Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Pre-Game Odds and Ends

Again with the “Style versus Substance” on Nate? Nate Robinson had his best offensive performance of his young career on Saturday against Portland. He shot 16-28 from the floor and 13-15 FTs. He handed out 6 assists and had 5 boards. Subjectively it didn’t “feel” like he dominated the ball either, despite the 28 shots. By comparison, Richardson’s 20 shots seemed more “labor intensive” and out of the flow. Part of the difference is that Nate never had to look hard to find the mismatch; he was the mismatch. Overall, it’s difficult to criticize his offense with a straight face. He’s efficient. He’s low turnover. And, he’s made himself into a passable passer; a player at least the equivalent of Leandro Barbosa. If there is a criticism of Nate’s game—and there is—it is his tendency to wander, to gamble, and to lose focus on the defensive end. Steve Blake, to his credit, put up some pretty good numbers against him: 15, 11, and zero screams.

Now, I love that Nate Robinson plays to the Garden crowd. What I don’t love are his routine defensive brain farts. Nate is minimally adequate at best when he should be a terror on defense. But, here’s the thing. You can hardly get to the latter because people won’t quit blathering about the former (present company excepted of course). The too, too tired “style over substance” trope virtually forbids discussion of actual basketball—unless it is to say that Nate would be better at it if he “toned down his act.” I get that some people just don’t care for Robinson’s act, which is perfectly fine and understandable. But it’s hard to make a case that he really hurts the team unless you’re talking about his defense. He’s been among the most potent offensive players on the team the past two years.

I try not to whine about NBA officiating. It’s better by an order of magnitude than NCAA officiating, which has managed to turn me off college hoops almost entirely. With NBA officials you usually know what’s coming, but the non-call on Nate Robinson’s drive at the end of regulation was a particularly bad call. I’m usually for letting the players settle end-of-game situations, but Robinson made his move, put the big boy on skates, took the bump, and finished. It’s one thing to let that kind of bump go on a defensive star like Artest or Bowen, but on a mediocre player like Pryzbilla that’s an and-1.

March Badness. With conference championships being determined this week and March Madness on the horizon, time to start thinking about the college kiddies. This appears to be a draft with two stars and a bunch of potential. New York figures to have a top five pick. You guys already know Beasley and Rose. The other guys who will likely end up in the top seven should they declare include (listed alphabetically):

• Jerryd Bayless (6’3” G, Arizona) – about the only games I’ve watched this year are in the Pac 10 and involve Arizona, so I’ve seen a bunch of Bayless. I’m not convinced he comes out this year but the mocks love him. I’ve heard the name “Chauncey Billups” thrown around but I don’t see that. His explosive athleticism is more reminiscent of a young John Starks, but with better handle and more efficient scoring; a combo guard—not a pure point. He’s got some holes in his game (e.g., defense, left hand), a former NBA coach, and seems to like college. He may go back.

• Eric Gordon (6’4” G, Indiana) – Gordon is built like a young Joe Dumars. He has very broad shoulders. Unlike Dumars though, he has no discernable point guard skills. Efficient scoring is his calling card—either slashing or shooting.

• Brook Lopez (7’0 C, Stanford) – I like Lopez a lot more than some others. He doesn’t dominate, but virtually no college centers do anymore. The way the games are coached and officiated simply doesn’t allow it. Lopez isn’t an outrageous athlete, but he’s a notch above Hibbert and he’s quite skilled.

• O.J. Mayo (6’4” SG, USC) – his game is far more cerebral and less explosive than I’d imagined. I’ve been pleasantly surprised. Mayo’s plenty athletic, but is more of an intermediate jump shooter than a guy that attacks the rim at every opportunity.

No matter who makes the picks for New York in this upcoming draft I’d be surprised if anyone outside this list were under serious consideration unless the pick is dealt. Danilo Gallinari appears to be the top international prospect, but the team likes Wilson Chandler. Russell Westbrook continues to impress, but it’s hard to see him overtake Gordon and Mayo.

113 comments on “Pre-Game Odds and Ends

  1. jon abbey

    “No matter who makes the picks for New York in this upcoming draft I’d be surprised if anyone outside this list were under serious consideration unless the pick is dealt.”

    that’s also assuming that all of those guys declared, and that we don’t get bumped down from 5. if we finish with the 5th worst record, I believe that it’s probably most likely that we’ll pick 6th, with one team jumping us in the actual lottery. that being said, it didn’t take too long on the ESPN simulator to have NY come up with the first pick, and that’s even before this year’s frozen envelope, so fingers crossed.

    tonight should be a blowout, but Wednesday in Miami will be tough to lose. I have faith in our boys, though. :)

  2. Kenneth

    nate robinson gets rewarded after his 45 points stellar game by being able to come off the bench his next…… FIRE ISIAH

  3. TDM

    Nate’s 45 point clinic demonstrates that he isn’t on board with tanking for ping pong balls. It’s not in his interest to tank anyhow. If the Knicks pick up a top-rated pg in the draft, Nate gets relegated back to the bench behind Craw.

  4. Funky

    I’m actually not a big Nate fan because of the defensive mistakes, but I’m hoping Nate’s in front of Craw next year. He’s better in every aspect of the game except passing, and even that is close.

    Granted, that will never happen if Isiah is still coach. He clearly believes Jamal is a superstar.

  5. Gregson

    Serious D needed — can anybody on the Knicks bench provide it? Assists needed too — anybody a good passer (partly because he can’t shoot but partly because he has good court awareness)? I wonder if we have such a player…

  6. tdm

    This game was over before it started. Isiah has killed all cohesiveness on this squad. I just hope he keeps playing Zach to increase his trade value. Curry’s latest injury almost seals his return next year.

  7. 94by50

    As an Arizona fan, and a friend of someone who coached Bayless at St. Mary’s HS, I’ve heard a lot that suggests Bayless is going to stay if Olson returns next season.

  8. PrezIke

    “Saying the Knicks have crushed the expectations of their fans is an understatement. They’ve taken Knick fans’ expectations and put it in a juicer and tossed the pulp. Then they’ve taken the juice and made an ice mold of Jar Jar Binks and placed that in the middle of Times Square so that everyone can have a hearty laugh.” – Mike K.

    Oh man…you had me rolling there! Hilarious, but depressing too!

  9. Thomas B.

    Two more years of Q, and James.
    Three more of Z, Jared, Crawford, and Curry.

    How in the world can the team get better when it has six players that do not help the team and probably can not be moved? I’m not even counting Steph.

    Lets say we hit the lottery and land Beasley. If Isiah is still at the helm, then that just creates a new problem because Isiah will not bench Z or Curry for Beasely no matter how well he plays.

    Our only hope is to draft well over the next two years and hope the 29 million in 08/09 expiring contracts and the 16 million in 09/10 expiring contacts give us a shot at pulling of a Gasol fire sale of our own.

    Waiting 4-5 years for this team to contend is a tough thing to accept. At least Z’s contract is better than VC’s.

  10. W. C.

    Isiah has a tendency to look for “hidden gems” in the draft. Unfortunately, typically they aren’t really hidden gems. They are one dimensional role players that other teams recognized as such. They come looking like they have a lot of potential and never get beyond the single thing or two they actually do well.

    He even trades for players like that.

  11. W. C.

    I love Nate. Unfortunately, he is not now and never will be the type of player that can be the starting PG on a team that wins the championship. He’s too small to defend many bigger guards and not really the kind of player that makes those around him better like a true PG should.

    He’s absolutely great coming off the bench when the team needs some energy and in spots where he can defend. But that’s about it.

    I mean no disrespect. IMO, he’s one of the greatest athletes in all of professional sports right now. But his height is a limitation in a lot of situations and he doesn’t have a PG’s mentality.

    This is coming from a guy that is 5? 5? tall. So Nate is big compared to me.

    I actually think the best thing the Knicks could do is draft a real PG and possibly trade Robinson (while his value is so high) in some sort of package to get a quality SG with a very good outside shot.

    I’d actually like to see Crawford coming off the bench. He still takes WAAAAY too many bad shots, has a terrible shooting percentage and is much too inconsistent to be a starter. He’s a guy that should be coming off the bench. When he’s on you leave him in and when he’s off you bench him. You can’t depend on him as a major scoring option and expect to be consistent.

    Draft a true PG, trade Nate for a SG, bring Crawford off the bench.

    Then we have 2 other needs.

    1. A defense oriented power forward that can rebound, block shots, and help out defensively to play along side Curry and cover for his weaknesses.

    2. A SF with a very good outside shot.

    Guys like Balkman and Lee are very good role players in spots but they are still too one dimensional to be starters on a championship caliber team (hopefully that’s what we are trying to build).

    Perhaps Chandler will develop into the SF role, but we haven’t seen enough of him.

    I like Randolph, but he doesn’t fit on this team at all.

