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Saturday, December 20, 2014

Quickie Postmortem & Thoughts on Coach Woodson

Congrats to the Pacers.

They were better on both ends. You just have to tip your cap. This series was mostly about what they did right, even if the Knicks didn’t do everything they needed to win. Good luck to the Pacers in the ECF. It’s hard to bet against the Heat though. Indiana will need to keep turnovers down to have any chance against a much better, more aggressive Miami defense. (Remember, they didn’t really shoot that well versus New York and they gave away a ton of possessions.) Hibbert must play even better defense. His reverse posterizing of Melo will not soon be forgotten though–wow. Still, he won’t be able to just hang out by the restricted area with Bosh and Haslem on the floor. Unlike New York, Miami’s big frontcourt with Haslem and Bosh puts more mid-range shooting on the floor. Drawing Hibbert even a half-step further from the paint could be the difference in the series. It won’t matter how “vertical” he is if he’s late. Still, Indiana can pose a credible threat to the Heat if they catch some breaks. If Wade pulls a Tyson Chandler and plays at what looks like 80% it could make things interesting.

But anyway, this post is about the Knicks, and specifically coach Woodson.

Woodson was legitimately terrible against Indiana. He did not bring wood. He took wood like Vogel’s pledge. Vogel ruthlessly paddled Woodson like he was on line, exploiting his sudden–and odd–conversion to fundamentalist truisms (“play your best rebounders”, “only play eight guys”, and “always have a  ‘savvy’ veteran on the floor for leadership and ‘intangibles'”). Woodon seemingly had the Midas touch all season, and the temerity to dismiss some conventions for results. Then, suddenly, he just lost it.

I was whining to a friend and fellow Knicks fan after game 4 that Woodson isn’t innovative. He merely had innovative lineups forced on him because of the team’s injury situation. My friend dutifully pointed out, it’s never so simple as that. Necessity is the mother of invention yet many inventions are never born. Their births are not to be taken for granted. Woody’s been pretty good about putting guys on the floor in roles that accentuate their strengths. That’s not true of every coach. So, I will only speak for myself here, and resolve to be less dismissive. Over an 82 game season and a first round series Woody made pretty good choices under trying circumstances. There are always bad choices available, and the good ones aren’t nearly so obvious as we like to imagine (especially once we concede that good choices don’t always work out and sometimes bad ones do).

Some on the twitterverse are calling for Woody’s dismissal, and not without some justification. In fact last night I was right there in full-throated howl. After a night of less-than-spectacular sleep, I am re-thinking my howl. Three pretty obvious reasons:

1. Room for growth — As Bob noted in his post-game, Woodson made adjustments. Too late for them to matter (as if to troll us), but he did, in fact, make them, or at least he made some. As much as anything, that’s a tell-tale sign of a coach with the capacity to improve. Woody threw away a lot of unproductive minutes on Jason Kidd and JR Smith. He rode with his guys. But, “riding their guys” is the most common coaching flaw in the league. It almost certainly comes with any coach you get, unless it’s Larry Brown. Then you get schizophrenia  The best you can usually get is when the guys a coach is riding aren’t completely worthless. Next season those guys are more likely to be Shump and Copeland. That thought leaves me hopeful.

2. James Dolan — New York’s front office has done a pretty credible job of roster construction, all things considered. But a new coaching hire is ultimately going to be Dolan’s call. Who trusts Dolan with a non-Phil Jackson hire? Who really wants to be inundated with a dozen Isola columns about how Isiah Thomas is coming back to coach the Knicks? Who among us would dare tempt the basketball gods this way? (They are clearly of the crazy Old Testament variety.)

3. Switching costs are a bear — Even if Dolan gave the GM “full creative control” how confident are we that a clear and significant coaching upgrade is available? That’s an important question, because a marginal upgrade that comes with substantial switching costs (e.g., new roles, new defensive rotations, etc.) is not that attractive to me.

This should hardly be construed as a ringing endorsement for Woodson. Guys have been fired for less. Whether he deserves to be fired is never the most relevant question though. Almost every coach does at some point. The most relevant question is always can the Knicks find a large enough upgrade to justify the all the costs that come with transition?

 

100 comments on “Quickie Postmortem & Thoughts on Coach Woodson

  1. Owen

    Not sure that block will be forgotten soon. Photo in the Times is pretty amazing. I say we keep Woodson. Can’t deal with a summer of discussing who our new coach should be. And if it isn’t Jackson or Thibodeau who cares…

  2. Count de Pennies

    “Who trusts Dolan with a non-Phil Jackson hire? Who really wants to be inundated with a dozen Isola columns about how Isiah Thomas is coming back to coach the Knicks?”

    Exactly.

    And whoever that new coach might be won’t be here more than half a season before the fans start calling for his head.

    Many of the same folks who were loudly clamoring for D’Antoni’s dismissal are now lobbying for Woodson’s removal. Which is not to say there are not better coaches out there. But most of those guys will almost certainly demand a level of autonomy that the owner is unlikely to cede.

    Woodson is a coach whose ceiling may be an annual second round playoff exit. But, to be fair, that’s pretty much the ceiling of the talent level of the teams he’s been hired to coach. I doubt a more imaginative coach would have gone much farther with the Joe Johnson Hawks and this aging, offensively-challenged edition of the Knicks.

    That said, I very much enjoyed this season as a whole, even in spite of its disappointing ending. Which admittedly says a whole lot more about my grotesquely diminished expectations as a longtime Knicks fan than the actual performance of the players and coach. I was grateful for the chance to see my favorite team play as many as twelve post-season games. Sure, I would have liked it to have been more. But this was easily the most fun I’ve had as a Knicks fan in a decade. No doubt this team, this owner will always give me plenty of opportunities for complaint. This season was not one of them.

  3. tastycakes

    With a healthy Chandler and a not-horrible JR, it’s a very winnable series. But the Pacers (and the Bulls) were the worst possible matchups for this team, which repeatedly struggled with big, physical teams, and compounded the problem with a startling lack of poise and emotional volatility.

    Blaming Woodson (whose overall record in New York is exemplary) or some ref conspiracy (because definitely the league office wanted Miami playing the ugliest small market team left in the playoffs) is silliness. The game is played on the floor. Woodson in particular was dealt a difficult hand, with injuries to his best two players, a total mental collapse by his #3 guy, and the premature return of a $100M bench player. The Pacers, to give some credit, were also very good at disrupting the Knicks game plan (they play a horrifyingly awful brand of basketball IMHO, and it was distressing to see an often-gorgeous Knick offense sputtering so badly)

    The year was a big step forward, hopefully next year can continue that trend. Getting to the ECF with the Derrick Rose-led Bulls and Pacers out there is not going to be easy, though.

    I like that the Knicks play with fire and desire — I despise Hibbert/Duncanesque stoicism in hoops — but I don’t know how you solve the problem of them getting so easily unhinged. Kidd seemed like the emotional mooring for much of the season, but his disappearance in the playoffs was startling. Such an interesting player, when he was on he had such a tangible effect on the team’s attitude and focus, when he was off it seemed to have a similar ripple effect down the bench.

    Best year in ages, wish it wasn’t over.

  4. tastycakes

    Oh and one last comment on the positive side — at least we got one entertaining game in the series last night. That was some godawful basketball prior (I enjoyed Game 2 for obvious reasons but it wasn’t a good basketball game).

  5. Hubert

    “Next season those guys are more likely to be Shumpert and Copeland.”

    What makes you guess this? There is literally zero evidence to suggest it’s possible, let alone likely.

    This only happens if Kidd retires & JR doesn’t re-sign.

  6. Brian Cronin

    Not to mention the fact that if another team signs Cope to an offer sheet of $3,000,001 a season, the Knicks would be unable to match it.

  7. yellowboy90

    Brian Cronin:
    Not to mention the fact that if another team signs Cope to an offer sheet of $3,000,001 a season, the Knicks would be unable to match it.

    True but I doubt he would jump if it is real close. Well that’s my hope. Get the knicks to find him a Belgium waffles endorsement deal to make the difference.

  8. Brian Cronin

    True but I doubt he would jump if it is real close. Well that’s my hope. Get the knicks to find him a Belgium waffles endorsement deal to make the difference.

    I think the key is to be aggressive about re-signing him. Offer him the full mini-MLE as soon as midnight hits, don’t let other teams get to him.

  9. mr.JayP

    Having a second unit of stat,jr. Cope, maybe even prigs. Gets me a lil excited.

    But to comment on the coaching aspect. I’ve been highly critical of woody. IMO he just has a “newer” version of his Atl hawks. This was his best chance of getting to the ECF and having an opportunity to give Mia a punch or two. If either of the Van Gundy brothers are available, I would much rather have them then woody. People are commenting on his “adjustments” being too late in this series. He should have made these adjustments waaaaayyyy sooner in our regular season. His favoritism for only playing “Veterans” hurt him and our chances.

