. Among the many reasons that Joe Dumars decided that Rick Carlyle was not the right fit for what he was building was that Rick could never see what Joe saw in Tayshaun Prince. I think we all see it now.

If the playoff sweep at the hands of the Nets does nothing else for the Knicks hopefully it put to rest once and for all an era of near pathological disdain for young players. Clearly, the series revealed that the kids should have been better developed during the season, particularly when you consider how broken down and tired Marbury, Hardaway, and Kurt Thomas were by the end. The failure to develop Williams and Sweetney during a mediocre season borders on criminally shortsighted, or more accurately pathological. I am not suggesting that Williams and Sweetney are all-NBA talents but each provides more than adequate depth and is the top defender at his position. Besides, this is bigger than Williams and Sweetney anyway. The lesson here is that mediocre teams who overpay for washed-up role players and fail to develop solid, inexpensive young role players end up in salary cap hell and stay there.

Alright, that’s enough for now.

Next time: What the Knicks Should Do Now.

dave

p.s. Dedicated to Ralph Wiley. RIP Ralph. I’ll miss you… and the Road Dog.

## KnickerBlogger 2004 NBA Playoff Brackets Contest

Well folks, way back in April I searched the world for some of the greatest basketball minds & asked them to predict what would happen in the NBA playoffs. I included myself among this group of super-geniuses, to see how the average man would fare against the smartest of the smart. In an attempt to make it seem that I’m giving you the reader extra content, I will republish the original bracket here. To take a page from Microsoft, I’ll make it look slightly different, so it seems new, despite having the same content. I’ve taken the liberty of bolding all the incorrect picks.

`BLOG:	John	Kevin	Ron	Michael	 Scott	Tim	Matt	Me	:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-: EAST FIRST ROUND :-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-: E1v8	IND	IND	IND	IND	IND	IND	IND	INDE2v7	NJ	NY	NJ	NJ	NJ	NJ	NJ	NJE3v6	DET	DET	DET	DET	DET	DET	DET	DETE4v5	MIA	MIA	NO	MIA	MIA	NO	NO	MIA	:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-: WEST FIRST ROUND :-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:W1v8	MIN	MIN	MIN	MIN	MIN	MIN	MIN	MINW2v7	LAL	LAL	LAL	LAL	LAL	LAL	LAL	LALW3v6	SAS	SAS	SAS	SAS	MEM	MEM	SAS	SASW4v5	DAL	DAL	SAC	DAL	DAL	SAC	SAC	SAC	:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-: SECOND ROUND :-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:E2-1	IND	IND	IND	IND	IND	IND	IND	INDE2-2	DET	DET	DET	DET	DET	DET	DET	DETW2-1	MIN	MIN	MIN	MIN	MIN	MIN	SAC	MINW2-2	SAS	LAL	LAL	LAL	LAL	LAL	SAS	SAS	:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-: FINALS :-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:EAST	DET	DET	IND	IND	DET	DET	DET	INDWEST	SAS	LAL	LAL	LAL	LAL	LAL	SAS	MINCHAMP	SAS	LAL	LAL	LAL	LAL	LAL	SAS	IND	:-:-:-:-: TIEBREAKER SCORE OF THE LAST GAME :-:-:-:-:Score	82-78	89-80	87-81	110-95	93-86	90-75	90-82	91-84`

Not a single person picked the correct team to win it all. I was the only one to pick an East team, but unfortunately for my fortune telling business I choose the wrong one. So how did everyone do?

In last place is Matt, from Bulls Blog, with 10 points. Believe me when I say that he is a better blogger than prognosticator. Tied for 6th place with 11 points is John Hollinger and myself. I’m proud that I scored the same as the guy that’s written for CNN/SI, and has written a couple of books. John is so well respected that I spelt his name wrong in the original bracket. Sorry John, don’t take it out on my Knicks in your next Basketball Prospectus (did I mention I already pre-ordered it :-).

For first place there is a 5 way tie. In the “I should have won column”, Kevin Pelton claims his blood sugar was low when he picked the Knicks over the Nets, and Ron Hitley would have been blacklisted by his fans for not picking his home town Hornets to go at least one round. That should be a lesson when gambling. Eat your breakfast, and don’t bet on your favorite team.

Thank goodness I came up with the tiebreaker, or these guys would have to fight it out to the death to decide the winner. The person who was closest to the score of the last game of the Finals, will win.

`PARTICIPANT:	Kevin	Ron	Michael	 Scott	Tim	WINNER (100):	89	87	110	93	90LOSER (87):	80	81	95	86	75# FROM WINNER	11	13	10	7	10# FROM LOSER	7	6	8	1	12TOTALPOINTS	18	19	18	8	22`
That would make the winner, Scott Carefoot. Although I never met him, it seems as Scott has it all: great writing ability, a forum on his web page, his picture next to every post… all he needs is a huge Johnson.