  12. Jay

    Great recap of last night’s game:

    Game notes
    Even on the road, Thomas heard a few boos when introduced before the game. … A team of women ages 65 to 91 took the court between the first two quarters, prompting plenty of jokes about whether they might be able to beat the Knicks.

  13. Frank O.

    Bricks need to draft the best true point guard available.
    It is their most glaring need.
    No question: If they can get Mayo, they should get him.

  14. Funky

    Agreed that the Knicks would be wise to draft a point guard, but are there any who are clearly worthy of a top-5 pick outside of Rose? They all have potential, for sure, but I would just as soon trade down and try to package the pick to anyone willing to take Curry or Randolph. Then we could pick up a guy like Thabeet, Augustine, or Love.

    By the way, is anyone else lamenting the fact we got rid of Mutumbo? He’s still incredibly effective on defense and would’ve been a great compliment to either Curry or Randolph.

  15. Ess-dog

    Do you think there’s any we we could trade Randolph for a shorter contract and a pick in ’09? I still think Milwaukee would be a good trade partner for him, but it probably won’t happen. If Brand goes elsewhere, maybe the Clips would go for him. I guess if Curry’s out of the picture, we could essentially just use Zack off the bench and start Lee and whoever else can play center next to him. Next year:

    pg – Rose or Nate
    sg – Eric Gordon or Nate
    sf – Chandler
    pf – Lee
    c – Morris or whoever else

    Crawford, Randolph, and Balkman off the bench.

    That’s a 35 win team with the right coach (not Zeke.)
    Then we just go from there…

  16. Owen

    Deke had five blocks and six rebounds in 18 minutes last night. Still an extremely effective player. His numbers were bad in New York though.

    I have seen Gordon, I saw the USC game against Stanford with Mayo and Lopez. Mayo played great, but he reminds me of Larry Hughes. I doubt he will be a great pro. I have also seen Beasley play. He looks good, and has NBA athleticism, unlike Durant (at this point anyway.) But he gets a lot of easy baskets that might be harder to come by in the pros.

    The high usage college players generate all the buzz, but we have the 29th worst defense in the NBA. We are barely better than the Bucks. The Celtics allow 14 points less than us per 100 possessions. That’s where we can improve the most. Adding a point guard, unless he turns out to be the next Chris Paul, and none of them fit the bill, probably won’t help us a great deal.

    That said, I don’t know how much frontcourt help we can find in this draft. Thabeet looks very raw, Lopez looks to be smooth offensively but not a defensive game changer, Hibbert looks unathletic, and Love is a great player but not likely to help us on defense that much.

    I wish he had gotten Pryzbilla in the Randolph trade, very underrated player….

  17. o_boogie

    im definitely not sold on bayless. his gaudy offensive numbers have not translated into arizona becoming a contender.

    i am expecting oj mayo to have a monster tournament and decide to declare (contrary to some reports earlier in the week by espn). i think oj mayo is best player we can draft outside beasley and rose.

  18. Thomas B.

    It is sad that we have resorted to draft discussions in early March. I am a draft junkie, but even I think it is far too early to speculate on what the Knicks should do as we don’t know where we will pick, or who will be available. On the other hand, we should use this time to evaluate the team and figure out who we can build around.

    Keepers:

    Nate
    Lee
    Chandler
    Jones
    Balkman
    Rose (contract and veteran leadership)
    Morris

    Bubble:

    Crawford
    Jeffries
    Collins

    Trade:

    Randolph
    Curry
    Marbury

    Please, please, please don’t come back:
    Q
    James

  19. o_boogie

    there is nothing keepable about jared jeffries. the guy is a clown. in the game against cleveland last week (where lbj had 50), jeffries was a turnover machine on offense. one possesion he got a loose ball and started walking the ball past half court and it was swiped from behind. a few minutes later he dribble drives and beats his man, yet doesn’t see ben wallace lurking the weakside and got blocked.

    for jeffries to be considered bubble, he needs to at least equal his offensive shortcomings with his defense. this is clearly not the case.

  20. latke

    I am continuously baffled by people’s enthusiasm for chandler and morris. In watching them I see Morris as having potential to maybe be decent… a second string center ala nazr mohammed. That’s if he develops a more solid post game. Hell, Jackie Butler in 05-06 looked MUCH better than morris has, and he was a year younger then than Morris is now. Just look at butler’s game log: http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/players/3909/gamelog;_ylt=AtslrI.yY0aWdFReXjuTVV2kvLYF?year=2005

    Chandler has shown nothing to make me believe he’s going to be good. Sure, he’s an athlete, but athlete’s have to use their athleticism to affect a basketball game, and so far I see no evidence that Chandler knows how. Just compare him to Balkman – look at the block, steal and rebounding numbers. It’s the same deal – look at what Ariza was doing for us before we traded him for Francis. Ariza was only 19 in his first season here, and there was already evidence that, even though he had no shot, he was focused on defense and he knew that to be good he had to get to the rim, and he did.

    Look at where butler and ariza are now, two years later. Butler’s gone (his own fault) and Ariza looks like maybe he’ll have an unnoticeable career as a defensive stopper. Chandler will be 21 in 2 months – 1 1/2 years older than ariza was in his first year with us. I admit that the jury is still out on him, and Morris as well. They may one day be starting caliber players, but right now their is very little evidence to suggest that.

  21. Thomas B.

    O_boogie,

    Fair enough. I think Jeffries could be better if he did not feel the need to score, could earn consistent minutes, and if he was on a team that plays better team defense. Right now he has to play 2-3 spots, trying to be the man and help defender. To use a chess reference, he is much like a queen that is forced to protect too many pieces. This ties the queen to the pieces and reduces her effectiveness as an attacking piece, especially in an open game.
    —-

    Latke,

    If nothing else, Chandler and Morris are inexpensive player with some potential. That is always prefered over expensive players with no potential (Q, James). Chandler has shown some defensive ability and I think in time the offense will come to him. Chandler already has a beeter offensive game than Ariza will ever have. When you consider Q’s actual production in comparison to his salary, Chandler is the much better choice at SF. Q will not get any better. Chandler might get alot better.

  22. jon abbey

    the point is that for the most part, we don’t know what we have in our younger players. Lee and Nate we pretty much know, and Mardy Collins has gotten enough time to show he can’t play. Balkman has never gotten consistent minutes, and Chandler and Morris just started getting time. no, none of these guys are going to be All-Stars (including Lee, sorry, Owen), but it’d be nice if we had at least had a better idea what we had in the latter three by the end of the season.

  23. Alec

    I would like to see the Knicks get Lopez or Mayo. I’ll go with Lopez because we need a center. And I would like to see us try and sign Chris Duhon. I know the recent trouble he has been in, but he is a true PG. It we can surround him with some leadership I think it will be ok. With the current roster of Knicks, I’m not so confident

  24. latke

    Thomas, I don’t disagree with you, but they any half-decent GM, which we must hope we will one day have, should be able to find players in the 2-5 million range that can replace morris and chandler. I have no problem parting with either of the two if it frees us from a truly bad contracts we have without having to take back one that is equally cancerous. Don’t forget also that Morris is a free agent after this season.

    We have six players with guaranteed, non-rookie contracts that run beyond next season – randolph, crawford, jerome james, jared jeffries, and curry. Jeffries and James both have mid-level sized contracts that don’t devastate our cap, so even if you think neither should see daylight (and I agree with that notion for jerome james), we could conceivably see cap room with them still on our roster. I have confidence that curry can return to what he was last season if randolph leaves, plus he makes more than 6 million less per year, so I’m okay keeping him. And I think last night’s game against the mavs showed how big of an impact curry can have when he’s playing well. The knicks could not score.

    Zach Randolph and the current incarnation of Q-Rich (last year’s would be fine), are the only two players that I think absolutely have to be moved, and to move them I’d include randolph or morris.

    Those two both have long and huge contracts that pretty much prohibit me from hoping for a competitive team. Obviously other players have to be brought in, but I think Q-Rich and Randolph are the only two that absolutely have to be moved out. And at that, randolph is much more important to move than richardson. At least richardson wants to win.

  25. mase

    missing from the list=Anthony Randolph, LSU!
    …he is a possible top 5 and a player we need (shot blocking and rebounding skills with a mid-range game)

    “Waiting 4-5 years for this team to contend is a tough thing to accept. At least Z’s contract is better than VC’s.”

    i think your missing the point, we can’t get out from under the cap in the next 3 years so why not have VC, he would be our best player?

  26. Thomas B.

    Alec,

    Lopez is a nice player but I think DeAndre Jordan may be the better pick. Lopez had back surgery over the summer and a big man with a bad back will not go very far; remember Brad Daugherty? Jordan is more athletic and has greater upside. I also like Gallinari because he plays both ends of the floor. Yes, we have plenty of SFs already but none that play both ways. If Gallanari is the best available, take him.
    —-
    I think jon is right in that we need to see what the young players can do. That will give us a clear picture of our draft needs.
    —-
    If we are going to speculate on draft picks, let us do it big. Who should we take in the 2009 draft?