    Because we can’t predict injuries, it looks like on paper the Eastern conference should improve a bit. Meaning we def. need to be active this offseason and improve. But woody needs to watch more tapes and learn how other coaches have the abilities to use their role players/specialist more effectively, IMO that’s where he lacks the most.

  10. Brian Cronin

    I can’t even recall the last time that a Knick team made changes during the postseason that the other team needed to adjust to. Most likely JVG.

    There is no way either Van Gundy brother will ever coach under Dolan. Beyond them hating him, Dolan doesn’t want coaches who don’t give him the respect he feels he deserves. He’s not going to bring in name guys who are bigger than him like the Van Gundys, Jax or even Jerry Sloan.

    So if it Woody or someone on Woody’s level, then they might as well stick with Woody. Almost any other organization in the Knicks’ shoes, though, would have fired Woody by now (whether they’d be right to do so is another question).

  11. tastycakes

    Almost any other organization in the Knicks’ shoes, though, would have fired Woody by now

    Based on what exactly? Going 72-34 in a season and a half and getting to Game 6 in the 2nd Round? Yeah, that’s some fireable shit right there.

  12. yellowboy90

    MY silly GM plain/ Angry at Tyson’s play and comments plan.

    Three team trade involving NY, Portland, and L.A.

    L.A. Gets Tyson who they can pair up with Blake and Paul. Coaches still love Tyson(1st team D) and he can stay on the floor late because of his FT shooting.

    Blazers get DeAndre Jordan since they want and defensive center. He is young and may improve. He will also be paired with a more well rounded PF.

    NY gets Bledsoe, Meyers Leonard, trade exception, and the blazers #11 pick.

    Crazy maybe but I think Leonard has Vucevic improvement potential. Also, if he doesn’t you could always draft a center with the 11 pick. Also, if I understand the apron correctly this would put the Knicks under the Tax which opens up S&Ts and gives the Knicks the full MlE. I could be wrong. However if it does all those things the knicks could work a nice S&T with maybe Millsap.

    Novak or Camby and the non guarantees can still get the knicks a player if a team wants to dump salary. Imho.

    It silly and I will probably go back to liking Tyson and realize that LA would not give up Bledsoe and DeAndre for Tyson alone.

  13. jon abbey

    I love Bledsoe, he would instantly be the best young NY PG since Rod Strickland, and that was a loooooong time ago.

  14. Zanzibar

    Here’s one of the more interesting and potentially useful stats I’ve recently encountered:

    “When he’s (JR Smith) hit two or more of his first four shots, he’s gone on to shoot 46.1% of his looks and 38.7% of his threes—up from 34% and 30%, respectively when he starts off colder, according to Stats LLC. The Knicks have gone 34-12 this year when Smith hit two or more of his first four attempts, including 2-0 this series. New York is 25-19 when he begins colder than that.”

    I always regarded the conventional wisdom to be that a shooter like JR could turn it around within a game, but this stat seems to indicate that is not the case (with JR at least). More info would be needed (e.g, prior years, # of first 4 which are outside shots) but it seems to me the analytics dept of a team would arm a coach with this information. If the data were borne out, would it not make sense for Woodson to bench JR for the remainder of a game if he’s off to one of those starts and spread his minutes among other players, notably Copeland? Was this a missed opportunity to apply stats – and one which might have changed the series result?

  15. Brian Cronin

    Based on what exactly? Going 72-34 in a season and a half and getting to Game 6 in the 2nd Round? Yeah, that’s some fireable shit right there.

    Every season he was in Atlanta he won more games than he had the previous season and they still fired him. Coaches who don’t get past the second round get fired, especially in big markets. Mike Brown won 60% of his games as the Lakers coach and was fired five games into his second season. Fair or not fair, that’s what happens. Except here, where Dolan values loyalty to him over everything else.

  16. yellowboy90

    jon abbey:
    I love Bledsoe, he would instantly be the best young NY PG since Rod Strickland, and that was a loooooong time ago.

    I am not sure he can run a team but he would be a nice get especially if they could keep Felton. I think he would probably at the worst be a more athletic version of Raymond with better range.

  17. Brian Cronin

    It silly and I will probably go back to liking Tyson and realize that LA would not give up Bledsoe and DeAndre for Tyson alone.

    Yep, they would not do that deal. The only team you’re going to trade Chandler to is one that doesn’t currently have a decent center. Otherwise, like there, the Clippers are going to trade Eric Bledsoe to slightly upgrade at center? Why would they ever do that?

  18. Zanzibar

    Brian Cronin: Yep, they would not do that deal. The only team you’re going to trade Chandler to is one that doesn’t currently have a decent center. Otherwise, like there, the Clippers are going to trade Eric Bledsoe to slightly upgrade at center? Why would they ever do that?

    The Clips were ready to trade Bledsoe and Jordan to the Celtics for Garnett at the trade deadline. Since Jordan is a terrible FT shooter, they cannot play him in the 4th quarter. Also, Garnett would space the floor to open driving lanes for Paul. If Clips believe Tyson’s poor performance was due to injury, they might pull the trigger on that deal.

  19. Hubert

    I’m as disappointed in Woodson as anyone. But he isn’t going to be fired. And I’m not dismayed about that, either.

    The problems with Woodson aren’t unfixable. The problem is we lack an organizational structure to review the problems and fix them.

  20. Brian Cronin

    The Clips were ready to trade Bledsoe and Jordan to the Celtics for Garnett at the trade deadline. Since Jordan is a terrible FT shooter, they cannot play him in the 4th quarter. Also, Garnett would space the floor to open driving lanes for Paul. If Clips believe Tyson’s poor performance was due to injury, they might pull the trigger on that deal.

    The Clippers are the ones who squelched that deal, likely because they didn’t want to include Bledsoe in the deal just for KG.

    But even if they had, KG and Chandler are much different players, so wanting to deal for one is different from dealing for the other.

  21. yellowboy90

    Brian Cronin: Yep, they would not do that deal. The only team you’re going to trade Chandler to is one that doesn’t currently have a decent center. Otherwise, like there, the Clippers are going to trade Eric Bledsoe to slightly upgrade at center? Why would they ever do that?

    The only saving grace in my mind would be to placate Paul. Besides Tyson can go there and ” change the culture” of the team with his leadership.

  22. DCrockett17 Post author

    Hubert:
    “Next season those guys are more likely to be Shumpert and Copeland.”

    What makes you guess this? There is literally zero evidence to suggest it’s possible, let alone likely.

    This only happens if Kidd retires & JR doesn’t re-sign.

    1. It’s as plain as the nose on your face that if Kidd comes back–a sizable “if”–he has to be on uber-restricted minutes. Somebody else is pretty much already penciled in for the lion’s share of Kidd’s minutes.

    2. JR is a different story. He’s clearly Woody’s blind spot. I’m not convinced that Grunwald re-signs him. Even if it’s the most likely outcome, I don’t assign it high probability. I’m oddly confident Grunwald won’t overvalue him. Remember, Woody has limited say in personnel.

    The Knicks don’t need to get someone to fill JR’s role. They’d just redistribute minutes to Shump, and would then need to get more wing depth. The woods are full of those guys.

    3. The Copeland experiment generally worked in the regular season and then in the playoffs. Cope didn’t embarrass himself on D, which was Woody’s fear. Some of Martin’s minutes will go there.

  23. DCrockett17 Post author

    Brian Cronin: I think the key is to be aggressive about re-signing him. Offer him the full mini-MLE as soon as midnight hits, don’t let other teams get to him.

    Exactly. I also think, though, that we may be falling into the trap of over-valuing our own talent. I *adore* Cope, but he can’t play on every team. He wouldn’t see the light of day in Indy.

    With him it’s a question of: a) who values his skillset, b) that has an opening, c) at the right price? All 3 have to come together for him to be swept off his feet.

  24. yellowboy90

    Another option in my proposal would be to swaps first round picks with the Clips giving them the #11 pick and Tyson and the Knicks’ receive the # 25 pick.

    I myself would look at two of

    Shane Larkin, Eric Green, Reggie Bullock, and Allen Crabbe.

  25. Zanzibar

    I believe the exact reasons why the deal did not go through are still kind of murky. But since the Clips were eliminated by a team with a strong interior presence, they might be even more motivated to deal for a strong center who they can put on the floor in the 4th quarter. Ultimately, if Paul wants Chandler, they would make the trade. He wouldn’t be able to run pick-and-pos with Chandler like Garnett but he can run PnRs and would benefit more generally from the many screens Tyson would set for him. The Clips might believe that Chandler would be a key piece for them just like he was for the Mavs, especially since Paul is in win now mode.

  26. Brian Cronin

    Exactly. I also think, though, that we may be falling into the trap of over-valuing our own talent. I *adore* Cope, but he can’t play on every team. He wouldn’t see the light of day in Indy.

    With him it’s a question of: a) who values his skillset, b) that has an opening, c) at the right price? All 3 have to come together for him to be swept off his feet.

    The NBA always overvalues scoring and that’s the one thing Cope does really well.

