Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Prediction Time

My guess is that the Knicks won’t win more than 28 games. It’s not that I think the team hasn’t improved. I think Duhon pushing Marbury to the bench gives them depth at guard. With Duhon & Collins the Knicks have two able perimeter defenders – something they haven’t had since perhaps Sprewell & Ward. Maybe even Ward & Harper, since Latrell spent most of his time at small forward.

I think replacing Curry in the starting lineup with David Lee is a considerable improvement. Lee is not only a better player, but a Lee/Randolph front court compliments D’Antoni’s coaching style. Since both are able rebounders, there should be more fast break opportunities. And Lee can play off the ball more with Randolph than Curry would. Also I think Chandler will eventually supplant Richardson at small forward eventually, and that will help the team as well.

I think Mike D’Antoni is a good coach. In fact I think he’s the best coach this team has had since Van Gundy. Many thought D’Antoni preferred veterans over newbies, and the Knick prospects would suffer. Yet it seems many of the youngsters are favored by D’Antoni (Robinson, Chandler, Lee, and even Gallinari). He has a coherent structure for the offense. For the first time in years I feel that the Knicks are actually drawing up plays during timeouts instead of taking everyone’s dinner orders.

So why all the negativity? (If you can call a 5 game improvement negativity.) First is that the East has improved drastically. Jermaine O’Neal makes the Raptors better. Elton Brand makes the Sixers better. Beasley and a full season from Wade & Marion make the Heat better. Mo Williams might make the Cavs better.

My second cause for concern is the roster makeup. It’s thought that Zach Randolph will be moved at the deadline. Let’s just assume that the Knicks move him for a lesser player. Who takes his place in the lineup? The guy they traded for? Well by definition that player should be worse. (Who would take on contract & give up a better player?) If not then maybe Eddy Curry? Or Jared Jeffries? Or Gallinari? None of these will translate into more wins this season.

And who is to say that the Knicks don’t move Lee, Chandler, or Robinson? The team is rebuilding, and it’s hard to say what the roster will look like in March. Even without any changes, the team is paper thin at small forward. The depth chart is two deep: Chandler and Richardson. If one or both get hurt the Knicks will struggle.

So with all that in mind, I’ll stick with 28 wins for the Knicks in 2009. However it doesn’t matter to me how many wins the team gets. This year the team will be more fun to watch. Already it seems that the younger players like Lee, Robinson, and Chandler are going to get more minutes.


Some other predictions from around the league.

Hollinger: 28 wins

Ball Don’t Lie: 23 wins

Yahoo/Accuscore: 25 wins

Straight Bangin: 30 wins

Posting & Toasting: 36 wins

UPDATED: Basketball Prospectus: 24

74 comments on “Prediction Time

  1. Italian Stallion

    Nice post Mike.

    I’m going to call for 30 wins because the Knicks played most of last year without Marbury (basically no PG at all). This year they have both Duhon and Marbury. So I think that more or less helps offset some of the improvement elsewhere in the East.

    In addition, I think Qrich was basically eqivalent to the “black plague of death” last year. Even though he’s starting again this year, I can’t imagine that an improved Chandler and/or even a semi crippled Gallinari aren’t going to be better than the worst SF in league last year. Between the two, we are going to get a lot more productive minutes from that position.

    Finally, Lee getting more minutes and Curry getting less is worth a few wins by itself.

    Throw in a coach with a brain and an actual game plan and despite much of the rest of the East either making good moves, drafting ahead of us, or coming off subpar seasons, I think the Knicks are likely to win 7-12 more games this year than last.

    As for tonight, I really have no idea.

    The best sign would be for the Knicks to win a tough one late in the game by either coming from behind or holding off Wade and Miami’s late bid. The worst possible scenario would be a tight game that the Knicks blow with poor shooting, mental errors, turnovers, and bad decisions in the last few minutes. That would signal we are still mentally losers.

