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Sunday, September 21, 2014

Richardson Should Sit

During the Knicks offseason, there has been a lot of conjecture on who will be in the starting lineup. Marbury’s continued presence makes him a threat to Chris Duhon at the shooting guard spot. Should Duhon have an awful preseason it’s possible that he could lose his job to Marbury or even Robinson. There have been questions surrounding the front court, with Lee, Randolph, Curry, and Jeffries being discussed as starting options. Due to the injuries to Curry and Jeffries, it appears that Lee and Randolph will be the starters. This has been strengthened by the pair’s strong play in the preseason.

Meanwhile it was just assumed that the small forward spot would be handed to Quentin Richardson. Although he was coming off a poor year, Quentin’s familiarity with D’Antoni’s offense made him the front runner to start. Two of Richardson’s competitors for the swingman spot were eliminated when Jeffries was injured and Balkman was traded. The only SFs left on the roster were Wilson Chandler and second round pick Patrick Ewing Jr. Chandler is just old enough to buy a beer legally, and Ewing is already on his third team before he’s played a single game.

However the stats show that Richardson isn’t the best candidate for the the position. Looking at Q-Rich’s career, it appears that his production has been erratic and diminishing over the last few years. His yearly PER has been 16.5, 17.4, 12.5, 15.1, 13.6, 9.6, 14.3, and 8.5. It seems that Quentin was a productive player in his first 4 years, but has been a poor player over the last 4 years. The big question mark concerning Richardson has always been his health, and it seems obvious that injuries have reduced him to a below average player.

Luckily for Knick fans, greenhorn Wilson Chandler may be ready. Three games isn’t much to go on, especially preseason ones, but so far Wilson Chandler is outplaying Richardson on a per-minute basis.

Name Min Reb Ast TO Stl BS BA PF Pts TS% eFG
Chandler 73 11.3 3.0 1.5 1.5 1.5 1.0 3.0 21.2 52% 51%
Richardson 50 5.0 1.4 1.4 1.4 0.7 0.0 4.3 15.1 46% 46%

It’s uncertain what Chandler will do in his second season if given extended minutes. His rate stats weren’t bad in limited minutes last year, but his shooting percentages were low (48 TS%, 46% eFG). Unfortunately it’s pretty clear what Richardson will give the Knicks. As I said earlier three games isn’t much to judge a player. But given that Richardson is a veteran coming off 4 poor years, and is the only player on the Knicks familiar with D’Antoni’s offense, you’d expect better in preseason. At worst the rebuilding Knicks should give Chandler a majority of the minutes, and use the opportunity to gauge his development.

So far D’Antoni doesn’t seem to be afraid to make changes. He’s installed Duhon as the starting PG, and toyed around with Jared Jeffries at the 5 spot. Curry isn’t likely to regain his starting spot either. D’Antoni has spoken highly of Chandler, so it’s possible that he may make the switch. If he doesn’t then Chandler may get his chance eventually. During his tenure as a Knick, Richardson has missed an average of 26 games a year. Given New York’s low depth at SF, it’s likely that Chandler will be starting at some point this season.

131 comments on “Richardson Should Sit

  1. Loki151963

    Personally I had enough of Q over the last 4 years. I’m ready for Chandler and Gallaneri to take over. If it’s time to sit Marburry and Curry, then it’s time to sit Q. Let’s start fresh all around. In fact i wouldn’t have a problem cutting him. I hate the guy’s game, period.

  2. cbrooklyn

    chandler seems to be the best shot blocker we have so far. he’s 1000 times more athletic than Q, grabs boards, scores, hits the 3. no doubt he should be the starting 3 to begin the season!
    Does anyone think crawford would be better coming off the bench with this system?? Maybe try a duhon/marbury or duhon/nate backcourt? or even stick mardy in there, he has looked much better than last season, and he plays D better than craw…??

  3. sean

    yeah, cbrooklyn, i agree that Craw might be best served coming off the bench with Nate. Marbury and Duhon have looked pretty good together when they’re on the court at the same time.

    I think QRich will naturally give way to Chandler and Gallinari. I’m really hoping Gallinari can get on the floor for a pre-season game and crack the rotation in November or December. We have to see what we have with this kid.