    Ryan Anderson is definitely better than Cope, but if Cope even got half the money that Anderson got, then that’d be more than what the Knicks could match. Heck, if he signed for just the money Novak got, that’d be more than what the Knicks could match.

  27. DCrockett17 Post author

    Brian Cronin: Every season he was in Atlanta he won more games than he had the previous season and they still fired him. Coaches who don’t get past the second round get fired, especially in big markets. Mike Brown won 60% of his games as the Lakers coach and was fired five games into his second season. Fair or not fair, that’s what happens. Except here, where Dolan values loyalty to him over everything else.

    The ATL thing is instructive. They appear to be moving on from Larry Drew too. Is there a plan? The Lakers? LA is becoming what the Knicks used to be, where it’s all palace intrigue and not about basketball.

    While we weren’t looking the Knicks kinda turned into a halfway stable middle-class franchise. Not enough to win a ring with this core, but they performed about to their (healthy) talent level. The Knicks have generally avoided franchise-crippling stupidity in the Walsh-Grunwald era.

    As a fan you should *expect* that. We didn’t get that for more than a decade. As disappointed as I am that we aren’t advancing, we don’t have a birthright to anything more.

  28. yoda4554

    Hi everyone. I’ve mostly stayed off the board this year, because a bunch of you have made it rather unpleasant and because, frankly, I’ve finally lost interest in rooting for the team given that I find the owner and most of the players extremely unpleasant. However, I think it might be useful for everyone to look at the following factual observations, then compare them to what preseason predictions we all made, so that the feeback might influence future analyses

    1. The Knicks won 54 games, their best result since 1997, and won their first division title since 1994, advancing five conference ranks since last year.
    2. They did so largely on the basis of a much-improved, 3rd-ranked offense. Their offense was as good as it was almost solely on the basis of leading the league in fewest turnovers, largely thanks to the team’s primary ballhandlers (Anthony, Smith, Felton) being good at not making many dangerous passes, even though they were not high-percentage shooters, while the team’s lower-usage players (Chandler, Stoudemire, Novak, Copeland, Prigioni) tended to shoot at high percentages, especially on three-pointers.
    3. However, their defense significantly regressed from last season, to 18th. There are several things to which this might be attributed, but the main one is that players tend not to repeat career years (e.g., Chandler) and many of the team’s other key players (e.g., Anthony, Stoudemire) are not good defenders. The problems were particularly notable on perimeter coverage, as the team was near the bottom of the league in three-pointers allowed.
    4. Four of the teams the Knicks leapfrogged in the East lost ground at least as much due to the absence of key players from last year (Chicago, Orlando, Atlanta) or aging (Boston) as to any improvement in the Knicks’ play.
    5. The Eastern conference posted a cumulative 47% win percentage this year; the West posted a 53% percentage.

  29. yoda4554

    6. Carmelo Anthony’s TS% this season was 56%. As with every other year since his first, this is within 2% of his slightly-above-average career mark of 54.5%; there seems to be little correlation between his usage and efficiency.
    7. The Knick offense was 5.7 p/100 better with Anthony on the floor; the defense was 2.5 p/100 worse.
    8. Carmelo Anthony’s playoff TS% was 49.7% on 38% usage. For his Knick career, it is 49.6% on 36.6% usage.
    9. J. R. Smith led the team in minutes played, and posted career-best numbers in rebounding, turnovers, and usage, even though his TS% was slightly-average. He also posted surprisingly strong defensive +/- numbers.
    10. J. R. Smith is also a huge, huge dumbass in every conceivable way. (I trust this needs no statistical corroboration.)
    11. Amare Stoudemire posted a 63.7% TS% this season, albeit in a small sample size that (like Anthony’s early-season 60+% TS) likely would’ve regressed; he was injured or ineffective for the playoffs.
    12. When was on the floor during the season, the Knick offense was .9 p/100 worse and the defense was 2 p/100 worse than with him off it.

  30. yoda4554

    13. Tyson Chandler was 8th in the NBA in RPG, just shy of 1st for offensive rebounds, and yet again led the league in TS%.
    14. The Knick defense was .2 p/100 worse when Chandler was on the court this season; the offense was 4 p/100 better.
    15. Chandler’s numbers dropped significantly in the playoffs, and opposing centers played well against the Knicks. Overall, however, his +/- numbers were not markedly different than the other key Knick players during the playoffs.
    16. Veterans Marcus Camby, Rasheed Wallace, and Kurt Thomas made negligible contributions to the team this year other than simply taking up roster spots.
    17. Veteran Jason Kidd played very well for many stretches of the regular season, but was terrible in the playoffs.
    18. Veterans Pablo Prigioni and Kenyon Martin played well (especially on defense, by +/-), though only in small samples of playing time, which we might expect to regress over larger samples.

  31. yoda4554

    19. Iman Shumpert, by +/-, was easily the worst of the Knick regulars during the regular season. He was, however, quite arguably the best during the playoffs. Make of this what you will.
    20. Jeremy Lin was an average NBA point guard this season, though he was injured and ineffective in his team’s few playoff games. Raymond Felton was a slightly-below-average NBA point guard this season, though he played well in the first eight games of the playoffs before shooting 14-48 in the last four (total playoff TS%=49%).
    21. The Denver Nuggets went 57-25, winning three more games than they had at any point in Anthony’s tenure there. For the third straight year, they had a better regular season than the Knicks did.
    22. The Nuggets lost in 6 games in the playoffs to a team with the 11th best SRS, albeit one that is generally thought to have overperformed its regular season play in both rounds of the playoffs.
    23. The Knicks won their first round series in 6 games over the team with the 17th best SRS, then lost in 6 to the team with the 9th best.
    24. The Indiana Pacers posted essentially the same winning percentage this season as last season, despite the absence of their leading scorer, Danny Granger. Their offense declined, but much of that seems due to Roy Hibbert’s puzzling inability to hit a layup until the All-Star break.
    25. Mike D’Antoni went 40-32 as head coach of the Lakers (on pace to be 46-36). The team was very good offensively and below-average defensively; we could say more, but it’d take thousands of words to really address the Lakers’ season.
    26. No real stats to bring in on Woodson, but seriously, you all should look at the rollercoaster of attitudes you’ve had toward him, ranging from “Coach of the Year” to “why does he have a job?”

    Keep this all in mind when you’re tempted to make predictions about the future of the team.

  32. MSA

    We have another problem with Amare next year too.

    He will probably not accept spent the rest two years of his “prime” (it’s long gone but he doesn’t seem to think this way) in the bench.

    We will have to return to the “big” lineup of Melo, Amare and TC.

  33. Brian Cronin

    We have another problem with Amare next year too.

    He will probably not accept spent the rest two years of his “prime” (it’s long gone but he doesn’t seem to think this way) in the bench.

    We will have to return to the “big” lineup of Melo, Amare and TC.

    I don’t think Amar’e has much say in the matter, especially as he accepted it this season. Melo at the 4 is just too good to go away from.

  34. DCrockett17 Post author

    Owen:
    Will Leitch, recapping……

    http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2013/05/knicks-season-ends-in-indiana.html

    Kind of feel like he reads KB…

    It’s a great recap y’all. Thanks for posting. My one quibble is that I really don’t think Woody philosophically abandoned the way we played all year. I feel like he fell into the matchup trap, parroting Indiana rather than playing the way we played all year.

    Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised. All the pressure was in the direction of being more orthodox. Many preferred Woody’s pragmatism to D’Antoni’s supposed dogmatism from the start. Then, every win was dismissed with a wave. “Eh. They just got hot.” Meanwhile, every loss was a cautionary tale about shooting 3s. (“You’ll go blind if you keep doing that!”)

    One reason I’m trying to get out in front of the “fire Woody!” brigade is that we almost certainly would bring in a more orthodox coach. All of a sudden we’re right back to square 1 on Melo vs. STAT at the PF with a bunch of role players that don’t work.

  35. cgreene

    DCrockett17: 1. It’s as plain as the nose on your face that if Kidd comes back–a sizable “if”–he has to be on uber-restricted minutes. Somebody else is pretty much already penciled in for the lion’s share of Kidd’s minutes.

    2. JR is a different story. He’s clearly Woody’s blind spot. I’m not convinced that Grunwald re-signs him. Even if it’s the most likely outcome, I don’t assign it high probability. I’m oddly confident Grunwald won’t overvalue him. Remember, Woody has limited say in personnel.

    The Knicks don’t need to get someone to fill JR’s role. They’d just redistribute minutes to Shump, and would then need to get more wing depth. The woods are full of those guys.

    3. The Copeland experiment generally worked in the regular season and then in the playoffs. Cope didn’t embarrass himself on D, which was Woody’s fear. Some of Martin’s minutes will go there.

    Not sure where you get that Woody has limited input on personnel decisions. I thought he and GG were on fairly equal footing. I think JR is in the inner circle of loyalty at MSG. Next will offer him full mid level with the player out so he can renegotiate whether GG thinks that’s the right move or not. All conjecture. Hope I am wrong.