    With the 3rd pick (No, we have not hit bottom yet) in the 2009 NBA draft, the New York Knicks select Rick Rubio of Barcelona, Spain.

    http://www.nbadraft.net/admincp/profiles/rickyrubio.html

    Imagine a Rubio/Robinson backcourt. That speed would kill.

  27. Ess-dog

    Did we already trade our ’09 pick, T.B.? No doubt I.T. though we would be collecting our 3rd championship in a row by then…

  28. oboogie

    im still thinking if we dont get a top 2 pick we should trade down. we could still acquire a kevin love, dj augustin, tyler hansbrough, darren collison level talent. if possible, we may be able to also dump a bad contract (a la jeffries, z-bo, jjames or qrich) with the pick.

  29. Hudson River

    I think DeAndre Jordan has to be the choice, because he’ll actually play defense AND rebound and is a legitimately sized NBA center. He may be lanky now, but so was Shaq and Dwight Howard (although he probably will never be in the same breath as those two).

    My sleeper pick for the second round pick is Goran Dragic. a 6’4 point guard who can slash, with a jumper. Reminds me of Manu Ginobili, but he plays point guard. Isiah would never pick a Euro guy though…

  30. Thomas B.

    If IT is still around, I putting my money on his picking Eric Gordon. IT thinks Gordan=IT. Played at Indiana, grew up in the tough area, Black.

    Hudson,

    For the sake of this team, I hope your are wrong. It is hard to build a good team when you ignore available talent from all over the world. IT better wake up.

  31. Ted Nelson

    “Ariza looks like maybe he’ll have an unnoticeable career as a defensive stopper.”

    Not sure if you expected him to be LeBron, but Ariza has been an above average player throughout his career.

    I don’t think people expect great things from Chandler and Morris, they’d just like to see what the young guys can do on a team that’s going nowhere fast. Morris hasn’t really impressed me, but Chandler looks ok. He shoots too much and I think your criticism about not helping the team is fair, but he’s got a good build, he’s athletic, and he can shoot from the outside. If his attitude is alright, I don’t see why he can’t play in the NBA for the next 10 years. Whether he’s going to be above or below average for that time is up to him.

    What was Curry last year that he’s not this year? He played more minutes and got more touches, but he wasn’t any better.
    I agree that Randolph’s gotta go, Q maybe but last season he was one of our top 4 players.

    Seeing cap space, or at least cap flexibility, would be nice, and I’m in favor of some trades to expediate the process. I’d love to see any of the non-rookie contract guys dumped for shorter deals (draft picks or useful players would be nice but I would have no problem giving away “talent” and just cutting the guys with shorter deals similarly to Memphis with Pau, not that our veterans are as good as Pau). The only four players I would hesitate to move are Lee, Robinson, Balkman, and Chandler. (Not that I would be against moving them in the right deal, but I’d really think it over. I think I’d rather just hang on to them and be patient.) I’m honestly at the point where I’d rather see replacement level guys who’ll work hard and play intelligent basketball than most of the other guys on the roster.

    “Two more years of Q, and James.
    Three more of Z, Jared, Crawford, and Curry.”

    I see your point. However, I would take Crawford off the list because I think he’s pretty tradeable. I have to think you could get a half way decent player, an expiring contract, and/or a pick from a team looking for a scoring combo-guard.

    The other guys might not be easy to move, but I wouldn’t call anyone “untradeable” in the NBA. If they target slightly shorter deals and defensive minded, team-first players the Knicks could do alright. Trading Randolph for Bobby Simmons/another contract (slightly shorter contracts) or even Nene (defense, although I know he’s a walking injury risk and the contract is unattractive) isn’t going to make the Knicks a title contender, but as part of a well executed plan I think it could make them a decent team.

    “Guys like Balkman and Lee are very good role players in spots but they are still too one dimensional to be starters on a championship caliber team (hopefully that’s what we are trying to build).”

    Where to start… There are role players starting on, and certainly in the rotation of, the NBA champion every season. For example, last season’s Spurs started Bowen and Oberto.
    To me, Lee and Balkman are two of the only guys on the roster I could see playing in the rotation of a title team (Lee on production and Balkman on potential). Where does someone like Crawford, high volume/low efficiency scorer and speed bump defensively, or Curry, who I would legitamately call one dimensioanl, fit into a title winner’s rotation?
    Lastly, how can you call Lee, especially, or even Balkman one dimensional. Lee rebounds and scores efficiently, Balkman could develop into a very good perimeter defender and also an efficient scorer. There are two skills for each. They’re probably the Knicks two best defenders, and I think it’s hard to consider defense a “one dimensional” skill ala spot up three point shooting: it’s fully one half of the game.

    Owen-

    I think Mayo will be alright, maybe not great but alright, as a pro because of what seems to be a good combination of desire, confidence, and work ethic. I think he’s the kind of guy who’s going to make the necessary adjustments and put in the work to improve. That said, there are certainly some concerns and I’m not sold on him by any means. The guy’s not a PG but if he’s playing on a 20 win team he might run not only the point, but the whole show. Furthermore, his confidence/ego might become a problem where he thinks he’s better than he is (ala Crawford) or is good but doesn’t know the best way to help his team win (ala Marbury or Francis).

    The lottery definitely seems like a good place to improve our sorry D. As far as bigs: Blake Griffin can be at least a solid man defender. I’m a fan of Hollinger’s draft ratings and he looks very good in those (Mayo doesn’t). The guy’s arms are as thick as Eddy Curry’s waste.

    Getting a decent defense oriented veteran big in the offseason (like Pryzbilla or a Jason Collins type) shouldn’t be too hard, and it’s not only our interior D that needs help: taking a good defensive guard in the draft could be a good move. That’s another way in which OJ Mayo might not be a bad pro.

    Kevin Love looks promising, but I guess he and Lee may overlap a bit. I think they could play together, but aren’t necessarily the ideal fit for one another.
    At the end of the day I’m hoping for the #2 pick and Rose.

    Hudson River:

    Not a huge DeAndre Jordan fan. Coming into the league, I don’t think the dedication/work ethic of Shaq or Dwight Howard was questioned. Jordan’s also raw: 4 to 1 TO to assist and 7 steals on the season. He’d be the Knicks’ best shot blocker, but overall I think average in that department by NBA standards. Hollinger’s draft rating system has had good results in past drafts and Jordan was something like 350 in the last one I saw a month or so ago.
    I don’t think he’ll be a bad pro and he’s got good upside, but I’m not convinced he’ll be great either. I guess he’s definitely worth a look for the Knicks, but I think I’d rather see them take a guy with a better chance of being a very good NBA player than a guy with a 10% (for example) chance of being very good, but, in my opinion, a higher chance of being a bust.

    Dragic played on a weak first division team (Polaris World CB Murcia) in Spain last season (06-07), and I wasn’t particularly impressed. He’s young and one of the better draft prospects in Europe this year, but has a long way to go. In 06-07 he shot 32% on 3s and had a TS% of 42% (above 60% is pretty normal in the ACB league), this as a low volume scorer (4.6 ppg). His assist rate was only slightly higher than his TO rate (20 vs. 18). http://20062007acbstats.wordpress.com/2007/11/07/polaris-world-cb-murcia/
    He does have good size and athleticism, and I have no idea how he’s playing this season.

    Victor Claver’s my Euro sleeper if he declares (kind of doubt he will after an up and down season, maybe to test the waters). He lacks confidence, but the kid can play.

    Thomas,

    Ricky Rubio’s a baller…

    I could definitely see Isiah taking Gordon, but I also think Mayo’s confidence might remind him or himself. Could also see him taking a project like DeAndre Jordan, or a totally unexpected player who he could have traded down and taken later, say JaVale McGee.

  32. o_boogie

    isiah has shown no capability of fully developing young talent. phil jackson has turned sasha vujacic, luke walton, ronny turiaf, and jordan farmar into the best bench in the nba. with the same talent, there is no guarantee those guys would be in the league with the way isiah treats the “neophytes”.

    i hope isiah doesnt pick a project (deandre jordan) only because there is no guarantee he will reach his full potential under isiah.

  33. jon abbey

    if Isiah is the one making the pick, it’s going to be pretty tough for me to care too much. if Dolan doesn’t care, why should we?

  34. Frank O.

    I’m with jon. It’s hard to care with zeke at the helm. knowing his tendencies, he’s going to go for a high-risk two-guard again or a shoot first point guard.
    I hope Zeke finds a way to trade some dead weight for some picks and expiring crap players…Like send Zach somewhere for at least two picks and an expiring lesser player. Same with Crawford.
    I’d also move Curry for picks and a lesser player of similar value of a lesser duration.