  4. cbrooklyn

    im not really getting my hopes up high with gallinari, if he pans out thats a bonus but with the history of the knicks medical staff and the fact that he’s still on the shelf after 1 summer league game MONTHS ago…doesnt look good..Hows he gonna hold up thru 82 games? yet alone 3 or 4 82 game seasons????? (with a bad back!)?????

    Is there even a trade option out there for curry maybe like the offer from the clippers for randolph? give him up for a rack of basketballs or something, he’s just gonna take up a spot where we could be developing someone like pej. im sure pej plays better D than curry and we’re gonna need help on D as much as we can get…

  5. TDM

    KB:

    Great post. Q-Poor should have been relegated to the bench long ago. I get that he is a D’Antoni-type player, so they had to test the water to see if he was back. However, it seems apparent that he is not.

    Play Chandler. I agree with cbrooklyn that we can not bank on Gallo coming back anytime soon. Not to mention, a bulging disc is not something that you want to toy with – he shouldn’t come back too soon. I’m fine with shelving him for the season to make sure he’s healthy next year. Its been said 100 times on this blog – we are not contenders this year. The guy is very young and the Knicks invested a lot to get him, so why risk it.

    Anyone catch the quote from D’Antoni today regarding Zbo?
    “He’s a lot better basketball player than I thought he was. He’s good. His instincts are good. He’s fun to be around. He’s a really good personality and he wants to get it done. He wants to get it done the right way.”

    I actually thought that was a fresh breath of air. It looks like the tides are turning a bit, and Curry may be the odd-man out.

  6. Italian Stallion

    I think Gallo is going to play some this year. If they are even thinking about shelving him for the whole year, he would probably be better off getting surgery.

  7. TDM

    I think Gallo is going to play some this year. If they are even thinking about shelving him for the whole year, he would probably be better off getting surgery.

    I hope that he is able to play this year as well. However, I can’t say that I agree regarding surgery. From my experience, most people who have back surgery are never the same again. I guess it depends on the severity of the situation, but sometimes they will remove the disc completely and fuse the vertabrae (sp?) which reduces movement in the back, etc.

    If they can get him back to 100% without surgery, that is the path they have to take regardless if it takes the entire season.

  8. Ted Nelson

    What’s strange to me is that he’s shooting on a side court during practice. I take this to mean he’s almost recovered and is just warming up before he’s ready for contact/ to go full speed. Maybe not though, who knows.

    If he does come back healthy this season I think he’ll force his way into the rotation at some point. D’Antoni’s bound to give him a chance, and I think he’ll have earned it…

  9. foliveri

    What I like about reading what D’Antoni says is that he has a strong concept and the players must fit him.
    How often have we heard Brown or Isiah say they are trying to devise a concept to fit the players?

    I agree with the post. Q has been done for more than a year, if not two. Chandler already appears to be a force, although being young, he will be up and down.
    I’m excited for this season because I can see a chance for Knicks players to develop.
    That doesn’t mean I think they are a playoff team. I’m just looking for them to be interesting and competitive every night.
    I don’t see Gallinari being much of a player this year. I think you will see Jefferies playing a bigger role before you see the Italian.

  10. Ben R

    Did you see the article in the Post.

    D’Antoni is talking about Crawford.

    “He’s not a terrific shooter,” D’Antoni said. “He’s not an Allan Houston type. He’s a volume kind of guy, but I haven’t given him that kind of space yet. If he doesn’t average between 18 and 22, I need to go back to the drawing board. He’s that good. He makes great decisions with the ball.”

    That really worries me. He wants Crawford to shoot more because he is a volume kind of guy. We want efficiency not volume. The only time Crawford has been solid in terms of efficiency was under Brown when his attempts were limited. The last thing we want is to set Crawford loose and watch him score 22 points on 20 shots.

  11. Nick

    “He makes great decisions with the ball.” ????? I don’t understand he’s not a good shooter so let him shoot a ton. He must have an unlterior motive becuase if he doesn’t he’s out of his mind.