  36. nicos

    Brian Cronin: I don’t think Amar’e has much say in the matter, especially as he accepted it this season. Melo at the 4 is just too good to go away from.

    I do think this year was unusual for Amar’e in that they clearly knew he had debris in both knees- he said the doctors knew the left knee would blow up eventually but hoped he could get through the season by limiting his minutes. If he has no minute restriction, he still might be okay coming off of the bench but he won’t be happy about not finishing games. I’d also be happy if Melo’s minutes at the four were cut back a bit- he was pretty beaten up by season’s end and clearly there are teams where it’s a disadvantage and the Knicks need to have a effective big unit if they want to have a prayer of winning a championship. Also, having Melo at the four was one of the reasons the defense wasn’t great this year- very good post defender but really poor interior help defender.

  37. nicos

    And on Woodson- He actually did a great job with the offense this year. He kept D’A’s best sets and added a lot of creative screening action. If you think either Van Gundy would run a better offense I’d politely disagree. They’d help defensively but having a healthy Shump (and a healthier Chandler) all year should go a long way in fixing the defense (esp. if you have him playing more minutes at the two rather than seeing the bulk of his minutes at the three). Given that Woodson has a pretty good rapport with most guys on the team (or at least did until the playoffs) I’d say anything other than Sloan or Jackson would probably just be a lateral move.

  38. coyle022

    Starting lineup should be : Felton Shumpert Carmelo Amare Tyson

    Bench: Jkidd/Priggy Smalls Earl Pipe Copeland/Novak Kmart Camby

    Scrubs: Flight White Qrich?

    Mind boggling how Camby signs a 3 year deal and then vanishes. Esp. when we needed Interior D and rebounding.

    and the whole Amare/Melo at the 4 argument needs to be squashed. We brought Tyson in to anchor a defense which was supposed to be subpar because of Melo/Amare. So instead of playing him with the 2, we play him with either/or. My feeling is that Stoudemire is out to prove something this year, after working with Hakeem last summer, unfortunately the knees gave out this year, but whose to say that next year he cant bounce back at least marginally? Go to small ball at the right times, but perpetual small ball is not the answer. Carmelo is a good mis match at the 4 against certain teams, but specifically teams like IND MEM and CHI, he is a BAD power forward matchup. Throw Amare in there, the dude is a competitor and has earned the right to be part of the mix, injuries notwithstanding. Woodson really needs to decide whether he’s here to appease Dolan, JR, and Carmelo, or win a championship like he preached early in the year. Without a 1-2 punch, we cant do it. Obviously Earl Pipe is not a reliable #2. Solid athlete, good player, but as we saw this post-season, putting your eggs in the Carmelo-Father Pipe combo does not pay any dividends.

  39. Zanzibar

    Though it was the right trade at the time, it’s interesting to reflect on the Camby deal which included Josh Harrellson. How nice would it have been to be able to have had Jorts as an option: his 3FG% of 34% to space the floor and draw Hibbert out, his not-too-shabby 21.0 DRB% and his 275lb body to push Hibbert out of the paint on defense? Of course, Woodenson wouldn’t have given minutes under any circumstances to the guy ::sigh::

  40. nicos

    I’d be surprised if both Harrellson and Jerome Jordan weren’t given summer camp invites.

  41. ess-dog

    Brian Cronin: I don’t think Amar’e has much say in the matter, especially as he accepted it this season. Melo at the 4 is just too good to go away from.

    Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. If you don’t start one of your 18million dollar men, you’re not maximizing your investment.

    Personally, I think they can make a Melo/Stat/Chandler work, even if it’s just as easy as having Stat practice his jumper all offseason.

    I STILL think we could use a boost in the pg department, someone that can really run the break and dish to shump and amare or lob to a trailing chandler, but that’s not likely to happen.

    And I don’t think I can take another season of JR. Just give me Jamal Crawford.

  42. Hubert

    DCrockett17: 1. It’s as plain as the nose on your face that if Kidd comes back–a sizable “if”–he has to be on uber-restricted minutes. Somebody else is pretty much already penciled in for the lion’s share of Kidd’s minutes.

    2. JR is a different story. He’s clearly Woody’s blind spot. I’m not convinced that Grunwald re-signs him. Even if it’s the most likely outcome, I don’t assign it high probability. I’m oddly confident Grunwald won’t overvalue him. Remember, Woody has limited say in personnel.

    The Knicks don’t need to get someone to fill JR’s role. They’d just redistribute minutes to Shump, and would then need to get more wing depth. The woods are full of those guys.

    3. The Copeland experiment generally worked in the regular season and then in the playoffs. Cope didn’t embarrass himself on D, which was Woody’s fear. Some of Martin’s minutes will go there.

    So, you don’t have any reason to expect Shumpert & Copeland will be his guys next year. You’re just hoping, like all of us.

    I’m sorry, but these playoffs have shown us definitively that just because something is “plain as the nose on your face” does not mean that Woodson will respond accordingly.

    Some things that were plain as the nose of your face but did not create in Woodson the urge to act accordingly:

    – Prigioni should never have been benched.
    – Copeland should have played more minutes, including some at the 5.
    – Kidd shouldn’t have played 6 minutes in the 2Q.
    – Amar’e shouldn’t have been given meaningful minutes.
    – Shumpert shouldn’t have sat for half the 4Q.
    – JR shouldn’t be given the chance to sink us night after night.

  43. Hubert

    DCrockett17:

    One reason I’m trying to get out in front of the “fire Woody!” brigade is that we almost certainly would bring in a more orthodox coach. All of a sudden we’re right back to square 1 on Melo vs. STAT at the PF with a bunch of role players that don’t work.

    I think this is an excellent point.

    Overall I agree w your thesis, i.e. Despite his mistakes we’re still probably better off next season w coach Woodson than w Dolan hiring a new coach.

    I just lack your confidence that Woodson will be any better next year.

  44. PC

    Seems to only be 2 real ways to win a title (aside from a few random outliers):

    In the last 20 or so years, the teams that have won it all had either:

    (1) the single greatest player of the decade on your team (MJ or Lebron); or
    (2) a top-15 all-time big man to get easy points and draw doubles for wide open looks.

    The only random championships during that time period that did not have one of those, I think, were the Mavs and the Pistons.

    The Knicks don’t have either. I am depressed.

    I grew a serious hatred (I know it’s silly but I was so mad during the playoffs) with Chandler. I just never felt like there was any energy from him. On so many off rebounds, he just stood there and watched.

    We rely so much on Chandler it is unhealthy. The Mavs won with him as a 4th or 5th piece and an energy guy. He is basically our second most relied on player – and he is too easy to lock down when needed in the playoffs.

  45. ruruland

    DCrockett17:
    Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised. All the pressure was in the direction of being more orthodox. Many preferred Woody’s pragmatism to D’Antoni’s supposed dogmatism from the start. Then, every win was dismissed with a wave. “Eh. They just got hot.” Meanwhile, every loss was a cautionary tale about shooting 3s. (“You’ll go blind if you keep doing that!”)

    One reason I’m trying to get out in front of the “fire Woody!” brigade is that we almost certainly would bring in a more orthodox coach. All of a sudden we’re right back to square 1 on Melo vs. STAT at the PF with a bunch of role players that don’t work.

    The Knicks have the role players to make Amar’e/Melo work, should Prigs come back.

    The fascination with Melo at the 4 is puzzling to me. Power forwards don’t guard him unless they are somehow cross-matched in transition. Melo’s numbers don’t really improve at the 4.

    There was like a 3 week stretch last season where PF’s guarded Melo and his numbers were ridiculous, but that stopped before the playoffs, and he actually performed better at small forward this season.

    His playmaking at the 3 was superior to any1 else who played position.

    The spacing doesn’t improve much because last season power forwards guarded Jason Kidd, or James White, and then Shumpert, who needed a month to find his shot.

    The theoretical advantage to Melo at the 4 is the cross match on the small forward, which in theory improves the spacing over time as that player eventually forces respect.

    I think Shumpert showed he will develop into that player, but he still doesn’t compare to Amar’e offensively.

    I don’t think Woody is unorthodox or orthodox. I think his philosophy on lineups is basically standard thinking in today’s NBA.

    The teams that use small lineups, there are many, generally use them when they provide advantage…

  46. ruruland

    Hubert: So, you don’t have any reason to expect Shumpert & Copeland will be his guys next year.You’re just hoping, like all of us.

    I’m sorry, but these playoffs have shown us definitively that just because something is “plain as the nose on your face” does not mean that Woodson will respond accordingly.

    Some things that were plain as the nose of your face but did not create in Woodson the urge to act accordingly:

    – Prigioni should never have been benched.
    – Copeland should have played more minutes, including some at the 5.
    – Kidd shouldn’t have played 6 minutes in the 2Q.
    – Amar’e shouldn’t have been given meaningful minutes.
    – Shumpert shouldn’t have sat for half the 4Q.
    – JR shouldn’t be given the chance to sink us night after night.

    Woody does not adjust quickly, but he certainly made significant adjustments in the off-season.