    But I’m dreaming, for sure…

  35. dave crockett

    Great points on lots of topics:

    * On Nate – I think we know what he is. He’s a very good backup guard (offensively), even on a good team, who won’t kill you if you start him from time-to-time. He’d be most effective in an “instant offense,” energy role because he doesn’t hurt you on the offensive end. He could develop into a star *in that role* if he commits to defense. Sometimes we say that about players who lack the tools to be good defenders. For instance, after years of watching Marbury it’s clear to me that he has phenomenal straight-line speed and strength, but not great lateral quickness. So even when he plays hard he’s still a sucky position defender, though a decent rebounding guard. Nate has everything you need, obviously except height. He’s never going to be big enough to bother people’s shots (Yao Ming notwithstanding) but people should fear putting the ball on the floor around him.

    * On the draft – some of the guys on this list may not declare, though my suspicion is that all things being equal this is a year to declare early if you can make even a semblance of a case. It’s a two player draft, and a lot of “upside.”

    Caveat emptor on DeAndre Jordan. Although it’s difficult for even skilled bigs to dominate a college game, he should dominate the “hustle” stats (e.g., blocks, steals, rebounds). He doesn’t. Having watched two A&M games intently (Arizona early and KU last Sat.) what I notice is that he has awful hands and even worse timing.

    KB – the Jar Jar Binks photo was priceless. Am I the only person who saw the skit on MadTV ages ago where they spoofed George Lucas with a character called “Aunt Jar Jar Mima”?

  36. W. C.

    >>>>Where to start… There are role players starting on, and certainly in the rotation of, the NBA champion every season. For example, last season’s Spurs started Bowen and Oberto.
    To me, Lee and Balkman are two of the only guys on the roster I could see playing in the rotation of a title team (Lee on production and Balkman on potential). Where does someone like Crawford, high volume/low efficiency scorer and speed bump defensively, or Curry, who I would legitamately call one dimensioanl, fit into a title winner’s rotation?
    Lastly, how can you call Lee, especially, or even Balkman one dimensional. Lee rebounds and scores efficiently, Balkman could develop into a very good perimeter defender and also an efficient scorer. There are two skills for each. They’re probably the Knicks two best defenders, and I think it’s hard to consider defense a “one dimensional” skill ala spot up three point shooting: it’s fully one half of the game.<<

    Lee – is a terrific rebounder and has high energy, but he has no outside shot. At this point, it’s actually becoming a negative. Teams just back off from him when he has the ball outside and that allows them to double team our inside scorers like Curry and Randolph (when they are on the court together). That’s also why he’s getting so many of his shots blocked this year. Everyone knows how to play him now. In addition, he’s only adequate defensively. Could a team win the championship with Lee at PF? Probably, but not a team with Curry at center and not unless there was a real lot of other talent on the team. The teams that win the championship that have a few role players in the starting lineup, also have 2-3 all-stars in tha line up or a superstar someplace.

    I could make similar agruments about Balkman.

    The reality is that these are decent role players. You don’t build a team around guys like these. You are happy to have them on the team, but you don’t start with the assumption that they are going to be your starters. They become your starters because you don’t have an all star caliber (or close) player in their spot.

  37. Caleb

    Based on stats and the one game I saw, Anthony Randolph, LSU, looks like a much better version of Jordan.

  38. Frank

    I’ve had my issues with Lee but I must say that his jumper does look better recently and he looks less afraid to actually shoot it from 15 feet in. I think he is one of the guys we really need to sign to a long-term deal while his profile is relatively low. Maybe 4-5 years at 6-7M/year would do. He has improved something every year he’s been here, and while he is still a work in progress, I have hopes that he can be Carlos Boozer Lite in terms of great rebounding, great hands, great finishing around the hoop — if he can become reliable from 15-18 feet he’d be a top 10 PF in my mind.

    Re: Balkman – he needs to work on nothing else other than 15-18 foot jumper and free throw shooting this summer. His athleticism is great and his hustle/ball instincts are nearly elite. If he could become a Bowen-like player that would be a big plus for us. Bowen couldn’t shoot a lick at the beginning of his career and we all know now that he is deadly from the corner when left alone…

    Definitely have to hold onto Nate, Lee, Balkman. I’m +/- on Chandler but he’s cheap and has upside. I’d love to see how Curry would do with someone like Ewing coaching him, but that won’t happen until IT is out. Everyone else can go in my book.

    Does anyone think Ewing would be a good coach for the team?

  39. Frank O.

    Ewing is an unknown.
    He didn’t handle the press particularly well, which may be a necessity in NYC, but he was adored by his teammates.
    I’m not sure the Bricks are in a position to take a risk, but, then again, they went with the sure thing in Larry Brown and look what happened…
    But one thing is clear: It needs to start with the GM.
    They need a competent executive who has a handle on the cap issue and understands NBA talent. Then that person needs to pick a coach.

    On Balkman, I’m nonplussed by the guy. I’m not sure what he brings to the table. In his second year, he still seems very raw, and given the time he has had in the gym, one would think he had worked to improve some aspect of his game. Yet, he still does not shoot well, his free throws are terrible, and he still tends to be erratic and fouls too much…

  40. Ben R

    W.C. – I am getting tired of hearing about Lee’s lack of a jump shot. He is getting better and is actually not bad at all. Comparing him to some of the best bigs in the league Lee is pretty close to many of them in terms of outside shooting percentage:

    Lee – 38.7%

    Randolph – 39.0%
    Duncan – 38.6%
    J. O’Neal – 35.7%
    Jefferson – 37.1%
    Okafor – 33.5%
    Haslem – 39.6%
    West – 40.5%
    Bosh – 41.3%
    Camby – 38.2%
    Kamen – 37.7%
    Yao – 38.0%
    Bynum – 36.2%
    Howard – 26.0%

    Other than the handful of very good outside shooting bigs (Nowitski, Boozer, Gasol, Garnett) Lee is right in the mix with the rest of the big men in the NBA in terms of outside shooting percentage. And considering his ability to improve and his high FT% he will probably be even better next year and the year after that.

    People looking to bash Lee need to find another reason because he has made this criticism moot.

    So now Lee is a great rebounder, good passer, extremely high efficiency scorer with an average outside shoot and solid, but not great, defense.

    Star, no, but the best player on the Knicks and a top three player on almost every team in the NBA. He is exactly the kind of player we need to pencil in as a starter for the next 5-8 years.

    As for Balkman he is a flawed player, but since he is such a great defender, on a team desperate for defense, he should have a very large role on this team. I do not think it is a coincidence the Knicks are 8.4 pts per 100 possessions better with him on the floor this year and 7.5 points better last year.

    If Balkman can even become a slightly below average jump shooter and average free throw shooter, to go with his amazing defense, amazing rebounding, good ball-handling, good passing and good finishing ability he will be a very, very good player. If he doesn’t he is still a rotation player on any team in the NBA.

  41. Owen

    W.C. – Lee is a terrific rebounder and also very efficient scorer who doesn’t turn the ball over very much. He is stil in the top 25 in on/off for the second straight season, is in the top 20 in reb=r, is posting a ts% over 60%, and has canned his outside jumper with some frequency in the second half of the season. Whether a power forward actually needs a jumper is questionable, but Lee already shoots better than most players at the position. His efg on jumpers is now lower than Randolph’s according to 82games, but whose scoring would you rather have? Randolph’s at 51.4% ts%, or Lee’s 61.5%?

    Frank – In my book, Lee is already a top ten power forward and certainly he is the only player on the Knicks every team in the league would want to acquire.

    I don’t know if Ewing would be a great coach for the team, I sort of doubt anyone can get something out of Curry, who has been consistently bad through 7 seasons in the NBA now.

  42. o_boogie

    frank o:

    i totally agree we need to good executive running the team. i was shocked when all those rumors came out about kiki coming on as gm and thomas staying as coach. usually the gm picks the coach….

  43. Nick

    I believe the numbers on Balkman but considering for the last two years he was coming in for Q anbd Jefferies they don’t mean much. Jason Collins used to have seasons with the best +/- for NJ but only the clinically insane would have thought he was better than Kidd, much less Jefferson or whoever else was on the team. In wathcing Balkman I see a player that is very good around chasing loose balls and has had sporadcially good stretches of defense like the last minute or two of 2nd game if the season vs. ‘Melo. Overall he is not as good as he seems becuase what few plays he makes are memorable like the weekly hard dunk or a blocked shot or steal here or there. To this point if it wasn’t for Jared Jeffries penchant to over handle the ball he would be even more worthless in a half court set. Judging anyone’s defense on this team is hard becuase you’re comparing him to such “swiss cheese” defenders as Crawford, Curry and Randolph rather than actual competent and alert defenders.

  44. Frank O.

    I have to say also…I think the New York sports media sucks. It is all edge and no analytic substance. To a person, they appear to be spoon-fed, fat and sloppy. They substitute snark for reportage too often.
    I know a lot of newspapers, especially tabloids, intentionally inject opinion into their stories. That works when it is informed opinion, but too often they mistakenly elevate flash over substance.
    Owen just cited Randolph’s TS% v. Lee’s, and Lee’s so outstrips him it is glaring…and yet these reporters spurt all over the place when Zach puts up 28 and 12, and fail to note how badly the team defense suffers when he is out there because of the number of missed shots he’s responsible for and how little defense he plays.
    And if I have to read how great Crawford is when he puts up 30 shots and scores 25 points with a pathetic shooting percentage and no defense, I’ll retch.
    But these reporters are all into flash and no bang.