  2. ess-dog

    Call me an optimist, but I like ‘em for 31 wins. But wait! The ess-dog has more predictions…

    1. Nate Robinson will drastically improve his game and by the end of the year, be in contention for the 6th man award. He will then sign with another team in the offseason, probably Oklahoma City.

    2. Jamal Crawford will be abysmal from the outside, but will be yet another coach’s favorite and play extended minutes.

    3. Jerome James will lead the team in blocked shots (this is not a good thing.)

    4. Q will play surprisingly well (especially on D) and get most of the minutes at SF.

    5. Curry will play sparingly, will sustain an injury midway through the season and will be traded the summer after this one.

    6. Zach Randolph will play very will and will be an opening day starter next season as well.

    7. Stephon’s role will slowly be reduced as the season goes on and he will complain about it, but he won’t get sent home like last year.

    8. Duhon and Lee will both be average to above-average starters.

    9. Walsh will not make one trade this season claiming ‘his hands are tied.’

    10. D’Antoni will shave the ‘stash after the all-star break.

  3. jon abbey

    I had the low number last year, maybe 31 this year?

    I think we’ll have a lot of games where we fall behind early, rally when our bench is in, and lose down the stretch.

  4. Owen

    Erich Doerr has posted a spreadsheet with a bunch of different predictions for every team in the league, pretty interesting.

    The most interesting Knicks prediction, is from Kevin Pelton, easily one of the most respected names in basketball analysis. His Pelton Wins Produced, (and no I can’t explain what that is) has us at 39 wins.

    http://xlssports.googlepages.com/0809ProjectionsArticle.htm

    I will go with 30 wins.

  5. scogg25

    I like ess-dog’s prediction of Zach Randolph playing very well. D’Antoni has praised him and nobody has ever questioned his work ethic in practices. He seems to fit very well in the system and I do think the frontcourt of Lee and Randolph could surprise a lot of people this year. I also think the overall competetiveness will surprise a lot of teams, amounting to somewhere around 35 wins, optimistically.

    It’d be great if they shocked the world and got in the playoffs. Probably less than a 1% chance. I have faith.

    I like Wilson a lot but Q did well in this system before so it wouldn’t matter to me if Wilson doesn’t start at all this season if Q is putting up helpful winning numbers.

    I’d like to see Nate get as much if not more playing time than Duhon and Crawford. I’m not totally sold on Duhon as of yet. I’ve always hated Poisonbury but there’s always this hope every year that he might have something to contribute…of course he will smash it soon enough but maybe the first couple of games he will behave. Crawford might end up being the starting point guard if Duhon is a total bust…which wouldn’t be a bad thing seeing as he plays better with the ball than without it. He just needs to be taught to distribute in this system.

    Maybe we will have an all-star this year. My pick for most likely to be an all-star would be Zach Randolph. The Knicks are going to be trying to inflate his numbers anyways in case of a trade and he could be like a 23 12 guy instead of just a 20 10 guy. Any other predictions for most likely to be an all-star?

  6. Captain Merlin

    Call me an optimist, but i’ll give them 34 wins. Maybe even in January they could still be looking as if they may fight for the 8th in the east….the last time that happened, it resulted in the epic Isiah mega-extension.

    As for players, I see Lee upping his number across the board–particularly his scoring. I feel as if he has gained enough confidence in his shot so that he will at least be chucking up more from 15-20, though not necessarily making any better of a percentage from out there, nontheless resulting in about 15-17 ppg. Rebounds oughta be around 12pg or so. The key with him is whether he will sustain the confidence in his shooting so that in January and February he might still be shooting at a higher rate. As there will be many more shots to go around I truly hope this to be the case, otherwise he may slip back to his numbers from last year and leave all those shots for the likes of Zbo, Craw, Q and other less enjoyable options.

    Curry will wind up averaging 15-20 minutespg and not doing much of note

    Zbo will be moved at the deadline for cap space, a 2nd rounder and a bad contract, causing a spike in Jeffries’ post deadline numbers.

    Nate will come into the starting lineup at some point for about 10 games or so as the off-guard and display the poor shot selection, carelessness, and inability to defend larger guards that we have come to expect from him.