    Some of the offensive tactics this year with double and triple high screens– that we saw glimpses of in the playoffs vs Miami– and some of the counters, were brilliant.

  47. Loathing

    Keep in mind, we’ll have 5 guys hitting FA come that time: JR, Cope, K-Mart, Barron n’ Prigs. It’s quite feasable that the only re-signable player here is Barron. Now the draft can fix one problem (ONLY one) but being over the tax line will put us in a big bind. The only thing I can see saving us….Kidd n’ Camby retiring.

    I can see Camby doing so…his plantar fasciatis seems to be unending. But Kidd needs to see that he just ran out of gas at the end of the season…if we offer him a coaching position within the team, would he go for it? If they both retire, that would put us under the tax line, and open up some more exceptions. Thoughts?

  48. d-mar

    Hubert: So, you don’t have any reason to expect Shumpert & Copeland will be his guys next year.You’re just hoping, like all of us.

    I’m sorry, but these playoffs have shown us definitively that just because something is “plain as the nose on your face” does not mean that Woodson will respond accordingly.

    Some things that were plain as the nose of your face but did not create in Woodson the urge to act accordingly:

    – Prigioni should never have been benched.
    – Copeland should have played more minutes, including some at the 5.
    – Kidd shouldn’t have played 6 minutes in the 2Q.
    – Amar’e shouldn’t have been given meaningful minutes.
    – Shumpert shouldn’t have sat for half the 4Q.
    – JR shouldn’t be given the chance to sink us night after night.

    You left off what I consider Woodson’s most egregious mistake – doubling Hibbert and West in the post in game 4 which resulted in wide open 3’s for Pacers role players. This made absolutely no sense and may have cost us the series.

  49. Mars

    Its sad to see our season end prematurely but I did had the most fun in a very long with the Knicks and im glad I found this blog before the season ive been an frequent reader and it had brought great insight into the game and entertainment I love the debates and next year I will participate in them more instead of just reading but thank you knickerbloggers and most importantly I wanna thank the New York Knicks

  50. Mars

    What ever happened to Barron ?

    Loathing:
    Keep in mind, we’ll have 5 guys hitting FA come that time: JR, Cope, K-Mart, Barron n’ Prigs. It’s quite feasable that the only re-signable player here is Barron. Now the draft can fix one problem (ONLY one) but being over the tax line will put us in a big bind. The only thing I can see saving us….Kidd n’ Camby retiring.

    I can see Camby doing so…his plantar fasciatis seems to be unending. But Kidd needs to see that he just ran out of gas at the end of the season…if we offer him a coaching position within the team, would he go for it? If they both retire, that would put us under the tax line, and open up some more exceptions. Thoughts?

  51. johnno

    d-mar: You left off what I consider Woodson’s most egregious mistake – doubling Hibbert and West in the post in game 4

    Right, because Chandler was having such an easy time guarding Hibbert one on one. If he didn’t double Hibbert and he scored 30 points, we’d all be screaming, “How could that idiot not double Hibbert?! Doesn’t he see that Chandler can’t guard him? The Pacers are lousy outside shooters!”

  52. d-mar

    johnno: Right, because Chandler was having such an easy time guarding Hibbert one on one.If he didn’t double Hibbert and he scored 30 points, we’d all be screaming, “How could that idiot not double Hibbert?!Doesn’t he see that Chandler can’t guard him?The Pacers are lousy outside shooters!”

    I certainly would not be screaming that. I’ll take 30 points from Hibbert over leaving shooters wide open any day. The Pacers aren’t great shooters, but they were so wide open they were bound to hit a bunch of 3’s, which they did.

    We didn’t double Hibbert yesterday and he got 21 points and they were 4-15 from 3 point range. So far, so good. Unfortunately, we gave Lance Stephenson wide open lanes to the basket and he had a career night. Go figure.

  53. bobneptune

    DCrockett17 wrote in part:

    “…..His reverse posterizing of Melo will not soon be forgotten though–wow. Still, he won’t be able to just hang out by the restricted area with Bosh and Haslem on the floor. Unlike New York, Miami’s big frontcourt with Haslem and Bosh puts more mid-range shooting on the floor. Drawing Hibbert even a half-step further from the paint could be the difference in the series. It won’t matter how “vertical” he is if he’s late.”

    This is precisely what ruru and all the whiners at the officiating didn’t get.

    Hibbert was able to camp out near the rim and not for an instant ever had to respect Chandler’s non-existent offensive game. He didn’t have to move laterally and rotate to the lane to defend the rim, he was able to stand under it waiting for the Knicks to penetrate off balance after trying to defeat Indiana’s plus perimeter defenders.

    This allowed Hibbert to go virtually straight up the majority of the time and the refs weren’t going to bail out an off balance player barreling into a stationary 7’2″ guy with a 7’6″ wingspan when he was ramming the ball down their throats. Sorry, ruru et al, but that what happens when you play offense 4 on 5.

    Vs Miami, excepting the ~ 13 minutes a game Birdman is on the floor, Hibbert will have to respect the shooting of the Heat’s bigs (even haslem shoots 41% from 16 out) and will have to rotate laterally back into the lane to protect the rim from LeBron and Wade and he will be in foul difficulty and ruru will take that as proof positive Melo doesn’t get the proper respect from the refs.

    Bookmarked!

    Also, just for the record for those that want a heavy dose of Copeland, the Defensive Rating of the final four teams:

    Memphis = #1, Indiana = #2 San Antonio = #3 Miami = #9

    Also, since 1995 every NBA Champion has had a defensive rating 9th or better (except the 2001 Kobe/ Shaq Lakers).

    Being 18th doesn’t generally get it done.

  54. jon abbey

    Chris Herring coming to the same conclusion I came to last summer when this team was being assembled:

    online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324102604578493583915138840.html

  55. jon abbey

    of course, I didn’t expect Chandler to be a zero-way player. I still feel like he is escaping his fair share of the criticism, especially after he was a big disappointment in last year’s playoffs too.

  56. maxwell_3g

    DCrockett17: Exactly. I also think, though, that we may be falling into the trap of over-valuing our own talent. I *adore* Cope, but he can’t play on every team. He wouldn’t see the light of day in Indy.

    With him it’s a question of: a) who values his skillset, b) that has an opening, c) at the right price? All 3 have to come together for him to be swept off his feet.

    +1000000. I also love cope, but lets not get carried away with him. he will be better scouted in the future, etc. remember, there was a time where many of us didn’t want to lose talent like shawne Williams and earl barron (the first time around) during offseasons. last year, we felt the need to pay novak to stay around. novak’s salary number sucks already. cope is the type of useful piece that people love, especially when the coach refuses to use him. there are players like this all over the league however

  57. bobneptune

    Mars:
    Its sad to see our season end prematurely…..

    The season didn’t end prematurely, it ended precisely when it should have.

    The Knicks rightfully earned the 2 seed ( partially due to Rose, Rondo and Granger being out the majority of the season) in the regular season and got the cupcake shell of the Celtics. They struggled mightily with the Rondo-less Celts.

    Vs Indiana who didn’t have to double Melo much since their players can actually play both ends of the floor, they got clobbered. Actually, the only positive thing Chandler did all series was elbow Hill in the mush allowing the Knicks not to lose in 5.

  58. johnno

    d-mar: We didn’t double Hibbert yesterday and he got 21 points and they were 4-15 from 3 point range. So far, so good.

    Well, actually, Hibbert went for 24 points, not 21, and he also had 12 rebounds. And Chandler and KMart both fouled out trying to guard him. That worked out well. Oh, and by the way, they hit 10 3 pointers last night, not 4.
    I love how everyone on this site thinks that he is smarter than Woodson. Face it — he has forgotten more about basketball than most of us will ever know. The Knicks did not lose because of Woodson. They lost because some of their players played lousy (and Chandler looks like he is still very hurt) and the refs certainly did not help matters much. Has any team ever won a playoff game in which the other team got 28 more foul shots than they did?

  59. d-mar

    johnno: Well, actually, Hibbert went for 24 points, not 21, and he also had 12 rebounds.And Chandler and KMart both fouled out trying to guard him.That worked out well.Oh, and by the way, they hit 10 3 pointers last night, not 4.
    I love how everyone on this site thinks that he is smarter than Woodson.Face it — he has forgotten more about basketball than most of us will ever know.The Knicks did not lose because of Woodson.They lost because some of their players played lousy (and Chandler looks like he is still very hurt) and the refs certainly did not help matters much.Has any team ever won a playoff game in which the other team got 28 more foul shots than they did?

    Think you’re looking at the wrong box score, check again. Hibbert had 21 points, Pacers hit 4-15 3 pointers

  60. johnno

    Sorry — I was looking at the wrong box score. Hibbert did score 21 last night and they did go 4-15 on 3 pointers. However, Chandler and Martin did foul out guarding Hibbert, so that didn’t work out well. In any event, I still think that Woodson is not why they lost.