    And how often do they repeat rumors that turn out to be not true?
    I mean, there have been so many possible trades out there, so many things that have been floated, and the NY sports media has been wrong about every one.
    Their modus operandi seems to be create a fictional story, then write stories about why that original story was untrue…and that could be fiction, too. Do we have any reason to believe otherwise?
    This trade was done;that trade was done. It fell apart because of this or that…whatever.

    Isiah is going to be fired now, then not. He must be gone now because the Bricks have lost 8 straight games…then he isn’t fired and it was pure speculation on the part of the reporter.
    I’m an editor. If I let my reporters operate like that, no one would buy our publication!
    It’s pathetic.
    Their job consists of showing up for practice and posing questions to barely articulate 20-somethings about ridiculous stuff.
    Then watch them briefly at practice.
    Then they all race to their computers to type in the exact same story that was fed to them by the Bricks because they are afraid of not having what the competition has, regardless of how worthless.
    If I have to read another story about how terrific some dude is, primarily because that dude has launched an image rehab effort, I’m going to ralph again.
    Come on.
    How about breaking players down? How about statistically looking at what they are doing? I mean, Crawford is a 41 percent shooter. Where is he taking most of his shots? Do a legitimate story debunking the theory that because he can create his own shot he needs to have the ball more. I mean, so what if he is creating his own shot when his shots are leading to 22-25 shots a game making them at a rate of 41 percent per game.
    How about a detailed analysis of how effective Curry actually is in the paint when he gets 15 touches a game? And then analyze how effective Bricks guards have been feeding him. He is a remarkably efficient scorer, more efficient than Randolph, and yet Randolph is getting way more touches. I mean, he doesn’t play defense, so when he is out on the floor, why not play to his strength, when it appears he is virtually unstoppable, by NBA standards in the paint?
    How about some analysis on how everyone says that Randolph is such a prolific scorer in the paint, and yet, he takes a lot, a lot, of shots from 12 feet or more…
    Or how about a story that looks at purely the most efficient players on the Bricks, and what that team might look like if they just played the efficient people?

    There is all this analysis available. Why is it that NYC reporters don’t challenge Zeke with data that actually debunks the way he sets up his team?
    How about an analysis of Zeke?
    Look at each game, after a time out, and see what kinds of plays he calls. Or does he really call plays? It’s been my impression that late in a game, after a time out, Crawford dribbles the clock down and then tries to “create” a shot. His shot creation reminds me of my son in the kitchen attempting to “create” some concoction with similar success. My son doesn’t know what he is doing, although he’s a sweetheart for trying, whereas Crawford is a professional, and it appears he’s not too clear about what he is doing or going to do…but the fault is with the coach who puts him in a position like that.
    But does the NYC sports press push data on this?
    Hell no.

    Doing the statistical analysis is holding the Bricks accountable. Accountability is not maintained by dropping word bombs in a news story on a game, like “disastrous,” or “denial,” to even “stupid.”
    Those are opinions that any average Bricks’ fan can spew. I think one should expect more from someone making $100k or so chasing a basketball team around the country, getting their meals, quotes, and statistics from the team…

    The failure of the Bricks is in part also the failing of the NYC press, too. The Bricks are that bad, in part, because nothing the press writes sticks and nothing sticks because there is no substance behind the critique, nothing resonates.
    Vecsey, Isola and Berman and their kind are more interested in turn a barb in copy than actually analyzing what is going on with this team.

    I mean, they all seem so bored. It feels like they just want the happy times of covering a winning team. Well, that’s not reporting. They are reporters.
    Here’s a novel idea:
    Maybe they should do their job and leave the stenography to the Bricks broadcasters…

  45. jon abbey

    part of the answer to your question is that MSG is very quick to freeze out any reporter they feel is being overly hostile, and none of the papers want to feel like they’re being beaten by the others.

  46. Nick

    I’ve wondered what Frank has as far as the press conferences. No follow-up, all double talk and nonsense which if challenged is met with an “I’m outta here.” Your Zach and Crawford stuff is ironic becuase it was probaly not three mintues into the Dallas game tops before the first “the Knicks are playing absolutely no defense comment from breen.” Which of course is synonomous with Zach and Crawford are in the starting line-up (along with Curry).

  47. Frank O.

    as they say jon, I didn’t have time to write a short note, so I wrote a long one…
    but no one forces you to read it.
    and besides, if you take the sum total of posts in the past two months, I suspect I’d have to write another of that length to equal the amount of snark you throw around.
    perhaps you should take your own advice and say less.

    And Nick, identify one piece of double-talk. One. At least try to make your critique relevant.

    Also, I have debated certain issues here ad nauseum. My decision to post less has been about how poorly the Bricks play and how redundant I felt I was sounding and not at all about anyone challenging my point of view.
    In fact, I’ve found broad appeal for a number of things I’ve asserted here, such as getting cap healthy, giving the young guys more minutes, focusing on efficiency, complaining about defense, firing Isiah.., applauding the play of Lee…blah, blah, blah…laying that last part out reminds me again about redundancy.

    I think what we read in the NYC media sucks.
    And any reporter that holds back on their reporting for fear of being frozen out simply isn’t a very good reporter. It’s a cop out.

  48. Nick

    Frank, I wasn’t critiquing your post, just inartfully adding to it. I was referencing Isiah’s typical post-game commentary or pre-game or anytime for that matter.

  49. jon abbey

    “I wrote a long one…
    but no one forces you to read it.”

    I didn’t, I always glaze over pretty quickly on your epics. and I wasn’t telling you how much to write, just saying it amuses me that you’re an editor. and my snark isn’t going anywhere, unless I quit on this team entirely, and that sadly (for me) doesn’t seem possible.

    “I think what we read in the NYC media sucks.”

    yes, that’s pretty obvious.

    “And any reporter that holds back on their reporting for fear of being frozen out simply isn’t a very good reporter. It’s a cop out.”

    except that he’s probably getting instructions from his bosses to do just that. seriously, this “critique” is about as intelligent as the dude a few weeks back who was blaming Clyde.

  50. njhoops

    A little off topic, but relevant to tonight’s game and the contrast between coaches:

    From today’s NY Times: “On Tuesday, Riley did not have enough healthy players to run a practice. He gathered them anyway, for a meeting and a workout. The Knicks, who have 12 healthy players, took the day off” That’s our coach, a true taskmaster and motivator. I guess he was satisfied with the effort against the Mavs.

  51. Frank O.

    The contention a while back was that Clyde was making the team perform badly because he was being critical, which is silly.
    My contention is that the Bricks’ franchise isn’t facing the kind of pressure it should be facing, in part, because newspapers that cover this team aren’t doing their jobs and don’t accurately portray how badly this team is run.
    Your comparison is stupid.

    Accountability doesn’t happen in board rooms because some dude sitting in the back of the room says something has gone badly. Accountability happens when people make a reasoned case for why things have gone so badly.
    How often have people made that very contention on this board?
    I get more from one reasoned post from Owen, or the other Frank or Mike or any number of other people here. If the collective readership of the Daily News, Post, the NY Times and Newsday got decent analysis on what has gone wrong with the Bricks these past few years, I guarantee change would have come sooner.
    I don’t need your approval to know that, silly, silly man. There are any number of examples of how the press has held accountable executives in government and in business and forced change.

  52. jon abbey

    “From today’s NY Times: “On Tuesday, Riley did not have enough healthy players to run a practice. He gathered them anyway, for a meeting and a workout. The Knicks, who have 12 healthy players, took the day off” That’s our coach, a true taskmaster and motivator. I guess he was satisfied with the effort against the Mavs.”

    actually this is one of the smartest things Isiah has done all year. tonight will be a tough one to lose in the ongoing quest to catch Seattle and/or Memphis, so maybe giving NY the day off to party in Miami will help.

  53. retropkid

    Frank, I would generally agree, but I think Dolan is the kinds of stubborn guy who won’t respond to the press. The team is a disaster in terms of quality, and has little future as currently structured, and he knows it. But he is paying Zeke, and he has fans still buying tickets…so the financial situation isn’t terrible, and he may want Zeke to suffer…regardless of pressure from the press.

    Dolan doesn’t have to be accountable to winning…that’s pretty clear. Unless the league starts suffering by NY being so bad (remember the fixed draft that got us Patrick…yes it was definitely fixed, a frozen envelope, don’t doubt it) there is little reason for Dolan to spend a ton more money chasing Ws….

    It’s a bummer.

    btw, just left the Garden, sat 4th row watching this kid Reynolds from Nova light up my Orangemen, another disappointing basketball team based in NY state….hello, NIT!