    Gallinari will not look as good as Channing Frye did during his rookie year.

    Excitement’s a-brewing.

  7. Frank

    Here are my predictions:

    Forever the optimist, I’m going to predict at 36-44 finish and a sniff at the 8th spot.

    Zach will average 20/10 and be a good soldier, thereby increasing his trade value. However, D’Antoni and Walsh will become enamored with his game and not trade him, thereby eliminating all chance of getting Lebron.

    Marbury will also play well — 14 ppg, 5 assists, and play reasonable defense. But that won’t keep him in a Knick uniform thank God.

    Nate will break out and be more consistent — 16 ppg and will have a TS% of 56.

    Curry will not average more than 12 min/game.

    Jerome James will come up injured within the 1st 48 minutes that he actually plays.

    David Lee will do very well, average 16 and 10 but TS% will not reach 60 as he takes more shots from the outside and more and more teams key on him.

    Jamal will not be good — will shoot 43% from the field, jack up 50% more 3pointers than he should, and play matador D. That’s a real stretch, I know.

    And we’ll see some good play out of Wilson Chandler although he’ll be wildly inconsistent. And Gallinari will show he can hang with the big boys, even if it’s 10 minutes/game.

  8. George from Scottsdale

    41 wins!!! Look to trade Crawford, GS or Wash? along with Eddy, if possible. Go with Duhon, Collins(parimeter D),Zach, DLee and Chandler to start,Robinson, Marbury & Jeffries, when he comes back, come off the bench. Gallinari to the D league for a few weeks.

  9. Ted Nelson

    A similar group won 33 games for Isiah 2 seasons ago (16th in offense and 25th in defense), so I’d call that the success/failure line for Walshtoni as far as winning basketball games in 08-09 is concerned. Of course, this should be sort of a medium-term plan so, like Mike K, I’m not all that concerned with the win total. Would definitely love it if they’re competitive, though. Seems like both the Knicks and Heat have a lot to play for in the first game of the season, I’m interested to see how it goes.

  10. Owen

    “David Lee will do very well, average 16 and 10 but TS% will not reach 60 as he takes more shots from the outside and more and more teams key on him.”

    Some good comments up there.

    As much as I hate to say it, and as much as I don’t believe in systems, I think I agree with the above I think I see Lee’s ts% declining a fair bit. In every preseason game, D’Antoni has Lee operating out of the high post, initiating the offense, and spotting up for mid range jumpers.

    Lee will get a lot of transition buckets, but the offense seems to have him operating pretty far from the basket in the halfcourt set. That would seem to limit his offensive rebounding opportunities and also his ability to move without the ball.

    We shall see, but I think I am going to hedge my enormous concentrated bet on David Lee right now… ;-)

    Having said that, I now have him on both my fantasy teams, somebody wanted Rudy Fernandez, who was I to say no. So I could definitely use a hedge at this point…

  11. Z-man

    I’ll go with 32 wins. Anything less will be very tough to take as a fan, even if they play well in defeat most of the time. Anything more will be a bonus.

    We should revisit these predictions in 2 weeks.

  12. Z-man

    “David Lee will do very well, average 16 and 10 but TS% will not reach 60 as he takes more shots from the outside and more and more teams key on him.”
    Some good comments up there.
    As much as I hate to say it, and as much as I don’t believe in systems, I think I agree with the above I think I see Lee’s ts% declining a fair bit. In every preseason game, D’Antoni has Lee operating out of the high post, initiating the offense, and spotting up for mid range jumpers.
    Lee will get a lot of transition buckets, but the offense seems to have him operating pretty far from the basket in the halfcourt set. That would seem to limit his offensive rebounding opportunities and also his ability to move without the ball.
    P>

    He may make up for this in per minute stats because of up tempo pace (more scoring/rebounding opportunities) and his innate ability to get into position quickly before defense gets set. I think his TS% will go down a bit, but his overall stats will stay the same or go up.