  61. maxwell_3g

    Loathing:
    Keep in mind, we’ll have 5 guys hitting FA come that time: JR, Cope, K-Mart, Barron n’ Prigs. It’s quite feasable that the only re-signable player here is Barron. Now the draft can fix one problem (ONLY one) but being over the tax line will put us in a big bind. The only thing I can see saving us….Kidd n’ Camby retiring.

    I can see Camby doing so…his plantar fasciatis seems to be unending. But Kidd needs to see that he just ran out of gas at the end of the season…if we offer him a coaching position within the team, would he go for it? If they both retire, that would put us under the tax line, and open up some more exceptions. Thoughts?

    iwas thinking about this. if we offered kidd and “advanced scout” position for say, 3 mill a year for the next 2 years (if he would retire), do you think stern would notice?

  62. d-mar

    johnno:
    Sorry — I was looking at the wrong box score.Hibbert did score 21 last night and they did go 4-15 on 3 pointers.However, Chandler and Martin did foul out guarding Hibbert, so that didn’t work out well.In any event, I still think that Woodson is not why they lost.

    Fair enough, I’m not saying they would have beaten Indy with another coach necessarily, but that one move just pissed me off because it kind of came out of nowhere and really backfired. And not all of Chandler’s and Martin’s fouls came from guarding Hibbert, he got 12 FT’s total.

  63. maxwell_3g

    johnno:
    Sorry — I was looking at the wrong box score.Hibbert did score 21 last night and they did go 4-15 on 3 pointers.However, Chandler and Martin did foul out guarding Hibbert, so that didn’t work out well.In any event, I still think that Woodson is not why they lost.

    i’ll tell you what. if you see the Heat even think about doubling hibbert, then you may have a point. they wont even consider it as a regular strategy. notice how the Celtics covered melo one on one in the first round. good teams and good defenses know that doubling is plain stupid in this nba. hibbert shot like 43% for the season from the field. even if he got 30, I would be fine with it. remember, besides the open three and driving lanes, the doubling also leaves us scrambling and leads to offensive rebounds, where hibbert got most of his points anyways

  64. Spree8nyk8

    “Woodon seemingly had the Midas touch all season”

    what season was that? I thought Woodson was terrible all year and I felt like we won despite him instead of because of him. Woodson should be able to assess his players from what he sees in practice, it shouldn’t take him 60 games to figure out that Prigioni needed to start, it shouldn’t take him until round 2 of the damn playoffs to figure out that Copeland is a must play player. I mean you are talking about a guy who was still trying to start players like James White 60 games into the season. How can the people on this board be more in tune with who should have been playing than the guy coaching this team? Did we win 54? Yes, but that isn’t impressive if you should have won 60, and I can think of way more games that we lost bc of Woodson than the games that we won bc of him.

    Who did he outcoach this year?
    If you put another average coach in here would we have accomplished less? I really don’t think so. I think we probably could have won 50 games with Jason Kidd acting as a player/coach. The worst part about this season is that we accomplished so little over the last 13 years that it makes this season look like an amazing accomplishment and it wasn’t. We won our division bc the teams that were supposed to push us were not as good as they were expected to be. I am glad we finally reached a point where you can dare to dream again, but can’t really see it manifesting into reality, not if we couldn’t do it now. We are saddled with Amar’e, Kidd, Camby, and Kurt Thomas for at least a couple more years. Maybe we can cut someone and sign another good min contract player, but for the most part what we have is what we are going to have, other than adding a player in this draft and hopefully a few decent min contract players.

    Best hope we have for this team moving forward is that Shumpert could possibly elevate into the next tier. I hope and pray next year Shumpert passes Smith in ability…

  65. johnno

    maxwell_3g: hibbert shot like 43% for the season from the field. even if he got 30, I would be fine with it.

    After the all-star break, Hibbert shot 51% from the field (56% for the last 10 games of the season) and averaged 19 points and 10 rebounds per 36 minutes.
    Admittedly, I am an unabashed Woodson supporter/apologist, but I don’t think that he should be getting trashed the way that he is.

  66. ruruland

    maxwell_3g: i’ll tell you what.if you see the Heat even think about doubling hibbert, then you may have a point.they wont even consider it as a regular strategy.notice how the Celtics covered melo one on one in the first round.good teams and good defenses know that doubling is plain stupid in this nba.hibbert shot like 43% for the season from the field.even if he got 30, I would be fine with it.remember, besides the open three and driving lanes, the doubling also leaves us scrambling and leads to offensive rebounds, where hibbert got most of his points anyways

    Doubling puts pressure on rotations and often had Tyson Chandler coming off Hibbert and stepping out to shooters, improving Hibbert’s inside position against smaller defenders on the weakside.

    It wasn’t the 3-point shooting off the doubles that hurt the Knicks the most, it was the scrambling that hurt the Knicks rebounding position.

    Very simple — doubling forces players to run towards the perimeter. In other words, the defense was often moving away from rebound position while the Pacers moved toward the basket.

    The Knicks had a lot of success with their doubling and odd rotations — both of which were very unorthodox and creative– but it was foolish to stick with them against Indiana after game one.

    I also expect Tyson Chandler to step up and ask to try to handle Hibbert by himself.

    Roy Hibbert has scored 30 points one time in his NBA career. And his post scoring efficiency pales in comparison to say, Amar’es.

    The Knicks made him better by doubling.

    Yeah, Woodson definitely failed there.

  67. ruruland

    johnno: After the all-star break, Hibbert shot 51% from the field (56% for the last 10 games of the season) and averaged 19 points and 10 rebounds per 36 minutes.
    Admittedly, I am an unabashed Woodson supporter/apologist, but I don’t think that he should be getting trashed the way that he is.

    The easiest shots Hibbert had were off offensive rebounds. You cut down on those by not doubling him.

    Chandler did extremely poorly on him, but still.

  68. Spree8nyk8

    johnno:
    I love how everyone on this site thinks that he is smarter than Woodson.Face it — he has forgotten more about basketball than most of us will ever know.

    He definitely does seem to forget a lot about basketball.

  69. ruruland

    bobneptune: The season didn’t end prematurely, it ended precisely when it should have.

    The Knicks rightfully earned the 2 seed ( partially due to Rose, Rondo and Granger being out the majority of the season) in the regular season and got the cupcake shell of the Celtics. They struggled mightily with the Rondo-less Celts.

    Vs Indiana who didn’t have to double Melo much since their players can actually play both ends of the floor, they got clobbered. Actually, the only positive thing Chandler did all series was elbow Hill in the mush allowing the Knicks not to lose in 5.

    The reason the Pacers didn’t have to double Melo is because of their rim protection.

    I’m not sure how many times PG was beaten at the point of attack, but like I said prior, Melo had a much easier time beating PG than he did Bass, who is an extremely underrated defender.

    The Pacers won’t double Lebron, either, but we all know Lebron is going to get the calls Melo didn’t, and that will probably be the biggest difference between the two series.

    The Heat are more mismatched inside than the Knicks were.

    If the Knicks had a rim protector like Hibbert, I’m not saying they’d be the best defense in the league, bu they’d be a lot better than what they are with Chandler as center.

    Chandler is naturally a power forward on defense. You need an extremely unique player beside him to really make it work in the playoffs against teams that can really attack the paint.

    Chandler and Hibbert would be probably be ideal complements for one another.

  70. MSA

    Funny thing is except for the increased number of FT, Hibbert in the playoffs is the exact same player as in regular season.

    We just did a terrible job everywhere in this series.

  71. magraith

    The Heat are more mismatched inside than the Knicks were.

    Don’t Bosh or Haslem pull Hibbert out away from the basket more than Chandler? Chandler is not much of a scorer away from the rim, those guys can hit a jumper. If Chandler could have scared Hibbert away from the paint we would have had more openings, ya think?

  72. max fisher-cohen

    @ruru

    The melo at 4 thing is more IMO about the KNicks’ roster than about the mismatch issue (BTW though, Boston did guard Melo all series with their PF). The knicks need a dribble driving PG (prigioni/felton), a finishing big who can also anchor the defense (ideally TC), and then ideally a big man who can shoot 3s and defend on the interior.

    Stoudemire if he was healthy could help alright on offense as a decent midrange shooter, cutter and rebounder, but wouldn’t you rather have a great 3 point shooter in his position? The normal argument here is that you add another small shooter, you lose on defense, but STAT’s defense is so bad that the knick defense is better when they go small. So if the KNicks had Ryan Anderson to spread the floor or an enforcer with decent ability to make a jumpshot like David West, then a more traditional lineup would make sense, but we don’t.

    AFA the Copeland discussion, IMO he’s completely replaceable and mostly duplicative with Novak, who we are already overpaying. What plays did Copeland make that Novak couldn’t have? Not many. Most of his drives are disastrous against any kind of decent defense, and his ability to get shots off has more to do IMO with the fact that he’s not as respected a shooter as Novak than because of anything to do with his skills. So if Copeland is only valuable as a shooter, ask yourself: Who’s the better shooter — Copeland or Novak? I’d offer him a 1 year deal, but nothing more.