  54. jon abbey

    Frank, virtually all journalists these days suck, and especially “professional” sportswriters. Murray Chass still has a job at the Times, for crying out loud. (FWIW, I don’t know where you work, but I worked at Time for a decade.) singling out the Knicks’ beat writers seems pretty silly to me in this context. sure, they could be way better, but so could virtually all journalists everywhere, especially sportswriters.

    anyway, what you’re asking for will never happen, Cablevision is a major advertiser, the Rangers are poised to maybe make some noise in the playoffs (and MSG can cut access to whichever papers slam them too hard) and so the kind of incessant calls for Dolan to step down in the NY papers that should be going on in an ideal world will never happen. it’s way too overly idealistic IMO and doesn’t show much knowledge of how the NY media world actually works, especially coming from another journalist, hence my tone.

  55. Frank O.

    The NY media world doesn’t work very well from a journalistic point of view, jon.
    Yours is a cynical view – I’m sure you’re thinking your realistic. I can hear your world-weary, “Oh, of course it sucks, but it is what it is.”
    Part of the problem is the acceptance of the status quo…
    TIME, in fact, sucks now – and has sucked and been dying for 20 years now – primarily because it dumbed down its content, pushed service journalism, celebrity coverage, and became more consumer oriented. It got away from substantive journalism. All three major US news mags, two of which are based in the fabled New York media market, and styled themselves that way, fell into the same trap.
    Conversely, The Economist carved out a journalistically more vigorous niche and is thriving. My publication Congressional Quarterly, is even more tightly focused, and is thriving.
    My point is it’s not naive to reject the status quo. In most cases, it’s actually counterproductive to accept it, especially when the status quo means failure.
    I would expect someone who developed a label around innovation and improvisation would get that.

    retropkid I take solace in the fact that cablevision stock was at almost $40 per share in mid-July last year and has steadily dipped to about $23 today.
    My hope is they will find a need for liquidity and sell off the MSG business…
    One can dream.

  56. jon abbey

    “My point is it’s not naive to reject the status quo. In most cases, it’s actually counterproductive to accept it, especially when the status quo means failure.
    I would expect someone who developed a label around innovation and improvisation would get that.”

    right, but there’s a huge difference between rebelling within the main body of the system (which is virtually impossible to change in almost all cases IMO) and rebelling outside the system, whether that means a smaller independent publication, an independent record label or an independent message board/blog. the latter can and does work, I don’t believe the former can.

    the depictions of the Baltimore Sun on The Wire weren’t as nuanced as they should have been, but there was a lot of truth there. and if there are still real journalists working at the major NYC papers, virtually none of them are in the sports departments (Peter Vecsey is the only real exception I can think of, Phil Mushnick if he wasn’t such a bozo maybe).

  57. ess-dog

    Frank,
    I think Abbey is actually being relatively realistic. I mean, MSG is a corporation that can run it’s organization any way it wants too (unfortunately.) ABC’s programming is god-awful, but that doesn’t mean I or the government can step in and tell it to start producing good television. All I can do is not watch and go watch HBO (or read a book.) And to his credit, Abbey is the strongest advocate of voting with your dollars on this site by NOT buying Knicks tix. I don’t think there are any sports reporters saying that “The Knicks are great, go watch them play!” It’s a tricky dance cover the Knicks… just look at the Larry Brown escapades when he had to pull over to the side of the road to talk to reporters. The funny thing is that the Knicks still sellout games.

  58. Frank O.

    Oddly, jon and I agree on NY sports reporters. I just can’t stand how useless they are.

    The fortunes of large corporations are affected by perception-driven market forces.
    If a team says, we suck, but there is reason to believe we will get better, that’s one thing.
    If they say it and the press merely calls it delusional, it’s another. Most people tune that out.
    It’s an entirely different situation if the press goes out and proves it. Then people begin to see they are being duped. MSG has been masterful, and the NYC press complicit, in creating the illusion of improvement. Example, Zach Randolph is a 20-10 guy…As they say in “Chicago,” they razzle dazzle you…

    If you document the flawed management and decision-making, market forces would begin to work against Mr. Dolan.

    I realize that is a subjective view, but there are case studies in government and business – Spitzer and Mattel come to mind immediately – where the press shed light on dark places and forces come into play that brought about changes.

  59. JVG

    Granted, the Bricks aren’t the most entertaining team to watch and have no chance to make the playoffs, but there still is hope for all Bricks fans….

    The New York Knicks City Dancers are going head-to-head against the Chicago Luvabulls on March 13 as part of the NBA’s annual Dance Team bracket!

    Vote early. Vote often.

    http://www.nba.com/features/dance_bracket_2008.html

  60. W. C.

    I can’t agree with you guys on Lee’s outside shooting. As far as I am concerned, the stats are misleading. You have to watch the players in various situations and see what they do.

    Recently, Lee has demonstrated a greater willingless to take an outside shot when he’s wide open. I will agree to that much. He even commented on this recently saying (and I paraphrase here)

    “I now realize I am hurting the team by not taking the outside shot when I have it”.

    The thing is, he only takes it when he is WIDE OPEN. Even then he doesn’t take it all the time. He also doesn’t take it a lot of the time when it’s still a high quality shot and he should. He looks to pass first. So the defense is still sagging off him.

    Some of those other guys on the PF list take shots from further out and in situations that Lee would never even consider. That’s why the shooting percentages are similar.

    Take a guy like Zach. Now obviously it’s easy to make the case that he takes a lot of shots he shouldn’t take, but the fact that his outside shooting % is similar to Lee’s despite the fact that he takes so many poor and tougher shots is telling you he is a way better outside shooter and commands greater respect from the defense if he has the ball on the outside.

    Lee is simply still not as good an outside shooter or as great a threat to the defense as many other top PFs at this time.

    IMHO, he needs to continue working on that aspect of his game because other than rebounding and energy (which he is great at), he has some limitations (outside shot, blocked shots, defense only adequate)

  61. Brian Cronin

    “Listen, I know your fancy facts and figures say the world is round, but darnit, I just know that it is flat.”

  62. jon abbey

    hehehe, nice.

    back to the Nix: tonight is a huge game. just like when you’re trying to win a title, you need to prove yourself against the top teams in the league, when you’re trying to tank, these are the tough ones to lose. we’re 4 point favorites on the road, that’s how bad Miami has been, not to mention Wade is out now. I advocate playing Jerome James and Mardy Collins for 48 minutes tonight, and if James has a heart attack and dies, all the better (what’s the cap ruling on that?).

  63. Ben R

    W.C. – The fact that Lee looks to pass instead of shooting lots of 18 footers is a good thing not a bad one. Great teams move the ball alot and do not settle for midrange shots especially not from their big men. Lee might get his shot blocked alot but he is still one of the most efficient scorers in the NBA.

    While I do hope he continues to develop his jump shot I prey he does not fall in love with it like many PFs often do. I look at once efficient scorers like Gooden, Rasheed, and Randolph and their decline from efficiency stems directly from deveolping a jumpshot and then falling in love with it.

    Power forwards belong inside where they can get rebounds and finish efficiently off of passes and offensive rebounds. The ability to hit the 15-18 footer is handy but vastly overrated and should only be used to keep defenses honest. Lee has developed it enough to be able to effectively punish teams for leaving him open but still uses it sparingly which I actually think is a blessing.

    Also every single year Lee has been in the league our offense has been better with him in the game than with him out of the game. Considering he replaces “offensive” players like Curry, Randolph and formerly Frye yet still improves the offense tells me he must be doing something well on offense.

  64. T-Mart

    “I advocate playing Jerome James and Mardy Collins for 48 minutes tonight”

    Why stop there??? How about 48 minutes for:

    1- Mardy Collins
    2- Jared Jefferies (hes played some 2)
    3- Q
    4- Malik Rose
    5- Jerome James

  65. T-Mart

    Any predictions for what the game would look like with that starting lineup playing all 48 minutes??

  66. jon abbey

    it’s going to take 48 minutes of lack of effort, though. if they’re not careful, they’ll wind up right back in the game.

    Ricky Davis is like the perimeter Zach Randolph, so painful to watch.

  67. Ray

    Its all about who wants it more….the number one draft pick that is.
    D. Lee has been working on that jumper. Balkman and Jefferies have not. Maybe not at all this year. I saw some video of Caron Butler saying that in the offseason he said he would take 1000 jumpshots and it elevated him into all star status. I dont know if some of our guys will do that in the offseason. In the end no one should be safe when it comes to rebuilding this team Going foward we dont want Nate to be our starter. Hes great at what he does coming off the bench. Chandler can shoot but he really needs to work on that shot and getting his feet set when he goes up. I think if Zeke would have played him earlier we would have seen him develop more but this is what we get at this point of the year with him starting now. Some of you guys under estimate OJ Mayo…his upside is tremendous. Im going to keep my eye on him during madness because we all know how a lot of player draft stock can change depending on how they play during those games. He can shoot and he can play D when needed. Needs to work on his passing and drawing fouls. If hes available I take him. Kevin Love is like another D Lee. I havent seen him take a jumpshot yet. He rebounds and passes. I think he’ll stay in school anyway. I dont want to see Lopez here. That would certainly be a bust. I just hope whoever is in charge does the right thing.