  12. Win A Date With John Starks

    “He makes great decisions with the ball.”

    Why do I have a feeling that this will be for D’Antoni what “the fundamentals of our economy are strong” was for John McCain?

  13. Italian Stallion

    Did you see the article in the Post.
    D’Antoni is talking about Crawford.
    “He’s not a terrific shooter,” D’Antoni said. “He’s not an Allan Houston type. He’s a volume kind of guy, but I haven’t given him that kind of space yet. If he doesn’t average between 18 and 22, I need to go back to the drawing board. He’s that good. He makes great decisions with the ball.”
    That really worries me. He wants Crawford to shoot more because he is a volume kind of guy. We want efficiency not volume. The only time Crawford has been solid in terms of efficiency was under Brown when his attempts were limited. The last thing we want is to set Crawford loose and watch him score 22 points on 20 shots.

    I agree 100%.

    If Crawford has any real value at all, it will be revealed by lowering his number of shot attempts and improving their overall quality. I think it’s great that D’Antoni realizes that Crawford is NOT such a great shooter, but can’t agree with his conclusion that he needs more volume unless he only meant “relative to what he’s done so far in pre season games”.

  14. Italian Stallion

    Given Crawford’s impressive assist-to-turnover ratio for a 2-guard, it’s fair to say that he makes “great decisions with the ball.” If anything, the statement that he’s “not a terrific shooter” is more objectionable if read to imply that he’s merely a mediocre shooter.
    At a .479 clip on jumpshots, Crawford is a very good, if not teriffic, shooter. The reason he’s not an especially efficient scorer is that he rarely gets to the basket, and when he does, he’s an extremely poor finisher.
    http://www.82games.com/0708/07NYK3A.HTM
    Scoring in the paint might be a limitation of his game, but I doubt it’s related to decision making. More likely, he’s a poor finisher, and penetrator, because he’s physically weaker than his peers.
    At any rate, if D’Antoni is willing to let Crawford continue his high usage rate, that’s good news for the Knicks because it will allow the lower usage players like Lee to continue to be efficient.

    His jump shot stats from the prior season aren’t as good.

    http://www.82games.com/0607/06NYK4A.HTM

    I think there are several issues with him.

    1. He doesn’t go to the hoop often enough or really well. (like you said)

    2. He occasionally takes terrible outside shots before there is any time clock pressure

    3. He’s very streaky and that can be very costly when he’s your #1 scoring option like he was last year

    4. Some of the really terrible shots he takes come very late in the shot clock and occurred because the alternatives were even worse. If the Knicks get better shots overall from having a better offensive system (plus get a dud like QRICH off the court and have Lee as a viable outside alternative), his shot selection should improve and so should his efficiency.

    Some of it is HIM though. He has to CHANGE.

  15. Nick

    Unless I misunderstand the FG% cited as .47 it is EFG% which is pts/FGA for the typr eof shot. 47% or 44% are awful considering he is shooting primarily three pointers. It is not a percentage of shots that go in. To be honest I don’t think 2/1 A/TO for a guy that ran the point most of the season is all that good either.

  16. Italian Stallion

    Well, as far as I am concerned if Crawford’s efficiency doesn’t go up this year because the system is providing him better shots, we have a couple of better outside shooters on the floor with him, and he’s making better decisions, I’d rather see him play less and see what Gallinari or even Marbury can do at the 2. I don’t dislike Crawford a lot, but I think he was one of the problems last year (though I think it wasn’t really his fault).

  17. Mel

    I actually thought crawford was a pretty good decision maker last season , and i agree the reason he has a low efg/fg is because he is a poor finisher …but he does get to the line as much as most pg’s and sg’s…more than some on a per shot basis like joe johnson, ray allen , jason richardson and rip hamilton

    take a look at 82games.com when he is on the court in spite of his shooting %’s the team shot much higher when he is on the court than when he is off it, most of his assists were for layups and dunks something only a handful of starting point guards did last year like nash, baron davis and andre miller

  18. Italian Stallion

    There was some good news from practice today. Gallo is stepping up his workouts and may start playing in practice next week.

  19. D

    i agree that WC is our future SF. I don’t agree that he should get the minutes.