  13. Italian Stallion

    I think Lee’s per game stats are going to rise a bit due to pace and taking more shots, but his TS% is almost sure to fall assuming many of those incremental shots are coming from the outside. After a initial burst of extreme optimism about how much he may have improved that part of his game in the off season, I think a more realistic expectation is that he improved, but his outside shot is still not what I would call a weapon. It’s more like he’s now competent enough to draw defenders out 15 feet or mroe and keep them honest. That will make it easier on his teamates. So even though his efficiency and TS% may decline a bit, I expect him to be a better all around player this year.

  14. TDM

    Put me down for 40 wins.

    Trade Curry to GS for Al Harrington – one year less on his deal and a better fit (no pun) for Mike D’s system.

  15. scogg25

    Al Harrington would be a good fit…any fast athletic big man would be an improvement, because I don’t think Zach Randolph could exactly play the part of Amare. It’s going to be different…but yeah we need to move Curry because of all the players on the Knicks he is the least likely to fit into a jersey let alone the system…well…tie between him and Jerome James.

  16. Nick

    My biggest hope for the season: Randolph is hot out of the gate and Cleveland sputters a bit, leading to a Randolph for Wally trade (or even better, a Randolph and Crawford for Wally and Eric Snow trade — I’d even throw in Nate) that leaves us under the cap even after Lee is extended. Too good to be true, I know, but a boy can dream if he has access to trade machine…

  17. Erich

    Owen, Thanks for the recognition.
    The Pelton Wins Produced projection basically took Kevin Pelton’s individual player statistics and applied them to a Wins Produced model for assessment, rather than Kevin’s standard WARP model. I created the WP version and will compare results to the WARP version at the end of the year for insights.
    The 39 win projection was somewhat a fluke, as the model kicked out 1295 total wins rather than 1230. A subsequent correction brings the Knicks total Pelton WP to 36.5, though, as I note in the comments at the Wages of Wins journal, this is likely high due to Pelton’s pace adjustments.

  18. TDM

    Gallo and Shaun Livingston both got playing time in the first quarter tonight. Crazy. JCraw seems to have gotten his confidence back.

  19. Artie

    Good to see Chandler, Dalinari and Nate on the court early with Curry taking a seat. Hopefully this speaks volume about who’ll get minutes. Even Mardy ahead of Steph.

  20. Captain Merlin

    Although Gallo missed both his first quarter shots–i’ll attribute those to nerves–I still liked the way he played. When on defense he had a lot of good flailing energy and actually showed a commitment to manning up and playing tough on the man he was guarding (Livingston). That’s refreshing.

  21. BigBlueAL

    So, we wont waive Marbury so he stays on the team and be the 11th man????? Yet Malik Rose gets playing time????

  22. Italian Stallion

    Playing Collins over Marbury is a little puzzling. I’m not a Marbury fan, but he played fairly well pre season and has been behaving himself. I don’t understand this unless something happened that we don’t know about. Collins is improved, but Marbury is still the MUCH better all around player. What really makes me laugh is that we are playing two players (Qrich and Rose) that I’m not even sure still belong in the NBA based on last year and what I saw in pre season. LOL

  23. T-Mart

    LEAGUE PASS IS DOING A FREE PREVIEW TONIGHT FOR THE GAME SICKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK

    (I DO NOT WORK FOR NBA LEAGUE PASS) LOL

  24. BigBlueAL

    Great 1st half, especially impressed with the defensive effort.

    BUT still, I dont understand not playing Marbury. If they have no plans on playing him at all, which is fine by me, CUT him!!!! There is NO point in keeping him as your 11th man. Sooner or later he will become a distraction, and rightfully so. If they dont want him, just cut him already.

    They shouldve just kept PE Jr and cut Marbury with no problems. Watch, hopefully they hold on and have a real nice opening night win yet afterward all the talk will be about Marbury not playing.

    Just cut him already and lets move on….

  25. BigBlueAL

    Ill say one thing, no matter the outcome of the games this season, its gonna be fun to watch….

  26. UK Knick

    Yay! League Pass now available in international broadband only version. OK, so it’s 1.20 in the morning here but who cares when we’re looking this good. 21 points!