  68. jon abbey

    Ray, Love shoots threes with nice form, 17-51 so far this season and a big one in their last comeback ref-gift win. he’s maybe comparable to Randolph’s skillset with D-Lee’s brain, his outlet passes are remarkable.

    I can’t believe how much of that game I just watched. you wonder how a team can be 11-52, and then you realize that Ricky Davis isn’t their most selfish guy who plays big minutes. when Blount airballed that 3 late, I just felt sad for the sport of basketball.

    thankfully the anti-Knicks are on now, GS. Baron/Ellis/Jackson has to be in the running for most entertaining perimeter trio in league history. (literally as I typed this sentence, Baron blocked Nesterovic and took the ball end to end). League Pass costs money, but every playoff game is on, I highly recommend making GS a top priority.

  69. Ted Nelson

    W.C.

    If you go more with the David Lee is not someone you build around argument, and lay off the David Lee is not a good player argument, you might have a point. Is the diffence between the Spurs and Knicks, talent wise, really that David Lee is no Kurt Thomas, or that the Knicks don’t have a Duncan, Manu, or Parker let alone all three? I agree that Lee has limitations, but he’s the Knicks’ best player and probably their best defender with a regular rotation spot (not saying much).

    Taking bad shots is not what opens up the offense and helps your team: ball and player movement open up the offense and force the defense to react.
    For example, if Zach or Jamal have taken 10 long jumpers in a given game and only hit three of them, is the defense really going to go all out to prevent them from taking the 11th? A good defense would encourage them to take more of those shots.

    “He looks to pass first.”

    How refreshing to hear that about a Knick. Maybe if more players on the team looked to pass first, instead of jacking up bad shots, the Knicks could have something resembling a cohesive offense.

    Ray,

    I largely agree with your post. One thing I’d point out though is that it’s not just posters here who have soured on OJ Mayo: it’s NBA scouts and scouts who run mock draft sites like nbadraft.net and draftexpress.com, too.
    I think I’m higher on him than most. The biggest problem I see is that if he’s stubborn and insists on playing the point he’s going to be the second Steve Francis, in the absolute best case scenario. If he’s got that LeBron/Kobe like will to succeed that I think is part of the reason people were so high on him in the first place and he’s coachable, he could probably be one of the better SGs in the NBA.
    Do you take Mayo over Rose?

  70. Frank

    Just my two cents on the whole sports reporting issue– most of the guys you are talking about are from the tabloid papers so it is no surprise that it is all fluff. I don’t even bother to read them anymore because I know it’s terrible. just like I don’t read the news stories in the Post because they are unlikely to actually improve my understanding of anything at all. To be honest, the only text I read seriously about the Knicks are from the NY Sun where I think Martin Johnson and Hollinger do some fine work (but it does oddly feel like they are shouting in an open field with no one listening) and on this board.

    Re: Isiah — it sure does feel like a game of chicken between Dolan and Isiah, doesn’t it? Dolan wants to hang him out to dry so Isiah decides he just can’t take this humiliation any more, resigns, and gives up however many millions he is due over the next 3 years. Isiah is daring Dolan to fire him and pay his some sort of settlement. Good thing they both have the fans’ and team’s best interest at heart!

    Re: Mayo – I honestly have never seen him play but just looking at the stats, I think we have enough players with more TOs than assists. I read that he has great potential as a defender which is interesting but we definitely do not need another Steve Francis. I watch very little college basketball these days unfortunately, but just from what little I have seen, I’d love to get guys like Ty Lawson or Darren Collison on this team (obviously Rose too)– undersized, sure, but I love watching these little guys (ie. Nate) put pressure on the other team both in terms of their offensive speed and also their press defense. Lawson’s and Collison’s rep is that their superior lateral quickness and long arms makes them great on-ball defenders. ‘Course we need a big shotblocker behind them to allow them to be aggressive… so many needs and wants, *sigh*.

  71. Frank O.

    I can’t believe they won last night…

    Frank, I haven’t read the Sun. I’ll check out the sports section.

  72. Luke

    Its amazing when you read the archives and look at peoples predictions and how they have flip flopped and outright ignored all the claims they made before the season.

    People wanted Crawford to come off the bench so Q could start and wanted Crawford to understand his role or take a seat .That role was to get the ball inside to Curry and Zach who were going to dominate . You had people saying Isiah should be going to a Nate,Q,jones rotation for goodness sake and that Q was viable at SG.

    Crawford is a flawed basketball player but you have to question peoples motives sometimes when a player is not even in someones top 4 players on the team in preseason and at the end of the season he somehow ends up being the focal point of the blame after their top 4 didnt even deliver.

    I would trade Crawford in a heartbeat if we found a good deal but essentially blaming him for not playing within a system that doesnt exists is ridiculous .

    I look back on this season and all the talk about how the knicks had soo many weapons but the truth is we didnt have as many as we thought.I dont buy into the notion that only one or two on the roster could play for a title contender because I think anyone in the knicks top 8 could but they just dont mix well together .I would explore trades for them all.

  73. Frank O.

    Actually, I just read Martin Johnson’s column from March 10 and he pretty much says what has been common fodder here. If you let the young guys play, they may lose a bit on inexperience, but they will be exciting and those losses will turn to wins with experience. He was writing about the Portland game, and broke down Isiah’s rotations, and how they probably caused the poor play in the next few games because some of the guys played ridiculous minutes.

  74. Frank O.

    We need to go to Serbia, find some giant 7-footer, put some sneakers on him and tell him to prevent anyone from getting near the basket.
    I hear Serbs are very territorial…
    Luke, I understand what you are saying about Crawford…but life is a journey, and where you start isn’t where you finish and sometimes the path you blaze goes to hell.

  75. Mr. Black

    Luke,

    As one of the people that advocated making Crawford the 6th and making Q the starting 2 with Balkman at the 3, I admit that it looks like a terrible call. However, considering how Q played last year when healthy, I think I could be forgiven for thinking that he would be better at the two. He rebounds well, and plays solid defense. I had no clue that his offense would abandon him. Plus Q dealt with a number of odd injuries that mad his slow start even worse. The only thing I can say is that after seeing Q play so terribly, I retracted my stance. Unlike Isiah, I can admit that Q isnt getting it done.

  76. Roshi

    More unfortunate than the lousy Knicks reporting in local papers, is how most fans simply have no clue how to analyze the game. I was at the Knicks-Pistons game last Friday and I can’t tell you how many fans sitting around me were oohing and aahing each time Crawford happened to hit a fadeaway prayer. Your average fan hasn’t the slightest clue how to construct a winning team, only that he wants to see one immediately. You almost can’t blame Isiah for seeking the quick fix. NY fans are enamored by the 20-10 guy and are generally blind to the destructive effect he has on the team.

  77. o_boogie

    basketball is a game of efficiency (high fg%, high ft%, low turnovers, good defensive rebounding, etc). that is why the tim duncan’s, lebron james’, and chris paul’s win games. people speculate why vince carter, allen iverson, jamal crawford, zach randolph or shareef abdur rahim have gaudy numbers and no success to show for it. they are inefficient!

    lets do a simple numbers game (nowhere close to what morey and the rockets are doing):

    jamal crawford may have 29 points against the spurs, but took 22 shots to do it. tim duncan will get his 29 points in 14 shots and hit free throws. with those eight less shots tim duncan took, lets assume the spurs shoot 50%. that means they will hit 4 of the 8 shots, totaling an additional 8 points. so tim duncan’s efficient shooting results in a net change of -8 points for the knicks or +8 point for the spurs.

    of course this is a very flawed and simple analysis, but the point im trying to get across is the knicks are full of inefficient players.

  78. Brian Cronin

    Yeah, ripping the “start Q over Crawford” thing is a bit unfair, as Q was a good player last year, which is all one could really go on when making predictions before this season, in which Q has been dreadful.

    As soon as we saw Q settle into his terrible play, everyone rightfully said he should be replaced by a better player (Balkman).

    That doesn’t seem to be something to point out to mock.

    Now, if someone had gone on and on about how awesome Zach Randolph was going to be on the team, that you can rightfully make fun of!

  79. Frank O.

    AP – Greg Oden practiced with the Portland Trail Blazers for the first time since right knee surgery ended his season six months ago

  80. Mr. Black

    “Now, if someone had gone on and on about how awesome Zach Randolph was going to be on the team, that you can rightfully make fun of!”

    I’m guilty of that too. Here are more of my gems from September 2007.

    “Zach Randolph is worth at least 10 more wins.”

    Did I actually type that?

    “The Knicks will win 46 games this year.”