  73. ruruland

    magraith: Don’t Bosh or Haslem pull Hibbertout away from the basket more than Chandler? Chandler is not much of a scorer away from the rim, those guys can hit a jumper. If Chandler could have scared Hibbert away from the paint we would have had more openings, ya think?

    Sure, that helps them offensively. I think defensively the Heat could have more problems — they were 24TH!! in defensive rebounding and haven’t been better in the playoffs.

    They gave up 13 offensive rebounds per game in the Bulls series, and the Pacers are a better offensive rebounding team than Chicago.

    The Pacers averaged 12.8 off. rebounds against the Knicks, who were 4th in defensive rebounding.

    Chandler was bad, but Bosh is certainly worse in a physical match-up. They are just tiny behind him.Andersen is an incredible transition player, and solid weakside defender, but he is easily pushed around inside (he was dominated against Utah and the Lakers in past playoffs).

    Will the Heat go halfway like Woodson did, or will they try to beat Indiana with small-ball?

    Pacers were pretty dominant through three games with Miami last season. They won two of three against them in the regular season, snaring 22 offensive rebounds in their first win.

    Yeah, relative to the competition level, I don’t think Miami has played well nor have they really been tested by such a balanced, tough team, that hits the boards better than Chicago, plays at least as physically, better defense, and much better, more varied scoring.

    Miami is going to have a lot of problems similar to what the Knicks had. Pacers are confident and know who they are.

    If I thought the Pacers would get the same whistle they got vs the Knicks, I’d pick them in 7.

  74. smokinjoe

    ruruland: Doubling puts pressure on rotations and often had Tyson Chandler coming off Hibbert and stepping out to shooters, improving Hibbert’sinside position against smaller defenders on the weakside.

    It wasn’t the 3-point shooting off the doubles that hurt the Knicks the most, it was the scrambling that hurt the Knicks rebounding position.

    Very simple — doubling forces players to run towards the perimeter. In other words, the defense was often moving away from rebound position while the Pacers moved toward the basket.

    The Knicks had a lot of success with their doubling and odd rotations — both of which were very unorthodox and creative– but it was foolish to stick with them against Indiana after game one.

    I also expect Tyson Chandler to step up and ask to try to handle Hibbert by himself.

    Roy Hibbert has scored 30 points one time in his NBA career. And his post scoring efficiency pales in comparison to say, Amar’es.

    The Knicks made him better by doubling.

    Yeah, Woodson definitely failed there.

    Excellent analysis. .it was torture to watch them double only to see the ball swing to a wide open 3 pt shooter..i know that the doubling may have caused some TOs but it seemed like teams figured it out quickly and the worst part was that we continued even after getting burned multiple times..true also how the running out to double perimeter shooters had a big affect on Knicks ability to rebound

  75. alchpe17

    Can someone please answer this?

    Why did Shumpert commit a foul with 39.5 seconds to go with 14 seconds left on the shot clock with the Knicks down 4??? Was it just a case of him playing a bit too tight and he inadvertently committed the personal foul? Didn’t Wooden explicitly warn everyone not NOT TO FOUL anyone if they could help it when they talked during the timeout just a minutes earlier???? (Unless of course if it was a case of contesting a shot right near the hoop). That foul was probably the dumbest foul we could have commuted in crunch time, especially since it was under a minute to go. If they don’t score in that possession, we’re down 4 points with no less than 30 seconds to go which is plenty of time left. Instead , we ended up giving them yet MORE free point opportunities from the charity stripe and trail by 6!!! Omg!!!

  76. smokinjoe

    ruruland: Doubling puts pressure on rotations and often had Tyson Chandler coming off Hibbert and stepping out to shooters, improving Hibbert’sinside position against smaller defenders on the weakside.

    It wasn’t the 3-point shooting off the doubles that hurt the Knicks the most, it was the scrambling that hurt the Knicks rebounding position.

    Very simple — doubling forces players to run towards the perimeter. In other words, the defense was often moving away from rebound position while the Pacers moved toward the basket.

    The Knicks had a lot of success with their doubling and odd rotations — both of which were very unorthodox and creative– but it was foolish to stick with them against Indiana after game one.

    I also expect Tyson Chandler to step up and ask to try to handle Hibbert by himself.

    Roy Hibbert has scored 30 points one time in his NBA career. And his post scoring efficiency pales in comparison to say, Amar’es.

    The Knicks made him better by doubling.

    Yeah, Woodson definitely failed there.

    Doubling isnt a bad strategy. .but doubling slowly or predictably is a killer and that seemed to the Knicks..they didnt seem to have an innate sense of when to double..more that they had come out f a timeout with that particular strategy planted in their heads

  77. ruruland

    @mfc

    Sure, I understand the idea of putting another 3-point shooter on the floor, but Amar’e’s total offensive package far outweighs what Copeland, Novak or Smith can provide.

    It’s really not close. He scores more efficiently than all of them on much higher usage, plus he gives you about 1.5 extra possessions than those guys would per 36 minutes (offensive rebounds minus turnovers).

    Defensively, I think at the very least he gives you what Novak, Copeland or Smith provide. Given that we are talking about a direct switch here, Amar’e is going to rebound better and contest more shots and handle inside switches better than any of those other players would.

    All of that at the very least equals his deficiencies in rotations, pick and roll coverage and poor close-outs, imo.

    And there’s this. The Knicks, with Amar’e at the 4 and Chandler at the 5, outperformed the small ball lineups.

    The Knicks third best lineup in 2012-13? Kidd, Smith, Melo, Amar’e, Chandler.

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/s/stoudam01/lineups/2013/

    The lineup with Amar’e at the 4 in exchange for Brewer at the 3 and Smith taking Kidd’s spot performed 2 points better than the starting lineup that got the Knicks to 18-6.

    Why was Amar’e +/- so bad? His minutes at the 5 were atrocious.

    He was a +69! at power forward and a -45 at center last year.

    http://www.82games.com/1213/12NYK16.HTM

    What about last year?

    HE was a + 9 at Pf and a -55 at center.

    What about his great Suns days?

    In 2009, he was a +340 at PF and a -23 at center.
    http://www.82games.com/0910/09PHO11.HTM

    In 2008, the difference was negligible.

    Numbers weren’t tracked prior to that.

    Amar’e at center is a myth.

    Both his +/- and his individual stats are better at PF than they are at center, just as Melo’s are better at sf than pf.

  78. ruruland

    If anything, Woodson needs to be much more conventional, at least when he (hopefully) has a full deck next season.

    What is the point of playing small? Open up space for drives, or shoot more open three-pointers.

    What’s the point of getting more space for drives? To get easy points in the paint and ft attempts.

    Well, Amar’e is giving you far more paint points and free throws than the Knicks lineup without him.

    He far outproduces any three-point shooter you can put on the floor.

    Is it possible that he would help space the court for more open 3-point shots, even if there is one less three point shooter on the floor?

    I’d say absolutely, yes. At some point you reach diminishing returns with 3-point shooting, even if the Knicks pushed it to the maximum this year.

    Amar’e, according to statistical analysis I’ve seen, had one of the league’s five best shot selection.

    If you take out the 10 or so games immediately proceeding his returns, he had post-up efficiency that was better than anything Howard or Bynum have ever done, at higher volumes.

    At some point, that’s a guy you have to double team.

    He fills all the offensive gaps– he is easily the Knicks second best shot-creator, he is the team’s best cutter, he is the best pick and roll player considering his versatility and ability for volume, and he can space the floor moderately well while significantly improving the Knicks lone offensive weakness — offensive rebounding.

    He posted a .191 ws last year, fwiw.

    I said all along Amar’e was the player that puts the Knicks over the top. Whether he can stay healthy is one thing, but what he’s done when healthy makes the Knicks much better.

    His needs to be optimized in a starting lineup that would reduce the burden on Melo offensively and bring out his playmaking instincts, while reducing some of the load on Chandler defensively.

    Prigs, Shump, Melo, Amar’e, Chandler needs to be the starting 5 next season.

  79. ruruland

    smokinjoe: Doubling isnt a bad strategy. .but doubling slowly or predictably is a killer and that seemed to the Knicks..they didnt seem to have an innate sense of when to double..more that they had come out f a timeout with that particular strategy planted in their heads

    The Heat, in theory, are the best doubling team in the NBA (with their traps and blitzes) but even they are exposed by good spacing and 3-point shooting teams.

    Ball beats feet every time if you are properly spaced against a team that doubles.

  80. Brian Cronin

    Was it just a case of him playing a bit too tight and he inadvertently committed the personal foul?

    Yeah, it was just a dumb foul. Nothing Woody can do about that. Woody, though, is at fault for the fact that they didn’t foul down 6 with 25 seconds left until there was 9 seconds left.