    Million dollar question: can we keep it together down the stretch?

  27. Brian Cronin

    Wow, this is fun to watch.

    I think Rose is only in this role until Jeffries gets healthy, so I can’t complain too much.

  28. caleb

    I am officially pissed (since yesterday). That’s when I discovered that Dish Network and League Pass are at loggerheads, over a new contract – so, no LeaguePass for me. Hopefully they will get their ^%@&^*FC@*!@ straightened out, asap. Otherwise, I will have to rely on the ESPN gamecast. Yikes.

  29. Italian Stallion

    Omigod, Collins, you suck so much!

    LOL. He looks a little lost out there tonight, but he was OK defensively. He deserves minutes, but not at Marbury’s expense.
    Something must have happened with Marbury that we don’t know about because this doesn’t make any sense at all.

  30. Brian Cronin

    It’s easier to drive to the basket when you’re allowed to jump up and down with the ball like Wade was.

  31. Brian Cronin

    Yeah, IS, while you were writing your comment I was editing mine to note that he was fine on defense.

  32. Brian Cronin

    Could they just give Lee an extension please?

    15 points, 10 boards (3 offensive) and 5 assists?

    With over 6 minutes left in the game?

    Come on now!

  33. David Crockett

    I’m back and forth with the World Series–God, I hate the Phillies but want them to win. I love this whole sharing the basketball thing the Knicks are doing.

  34. Italian Stallion

    Yes! This is why I drafted Wilson Chandler!

    Chandler could be the best player on the team by the end of the season if he stays healthy. Seriously, he’s going to do a lot of stupid things for awhile because he’s still so young, but he’s OBVIOUSLY very talented and athletic. It’s very encouraging to see him pick up where he left off pre-season.

    Q Rich had an excellent game too though. If he can sustain a decent level of performance over time (which I personally doubt), it will certainly help our cause.

  35. Italian Stallion

    This is pathetic. I can’t believe they let Miami back into this game. No killer instict at all.

  36. caleb

    I know he’s hitting his shots, but is anyone else alarmed that Chandler has picked up where he left off — jacking up 14 shots in 20 minutes? By far the highest rate on the team? Does anything think he’ll shoot 57% from the floor this year?

    I like a lot of things about his game, but I don’t think his mental approach will ever change, and that’s a problem – he obviously has a mindset to shoot as much as humanly possible.

  37. Brian Cronin

    I love the look on D’Antoni’s face when Nate made the shot – it wasn’t even happiness, just “whatever, let’s just win this.”

  38. Italian Stallion

    I know he’s hitting his shots, but is anyone else alarmed that Chandler has picked up where he left off — jacking up 14 shots in 20 minutes? By far the highest rate on the team? Does anything think he’ll shoot 57% from the floor this year?
    I like a lot of things about his game, but I don’t think his mental approach will ever change, and that’s a problem – he obviously has a mindset to shoot as much as humanly possible.

    I think you should worry about whether he is taking bad shots and not how many shots he’s taking. He’s very athletic. That leads to more shot opportunities here or there because he’s creating some for himself with his moves. I agree in the sense that occasionally he’s still making poor decisions here or there. That’s what I mean when I say he’s going to continue doing stupid things because he’s young. I’m not worried about that much yet though. If he’s still taking too many poor shots in two years, then we have a problem.

  39. T-Mart

    Damn, did anyone just watch Nate turn on the after-burners and run past Chalmers when Chalmers was on the fastbreak????? At Mach 5???? It reminded me of the scene in spaceballs when they put the deathstar on ludicrous speed, and go past loanstar.

    It worked sir we have the combination! 1 2 3 4 5

  40. UK Knick

    (That is, my “Million dollar question: can we keep it together down the stretch?” comment earlier.)

    Holy cow. By 5 when it should have been 30+. This could be a long, fun, rollercoaster of a season…

  41. Italian Stallion

    I love the look on D’Antoni’s face when Nate made the shot – it wasn’t even happiness, just “whatever, let’s just win this.”