    What was I thinking?

    “Marbury will have a great season.”

    What was I smoking?

    “Dewey defeats Truman.”

    Hey, that’s not mine!

  81. Mark

    Beating Miami is no way to get more balls in the lottery draft. Is it me or is Zeke screwing fans every way he can.

  82. jon abbey

    the important thing is not to let that one win snowball into more. a couple of demoralizing defeats to Atlanta and Indiana will rebuild a bit of momentum before our big showdowns with Memphis and Minnesota next weekend, and if we go 0-4 there, we’ve still got a fighting shot to move up (down).

    the key is to keep focused and take every game as it comes, there are no sure losses in the NBA. but with only 17 games left and a three game lead in the win column over 4th (to last), every loss is huge.

  83. jon abbey

    back to Kevin Love for a minute: he sat most of the first half just now in foul trouble, in danger of ending his streak of double figures scoring (every game this year) with only 2 points at halftime. then he came out to start the second half, and hit 3s on three straight possessions.

  84. Ray

    I didn’t know Love could hit the 3 like that. Impressive. Mayo or Rose? I keep saying Mayo because I think he has incredible upside.I dont really think we have a chance at Rose. I imagine him still learning the game more and more each year and using his physical gifts and blossoming. He really has been stepping up lately and making his team just one notch better than usual. Im not really impressed with Ty Lawson and Collison. They both control the floor well but for the Knicks we need a kid thats going to come in a make an impact. Thats going to change the face of the team. Its so crucial we get an impact player in this draft and not another role player like the last couple of drafts. Mayo is young i expect him to make turnovers as hes given more responsibility. Hes used to going out there and taking over and now hes playing teams ball and that is forcing his game to grow.

  85. Ess-dog

    Ray,
    The problem with bringing in a young gifted player is that Isiah will not coach him and irrevocably screw him up. A 4 year player like David Lee has a better chance of not killing himself after being brainwashed by the smiling weasel. But the truly gifted future-stars come out after 1 year, so it’s a double-edged sword. If Rose and Beasley are gone, I would be for picking up Mayo. Even if he’s not a true point, he’s big enough to play the 2 and the difference is that he actually plays tough D. I still like Bayless as a true point, maybe lower like at 7 or 8. I’m not convinced of any of these big men. Lopez ain’t bad, but he is more of a pf in the pros no? Had we never brought in Randolph, is it possible that Curry would have blossomed instead of reversed? Who knows. What a horrible move. I’m still a little traumatized by it so many months later. If we draft Mayo, we can trade Crawford, that’s for sure.

  86. Ray

    We could trade Craw if we get Mayo. It not like we dont have a lot of pieces other teams would like. A lot of our guys would be solid additions to other teams. Balkman , Jeffries, Curry, Nate, Craw, Marbury. There has to be some deal that can be swung to get us either more picks in this draft or maybe some capspace or something. Mayo had another strong game last night…20 points ,6 assists. I think his stock will move up when march madness begins. Bayless has looked good earlier this season but last night he was way off his game. I think if he stayed another year it would really benefit him. We’ll see about that. Lopez for some reason reminds me of Tim Duncan…of course his level of play is no where near TD but at the next level I just dont see him thriving. I dont see the big deal about him.

  87. TDM

    I like Mayo, however, it would be nice to see him with a better cast surrounding him. Its seems that he has too much on his shoulders at SC. He could have joined any program he wanted, but wanted to be ‘The Guy’. The decision to go to SC coincides with the knock I’ve read about him being a selfish player.

    Tonight should be a good game however — Love v. Mayo.

  88. caleb

    Augustin is nice, but not at #5.
    Roberts is a 2nd rounder.
    Gibson is an interesting, under-the-radar guy. No way I’d take him in the lottery, but I sort of like what he does, for later in the round. I also like DJ White (Indiana) — less athletic than Gibson, but looks very strong and polished as a post player.

  89. caleb

    p.s. Kevin Love is really fun to watch – I think he’ll turn out to be a good player. Probably not for us, though. No way he can play center and he’s too slow to play SF, which limits the options… and IMHO it’s unlikely he’d ever be better than Lee. Meanwhile, we have so many other glaring needs.

  90. hoolahoop

    This is the perfect time to trade Nate – when his stock is as high as it’s ever going to be. I don’t care if he would have scored 120 points the other night. night in, night out he throws up too many garbage shots. Even elite players that take a high number of shots (Lebron, Kobe) don’t throw up GARBAGE. Nate is not a winner.

  91. TDM

    Just announced a few hours ago – Curry is having season ending knee surgery. We may be able to make a little ground on Minnesota this week. They have been playing better – beating the Clips and Kings last week. Their next four games are against Sonics, Blazers, Clips and Griz.

    Unfortunately, Miami has a fairly difficult schedule the next couple of weeks, with the Orlando, Dallas, Toronto and Detroit coming up.

  92. Ben R

    I do not agree about trading Nate. If we get a great offer sure, but I do not see a need to move him. His shooting is not that bad, he is actually fairly efficient, shooting over 55% TS% last year and at almost 53% this year despite some injuries that hurt his percentages.

    Also he has a better than 2:1 assist/turnover ratio and is a good rebounding PG. His defense while not stellar is passable and has the potential to be pretty good.

    I do not see him as a great starter but I think he will make a very very good sixth man playing 25-30 minutes a game off the bench.

    Right now I would put him as my third most important Knick to keep, behind Lee and Balkman.

  93. tdm

    What’s the prevailing thought on Hibbert vs Lopez? From what I’ve seen, Hibbert plays with a mean streak – something nyc hasn’t seen since Oakley. Lopez seems more like a finesse center. If there were a way to trade down and get a big and a pg, I’d rather see the Knicks go after the Gtown product.

  94. DRed

    I don’t think Hibbert is mobile enough to be a difference maker in the NBA.

    Speaking of immobile, how fat is Curry going to get while he can’t work out?

  95. Ray

    Some random notes on the MMadness….Tonight it will be Lopez vs Love. Interesting machup. Hansborough is amazing. He has that knack for things. I dont know what hell do at the next level but he is dominating the college game like i havent seen in a while. VT played NC really well but didn’t execute very well in crunch time. Chris D-Roberts was really sharp for memphis I think he will declare at seasons end. Mayo was impressive last night. He didnt try to take over until late in the game. You get the sense that he can do more but he is playing a team game . That shows humility despite the amount of skills he has. I think he’s underrated.

  96. dave crockett

    Jon –

    Love is an interesting one to project at the next level. He has to play PF in the pros. He’d be better if he lost 20 lbs and improved his quickness.

    Here’s the dilemma for him. He almost has to declare don’t you think? He’s already super-skilled but he isn’t getting any taller. He may be a guy who has a difficult time improving his stock. All he can do is hurt himself.

  97. Ess-dog

    “Bucks fans are not happy with the way the team is going, and many are planning to wear paper bags over their heads in semi-organized protest.”

    Why haven’t we done this yet???

  98. Kikuchiyo

    I love this blog, but we really need a new thread. The game this was the “pre-game” thread for ended a week ago.

    Help!

  99. W. C.

    If we are going to stay with Curry at center, Lee can’t be the power forward because we need a defensive specialist that blocks shots and rotates well on defense and make up for Curry’s shortcomings. We need a tough guy in that spot.

    If we are going to stay with Zach, then I believe Lee will remain on the bench.

    If you are telling me we need to trade both Curry and Zack to make room for Lee, I think that’s just silly because Lee is not the type of player you can or should build around.

    It may make sense to get rid of both Curry and Zach for other reasons if we can get some less limited quality players for them, but how likely is that.

    Out of the two, I’d rather get rid of Zach even though I think he’s the better player of the two. I think a team can win with Curry at center as long as the complimenting PF is a brute defensive stopper. If we traded Curry for a defensive center, I think we’d still have some trouble with Zachs teamwork/chemistry etc….

    Unless we blow up everything, I see Lee remaining on the 2nd team. If we play Lee with Curry, we can’t win.

  100. W. C.

    If we are going to stay with Curry at center, Lee can’t be the power forward because we need a defensive specialist that blocks shots and rotates well on defense and make up for Curry’s shortcomings. We need a tough guy in that spot.

    If we are going to stay with Zach, then I believe Lee will remain on the bench.

    If you are telling me we need to trade both Curry and Zack to make room for Lee, I think that’s just silly because Lee is not the type of player you can or should build around.

    It may make sense to get rid of both Curry and Zach for other reasons if we can get some less limited quality players for them, but how likely is that.

    Out of the two, I’d rather get rid of Zach even though I think he’s the better player of the two. I think a team can win with Curry at center as long as the complimenting PF is a brute defensive stopper. If we traded Curry for a defensive center, I think we’d still have some trouble with Zachs teamwork/chemistry etc….

    Unless we blow up everything, I see Lee remaining on the 2nd team. If we play Lee with Curry, we can’t win even though it’s a better combo than Curry and Zach.

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