  81. Z

    I guess it’s over, huh? Congratulations to the Knicks and their fans for having a (much anticipated) good season. Though I didn’t watch any games this season, either regular season or playoff, I did lurk around KB every so often to see what I was missing. I will say this, to maybe help keep the disappointment of losing to a pretty mediocre ECF quality team in perspective:

    The Knicks did WAY better this season than I thought they were going to do, when I entered the wilderness back in July. I did not think they would win 50+ games. And I certainly didn’t think they’d still be playing come May 18th. So congratulations

    Seems like it was a season of both great excitement and great frustration (would it really be a Knick season at all without the latter??). Injuries, age, inconsistency– a lot of adversity that the team had to overcome to post a significantly strong winning%. (I didn’t tune in between the March west-coast trip and the Pacer series, and my mouth literally dropped when I saw the final 54 win tally– seemed at the time KBers were jumping off the be sinkin’ ship right and left. Must have been fun turning that around and finishing strong!) So, congrats NY on the 2013 campaign.

  82. Z

    yoda4554:
    Hi everyone. I’ve mostly stayed off the board this year, because a bunch of you have made it rather unpleasant and because, frankly, I’ve finally lost interest in rooting for the team given that I find the owner and most of the players extremely unpleasant.

    Yeah, this sums up my hiatus as well. I lived with hating the owner for a long time, so I could theoretically keep on rooting for a Dolan team if I got enough utility from others within the organization. But I found I lost interest in the players, and without them, there isn’t much point in investing. I never particularly warmed to Anthony, but it is JR Smith that makes me relieved, even in the wake of the successful season, that I had absolutely nothing to do with this team this year. I didn’t like him last year, and it seems from reading various game threads that every game tended to go how JR Smith went. Not much fun to root for for somebody that has no interest in rooting for JR Smith.

    But he’s talented and he’s cheap, so I guess he’ll probably be in NY for a while, for better or, more likely, for worse…

  83. johnno

    maxwell_3g: I also love cope, but lets not get carried away with him. he will be better scouted in the future, etc. remember, there was a time where many of us didn’t want to lose talent like shawne Williams and earl barron (the first time around) during offseasons

    I couldn’t agree more. Last year, the Knicks “found” Copeland, Prigioni and White (be honest, how many of us had ever even heard of these guys) on minimum deals and 2 of the 3 turned out to be significant contributors. I have confidence that Grunwald and friends will be able to find guys this offseason.

  84. Hubert

    johnno: Right, because Chandler was having such an easy time guarding Hibbert one on one.If he didn’t double Hibbert and he scored 30 points, we’d all be screaming, “How could that idiot not double Hibbert?!Doesn’t he see that Chandler can’t guard him?The Pacers are lousy outside shooters!”

    Number of time Roy Hibbert scored 30 points or more in 2012-13 because he was single-teamed: 0

    In fact, the number of times Roy Hibbert scored 30 points or more in his entire five year career: 1

  85. Hubert

    ruruland:

    They [the Heat] gave up 13 offensive rebounds per game in the Bulls series, and the Pacers are a better offensive rebounding team than Chicago.

    And they won in 5 games, with a MOV of 13.2 ppg, because they didn’t overreact to the 13 offensive rebounds per game.

    If we had done that as well, we would have won the series.

  86. ess-dog

    I agree with this entire post 100%. Woodson kind of got used to overthinking things because of injuries, but in the end, the traditional approach is still the best for this team.

    You can argue that Chandler is out of gas, or that we’re not deep enough, but for this team to win, it has to be with Melo and Amare on the floor.

    Aside from Amare being healthy, Chandler might be the biggest issue for next year. It might just be that he needs more rest during the regular season. Get a reliable back up center, preferably a high energy guy.

    And Woodson needs to find a real rotation and stick with it, not to mention bench guys he can trust. I would love to get rid of JR and just have a less streaky player backing up Shump at the 2.

    If Novak isn’t going to play, we need to trade him. Kidd should become an assistant coach. We have a lot of kinks to work out, but it’s possible to work them out.

    ruruland:
    If anything, Woodson needs to be much more conventional, at least when he (hopefully) has a full deck next season.

  87. thenamestsam

    Hubert: And they won in 5 games, with a MOV of 13.2 ppg, because they didn’t overreact to the 13 offensive rebounds per game.

    If we had done that as well, we would have won the series.

    I agree with this. They’re going to get dominated on the glass to a certain extent. But they’re going to minimize the impact of that by winning the other aspects of the game. They’re going to get a lot of really easy buckets off all those tasty turnovers the Pacers cough up. They’re going to hold them to a low shooting percentage so those extra Pacer possessions won’t kill them. And they’re going to shoot a high enough percentage, including a lot of threes that they won’t need many offensive rebounds. And one critical thing to note is that the Heat are actually an excellent defensive rebounding team in clutch situations (See here, and note that the Knicks are among the worst: http://stats.nba.com/leagueTeamClutch.html?sortField=DREB&sortOrder=DES ). That’s despite essentially always playing small in crunch time, and it’s primarily because when he wants/needs to Lebron is an absolute beast on the glass. So they’ll get hurt on the boards, but I think they’ll avoid the timely ones for the most part.

    They’ve been getting killed on the glass all season and yet they’re still 40-2 in their last 42 games where Lebron has played. That’s more than half a season including two rounds of playoffs with 2 losses. They could lose, but painting this as a toss-up is a little nuts to me.

  88. Hubert

    thenamestsam: That’s despite essentially always playing small in crunch time, and it’s primarily because when he wants/needs to Lebron is an absolute beast on the glass.

    Carmelo can also be an absolute beast on the glass when we go small, which was one of the reasons I wasn’t terrified of playing Copeland at the 5.

  89. Hubert

    thenamestsam:They could lose, but painting this as a toss-up is a little nuts to me.

    Are people actually doing that?

    I like Miami in 4 games, with cumulative MOV of over 50 points.

  90. thenamestsam

    Hubert: Are people actually doing that?

    I like Miami in 4 games, with cumulative MOV of over 50 points.

    ruruland:

    If I thought the Pacers would get the same whistle they got vs the Knicks, I’d pick them in 7.

  91. KnickfaninNJ

    I don’t know why there are so many people blaming Woodson for the Knicks loss to the Pacers. Of course there are some things he could have done better in the playoffs, but when you have close games, there are always things like that. The Knicks did about as well as most of the more optimistic forecasts on this board at the beginning of the season. Those predictions were made when Woody was looking great from the improvement shown by the team last season. If a team does what an optimistic assessment of the team said he would given his personnel, then at least he did a reasonable job. The true reason the Knicks had a hard time against the Pacers, is part it being a bad matchup for us and part all the sacrifices of draft picks and potential young talent the Knicks made to get under the cap (and to give us “stars” like Tracy McGrady), and all the talent they gave up when they traded for Carmelo.

    And there are some very good reasons to like Woodson. He’s better than many coaches at not overusing his players and he plays a deeper bench. The players like him, and he didn’t wear out his welcome in Atlanta by alienating players. They still seemed to like him after a number of years of him.

    But even with Woodson as coach, I am not so optimistic we will do better in future years. At least the Knicks are mostly a watchable coherent team now. But I just don’t think we have or will have enough athleticism and young talent surrounding Carmelo.

  92. steveoh

    You know what’s borderline insane? If Rasheed Wallace was healthy, providing rebounding, stout interior and help defense plus the threat of an outside jumper, we beat the Pacers, and Woodson looks like a genius.

  93. DCrockett17 Post author

    steveoh:
    You know what’s borderline insane? If Rasheed Wallace was healthy, providing rebounding, stout interior and help defense plus the threat of an outside jumper, we beat the Pacers, and Woodson looks like a genius.

    I kinda have a 1 month statute of limitations on what ifs as it relates to injured players. After a month you’ve made whatever adjustments you can to life without that player and you just are what you are.

    Certainly, the Pacers could argue that they really could have used Danny Granger to give them more flexibility too. He could theoretically match up with Melo at the 4, moving West to the bench.

  94. DCrockett17 Post author

    jon abbey:
    Chris Herring coming to the same conclusion I came to last summer when this team was being assembled:

    online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324102604578493583915138840.html

    JA, I’ve been puzzling over this argument sense I heard it from Legler after game 4. He rightly argued that Vogel has more 2-way players, but that’s really only true among his starters.

    To me Legler’s and Herring’s arguments only hold water if they’re about the overall wisdom of building a team around Amare and Melo, who are both below avg defenders.

    It kinda falls apart when you look at the rest of the 12-13 roster imo, particularly the new roster additions. The Knicks’ role players don’t strike me as *more* imbalanced than most other good teams’ role players. Most of them are flawed.

    This would just be semantics to me except for its implications for managing the roster going forward. I don’t see Grunwald as ignoring two-way players in favor of one-dimensional specialists. He has more imbalanced “stars” to work with/around than some other teams. Knick role players seem to have the same basic flaws you see on most rosters.

    We absolutely need more two-way players, but everyone does. It’s hard to find good ones at a reasonable price though.

  95. jon abbey

    honestly if Chandler (defense) and JR Smith (offense) had just been one-way players, we would have won the series easily. hell, if Jason Kidd hadn’t played decidedly worse than the corpse of Mike Bibby, we might have had a shot.

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