    This was a pretty disgusting finish. If I was the coach I’d be going insane. This is the kind of thing that seperates evenly matched teams over the course of the year. A team has to learn how to finish and win. Winning is partly mental and this was very bad sign in that area. Thank God they didn’t blow it, but against a better opponent they would have been toast.

  42. daaarn

    (That is, my “Million dollar question: can we keep it together down the stretch?” comment earlier.)
    Holy cow. By 5 when it should have been 30+. This could be a long, fun, rollercoaster of a season…

    Tell me about it. Yeesh, this season’s really gonna mess w/ my emotions. Anyone else having an irrational hatred of Daequan Cook right now, or is it just me?

  43. cwod

    How did Jamal miss 2 out of 3 free throws…that could have been the loss.

    It’s because he’s so “clutch.” He isn’t afraid to have the ball in his hands at the end of a close game.

  44. JK47

    My favorite stat of the night:

    Minutes
    David Lee 35
    Eddy Curry 0

    Least favorite stat:
    Blocked Shots
    New York Knicks 0

  45. Z-man

    I thought Zach had a tremendous game, as did Lee.

    For one game at least, we weren’t overmatched in the paint. Philly might bring us back down to Earth on Friday.

    Just like preseason, much easier on the eyes, even with the blown lead.

    What’s up with Steph?

  46. Gorky

    I love how totally crazy D’Antoni went after the Heat pulled within 10. It didn’t really help, but he was going nuts with rage.

  47. Thomas B.

    I am already on record for 40 wins. 1 down, 39 to go.

    I am not at all excited by this game because I am already on record as believing Miami will not win more than 35 games. Even with a healthy Wade, the team has no interior defense, or scoring. Their bench is a non factor, and they rely heavily on three rookies-Chalmer, Beasely, and Spolestra. I dont know of a team coming off a 15 win season that could add 20 wins when they rely on two rookies in the starting unit, have no post options, no bench, and a 35 year old rookie coach. I never understood the Kool-Aid drinkers that saw Miami as a 40+ team. Miami looked just as bad as last season’s team. And they call me crazy?

    The Knicks are better than Miami so they should have won this game. Philly will not allow the Knicks to get away with some of the mess they pulled tonight.

  48. Ben R

    I predict 36 wins. I think the Knicks have so much talent in players 4-12 that we can somewhat hide the fact that we have poor players at numbers 1-3 because of the pace we play. If we keep running and sharing the ball we will be in alot of games.

    I do not understand why Steph did not play. He shot a TS% of over 66% in the preseason and he is at least good enough to play spot minutes. He will not sit out very long before there are problems. He seems to really be trying to behave but he will not sit out quietly for very long. I am really glad Collins played some because he is quite good defensively and I am curious if he calms down and plays solid ball offensively or if this preseason was a fluke for him.

    Richardson played very well but I am really worried he is still the starter. I am also bummed Rose is still playing but he did not play in the second half and I do not see him playing once Jeffries comes back, Danillo gets acclemated and Curry gets in better shape so that is not so bad.

  49. TDM

    Chalmers looked very solid tonight. 17 points, 7 boards, 8 assists, 1 turnover. Wish the Knicks could have traded down to grab him and another prospect. In time, Gallo may pan out, but it looks like Miami may have gotten a steal.

  50. Thomas B.

    Chalmers looked very solid tonight. 17 points, 7 boards, 8 assists, 1 turnover. Wish the Knicks could have traded down to grab him and another prospect. In time, Gallo may pan out, but it looks like Miami may have gotten a steal.

    Chalmers did look good, against the Knicks. Just as the Knicks looked good against a weaker team-Miami. The Knicks played no defense, and only won by virute of the fact that Miami played even less defense and has even fewer offensive options.

    I cant argue with the assist per turnover ratio Chalmers put up, except to say that it is a product of a team that does not defend passing lanes well, rotates slowly, and has no interior defensive ability.

    But I am happy because if the playoff were to start today, the Knicks would be in baby!

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