`1. Scott		12 points + tiebreaker2t Kevin		122t Michael	122t Ron		122t Tim		126. John		116t Me		118. Matt		10`

Congrats Scott & better luck next year for everyone else!

## 2003 – 2004 Champs: The Detroit Pistons

Congratulations to the Detroit Pistons. It seemed that the whole country was a Pistons fan for just a little bit. Especially after game 3, where it seemed apparent to just about everyone that they were the better team and going to win the series.
Maybe some people liked them because they were the underdogs. Others liked them because they were the new face on the block. It could be their lack of a scoring superstar, that made them so intriguing. I’m sure their blue-collar team style of play won some hearts, a perfect antithesis to the Lakirs. (Oops! did I put an “I” in Lakers?) Somewhere out there, someone thinks Ben’s ‘fro is cooler than Jack’s mummified remains. For whatever reason, people seemed to jump on the bandwagon, especially the further the series was in the Pistons’ favor. Everybody loves a winner. Savor it while it lasts.

Next year, Piston fans, it won’t be the same. It’ll start when the Pistons play our team. You won’t be the lovable underdogs, but the favorites. We won’t turn a blind eye to all the physical contact that goes uncalled against our team. What was seen as confidence will now be perceived as cockiness. By the time you reach the playoffs, everyone will be aiming for you. Everyone will want to be the team to knock you off. Succeed and repeat as champions, and the intensity will grow for the next year. Fail, and you’ll be written off as a one year wonder, a fluke.

Until then I’ll be happy that the trophy is in your hands, and not in Hollywood. Enjoy your summer as champs. See you in preseason.

## King Of The Wild Frontier

I love getting email!

—–Original Message—–
From: David Crockett
Sent: Saturday, May 29, 2004 11:35 AM
To: KnickerBlogger@kurylo.com
Subject: frank williams and other knicks thoughts

hey,

i just came across your blog for the first time this past week. i wanted to comment on something you wrote at the end of the nets series regarding frank. i’ve been a big fan since his college days.

you mentioned the likelihood that he’d be moved this off-season. here’s two reasons that would be laydenesque*:

1. basketball reasons – i think we have every reason to suspect that williams will develop into a solid-to-very-good third guard, an aaron mckie type player. right now frank is by far the team’s best perimeter defender (sadly, followed by penny hardaway). if the team moves frank it *must* get a big, defensive guard in return.

2. financial reasons – who is new york going to get that brings frank’s particular skill set at his salary? the knicks probably wouldn’t need to break the bank to re-sign him either. i hope isiah doesn’t continue the recent history of taking on big contracts (e.g., eisley, anderson, witherspoon, norris, et al) to fill roles that should be filled by younger less expensive players.

[*note: to my readers that aren’t Knick fans or are from Utah, Laydenesque is not a compliment.]

I agree with you that Williams is the Knicks best perimeter defender, and should turn into a solid player. The problem is the Knicks have a PG that was 7th in minutes per game. Marbury is Isaiah’s prime acquisition as the Knicks GM, so I doubt that he’d move him so quickly (unless McGrady or Kobe were involved). According to 82games.com, Williams spent more time at shooting guard, than at the point. Next year, if Allan Houston is healthy, those minutes are pretty much gone.

So the Knicks have two options. They can keep Williams as their backup PG & third SG (or fourth if the entity known as Shanderson is still around), and he’d get somewhere in the vicinty of 10-15 minutes per game. He makes a small salary, but the Knicks are nowhere near being under the cap. In this scenario, Williams has little value to New York.

On the other hand, he might be exactly what another team desires, especially one that is actually trying to stay under the cap. Williams can be a good starting PG. He doesn’t shoot well, but he’s got great vision and a nice passing touch. On the other side of the ball he is a tough defender (remember the playoffs against NJ?). All that has to be appealing to some GM out there, especially for only about \$6M over the next 3 years. If his value to another team is greater than his value to the Knicks, then a trade is in order. If the Knicks can use him as a “throw-in” to upgrade at another position I’m all for the move. We can do a 2-1 and package Frank with Nazr, Kurt or Tim to improve in that area. Another idea would be to trade him for a good defensive big man (less than 59 years of age). A good defensive big man would get more playing time for the Knicks than Williams.

I don’t want to see Williams traded. In fact he’s one of my favorite players to watch, despite his low eFG% (my pet stat). It might have been questionable to trade for Marbury when Williams was starting to develop as the Knicks starting PG. However that deal is already done, and unless the Knicks lose Marbury, Houston, or Hardaway, I don’t see much that Frank can do in blue & orange. Nothing would make me happier to see him develop into a solid pro, but with the current roster he just won’t get many minutes in New York, which makes him prime trade bait.