    Q is in a contract year… he can opt out at the end of this season. The only reason he would do that is if he felt he could get more than his current contract.

    I think the plan to start the season should be to start Q and see if he can be successful in the system that got him the contract in the first place. If he gets off to a hot start this year, keep playing him. Hes worth more for trades or a new contract. If he cant hack it or plays like the last few years after a good chunk of games then sit q rich or buy him out and go with Chandler- but give the first crack to Q.

  20. Ted Nelson

    Crawford’s grown on me over the last year of so, but I was really excited to see him take less shots. There goes a lot of the faith I was building in D’Antoni.

    “At any rate, if D’Antoni is willing to let Crawford continue his high usage rate, that’s good news for the Knicks because it will allow the lower usage players like Lee to continue to be efficient.”

    IS, where’s the quote from? Maybe I’m stupid, but I can’t find that post.
    I know it’s preseason, but has this individual not been watching? I mean Lee looks SO terrible with the extra scoring burden, doesn’t he? Clearly an “energy guy” who can’t handle the touches. What the Knicks offense really needs is to let the inefficient scorers shoot a lot and limit the efficient scorer’s touches. I mean this is what works for all great offenses, look at Phoenix… Boris Diaw gets all the shots while Nash and Amare aren’t allowed to shoot. Awesome. (That’s sarcasm for anyone who didn’t pick up on it.)
    Lettting the inefficient scorers run wild and having Lee shoot about 75% as frequently as freaking Malik Rose worked wonders for the offense last season, why would that change strategy suddenly work this season?

  21. Luke

    Crawford is great when he has options .His problems comes from the fact that we had very little execution under isiah except when we were force feeding Eddy but Crawford was actually great at finding him that year.

    Crawford is a great shooter from certain spots ala Bowen from the corners etc. I was checking out that nba.com hot spots and from the left side of the floor Crawford has great percentages.I dont think Dantoni is gonna give him 25 shots a game heck Crawford had the green light last year and he still didnt shoot that many times . I think you wanna get him a couple of layups or easy baskets to get him going because thats all it takes most of the time and he can run off a 20 pt quarter as well as be a closer down the stretch for you .

    The problem Dantoni is gonna have to deal with is getting the team to recognize who is hot and who is not and when certain people need the ball. Qrich the other night just fired away but come regular season I would prefer the shots in the starting lineup go to zach,lee,and Crawford in that order with Qrich and Duhon getting shots off of ball movement of those players . I have no problem with Q starting for now as long as Chandler gets at least a split of the minutes. I would rather us take our time with Chandler then maybe risk his confidence early on by making him a starter. In this offense there are gonna be some poor shooting stretches by everyone the goal is to try and make sure everyone doesnt go cold at the same time. Besides I like the idea of chandler coming off the bench in the third and playing out the 4th as opposed to Qrich coming in making a couple of shots and Dantoni riding him out because hes a vet.

  22. Ted Nelson

    Overall, I will say Crawford is likely the Knicks best guard offensively, and if he’s not jacking up shot after shot I’d like to see him out there about 35 mpg. I don’t know if he’s as incredible a fit for D’Antoni’s system as some have said, but he’s an athletic playmaker with an OKish shot… He should be ok if he’s acting as a playmaker/secondary scorer.

    On a related note, the Zandolph pace illusion seems to be working wonders on the media: everything I read on the Knicks talks about how great Randolph has played. Hope it starts to work on a GM or two once the regular season gets under way. Just have to wonder if Walshtoni is eating it up too: yeah he scored 20 points and it only took him 18 FGAs to do it, awesome!!! This guy is such a beast!!!

  23. Italian Stallion

    Ted,

    It appears that the post I quoted has been deleted or that the person removed his ID. I can’t explain it, but my quote was taken from here and he even responded to it later (also gone).

    IS

  24. Caleb

    Crawford’s biggest problem isn’t his offense – his efficiency is about average, and he’s a pretty good (not great) playmaker for a two-guard. The bigger problem is that he’s atrocious on defense. Worse, his game is almost identical to Marbury and Robinson (forget his size – Nate has the game of a 2-guard, for better or worse).

    All three of those guys are zeroes on defense, but decent or maybe a bit better than decent on offense. Duhon will play no matter what, because he brings a totally different game. Solid defense, low usage.

    With Jeffries out, Gallinari creaky, Q decrepit, Chandler raw, Balkman in Denver… we don’t have many options at the 3. Any of the four guards are better players – right now – than the available forwards. One thing D’Antoni does that makes him a good coach, is find a way to put his best players on the floor. That’s why the frontcourt is Lee and Randolph, with Curry the odd man out. That’s why he moved Stoudemire to center and Marion to PF.

    With that in mind — I expect to see a lot of 3-guard lineups and high scores. (for both teams).

    The mix might change as the season goes on, Chandler and Gallinari develop, Jeffries comes back, etc.

  25. Thomas B.

    If D’antoni wants to play more 3 guard lineups, perhaps he should consider a Duhon, Robinson, Collins lineup. Collins is big enough to cover most 3′s plus he and Duhon are the team’s best back court defenders. The outside shooting would’nt suffer anymore than it currently does under Richardson. Robinson and Duhon would do a great job pushing the ball. It could work very well along with Lee and Chandler up front. It would be a small, fast lineup with an emphasis on pushing the ball on the break. I’m not saying that should be your starting five, as you need Randolph’s ability to score inside-were he ever to get back to it-but it should be a unit that gets some significant time.

    D’antoni should consider bringing Marbury, Crawford, Curry, and Richardson off the bench. Would that not be great; 4 of 5 starters last year in reserve roles? I think D’antoni is willing to give Crawford more time, I’m not sure he will do the same for Richardson.

    The reserves are playing much better than the starters so give them the time. Furthermore, there is no question that most of the players on this team are not in the long term plans. Richardson, Randolph, James, Rose, Marbury, Curry, perhaps even Crawford wont be around at the end of their current deal-with luck before the end of their current deals. So if they are not part of the long term plans, should not the remaining players be given every chance to show whether they should be part of the long term plans? Particularly when Lee and Robinson are coming up on restricted free agency. Find out what you have so you can make a decision on keeping them.

    Speaking of Lee and Randolph. I think we should just lock each of them up to reasonable deals now. I’m tired of the LBJ, Bosh, Wade free agent thing. Unless we can move Randolph and Curry, there wont be room to go after a top free agent anyway. So we might as well lock up our best young players. We are not even sure those free agents will come to NY, even if we had the cap space. I’m not a fan of giving up a known for the chance at a player that may not even materialize. There will be other good players available after Curry, Crawford, Randolph, and JJ come off the books July 1, 2011.

  26. foliveri

    Not sure I get the love for Collins.
    He can’t shoot. He doesn’t run the O well.
    He hasn’t shown much in games.

    I guess his size is nice, but I don’t see how he gets into games this year.

  27. Owen

    “Speaking of Lee and Randolph. I think we should just lock each of them up to reasonable deals now.”

    You must mean Robinson…

    I like Nate, but he has yet to approach even Barbosa levels of productivity. I like what he brings to the table, but he has yet to be above average for a season in the NBA. There are a lot of guys out there who can do what he does.

    And this from the True Hoop interview with Steven Jackson…

    “Laugh all you want at Jackson’s close friend Stephon Marbury. Jackson realizes a lot of people think Marbury’s crazy. But, he points out, almost nobody at Marbury’s position has made that much money or put up those kinds of numbers. How crazy is that production?”

    And that’s factorial…

  28. Thomas B.

    Question for anyone that cares to answer.

    If JC has a big year in this offense and he opts out of his contract, should the Knicks let him walk? Would that be a good thing for the team? Would anyone pay him more than 9 million a year?

    I say that we are better off letting him walk.

  29. Thomas B.

    “Speaking of Lee and Randolph. I think we should just lock each of them up to reasonable deals now.”
    You must mean Robinson…
    P>

    Damn right I do! A Freudian typing mistake, to be sure.

  30. Thomas B.

    Not sure I get the love for Collins.He can’t shoot. He doesn’t run the O well.He hasn’t shown much in games.
    I guess his size is nice, but I don’t see how he gets into games this year.

    All true and yet he is still a better option than Q. My “love” for Collins says more about what is lacking on the team than it says about the type of player I think Collins is. Collins at least has accepted that he cant shoot from distance. Q has not yet noticed his own shooting problems.

  31. Latke

    hey—
    sorry for the off topic post, but we’re looking for about 5 more people in our fantasy league. It’s a head to head yahoo league with the preset stats. This will be the 5th year, and the league is usually pretty competitive — it’s rare for someone to give up, stop editing their team.

    url: http://basketball.fantasysports.yahoo.com
    league id: 8399
    password: comeonin

  32. Italian Stallion

    Can we rename this thread “Richardson should be sent to the ‘D’ League”?

    He’s so pathetic he doesn’t even deserve to be in the NBA anymore. How D’Antoni can be starting him is beyond me. He was giant dead weight all last year with his horrendous shooting and he’s picking up right where he left off.

  33. caleb

    Collins is a career D-Leaguer.. I can see him getting spot minutes on this terrible defensive team, but that’s about it.

    If Crawford is having a great year, we should do everything we can to trade him at the deadline. Re-signing him at $10 million per would be a disaster (remember – that’s $10 million you can’t offer a free agent in 2010 or 2011) but then, letting him walk for nothing is ridiculous. I bet there are multiple teams who would give up a first-round pick for Craw right now — if he looks good between now and February, he’ll have a lot of trade value. A lot more than his real value, IMO.

  34. Owen

    Catching the last bit of this….

    Mardy Collins travels better than anyone in the league, he can do it in his sleep….

    PEJ had an unbelievable follow dunk, will be on every highlight reel….

    Wilson Chandler, sort of like Shawn Marion, without the shooting efficiency….

  35. Ted Nelson

    Lee finally had an off night… Hats off to my favorite brick-layers Randolph, Crawford, Marbury, and Nate for all having efficient scoring nights. My faith in D’Antoni is coming back after that “Crawford should be scoring 18-22″ comment.
    I know it’s preseason, but the Knicks did a good job on pretty much everyone but Pierce (as always) and Eddie House. For the 3rd straight game the Knicks lost the 1st Q and won the 2nd.

    Shawn,

    Interesting post on Roland Rating (which seems to have disappeared since I’ve been typing without me even refreshing the page… am I crazy or was there a post on Roland Rating there?). I’m a fan of Roland’s Rating: I found that a team’s average Roland Rating (weighted by minutes played) is a better predictor of wins than the weighted average of Hollinger’s PER or Berri’s WP in a few regressions I ran. I have a few comments:

    -On your earlier posts on Crawford: So far this preseason Crawford has limited his FGAs and his scoring efficiency has seemed pretty decent (without looking at any stats, just my impression from the box scores). This is consistent with Crawford posting a TS% of .544 (compared to his career .513) under Larry Brown when he played within the offense and limited his FGAs to 12.4 per 36 minutes, the only time he’s been under 14.5 as a Knick.
    Unfortunately–as you say–he isn’t particularly inefficient by Knicks’ standards. The best solution might be to continue spreading the FGAs around the way they have in preseason (cutting out certain SFs who can’t buy a make)… unless one or two guys clearly distance themselves as more efficient options (ahmm.. David Lee). Just like Caleb says Mike D gets his best 5 on the court, he also got the ball in the hands of his efficient scorers (whether that was largely luck, i.e. personnel, I don’t know). If on a nightly basis Robinson and/or Crawford’s putting up 15 FGAs for 19 points, Randolph 16 FGAs for 20 points, and Chandler 9 FGAs for 7 points the Knicks are in trouble.

    -Jeffries had a better Roland Rating than Chandler last season. I realize Chandler is expected to improve, but if that’s the litmus test for who starts than I don’t think Chandler is clearly ahead of Jeffries–or Marbury for that matter. Chandler brings some things to the table Jeffries doesn’t (and clearly the 6-2 Marbury or 5-9 Nate don’t) and I do expect him to improve, but I’m waiting to see some consistently efficient scoring from him.
    If not he could still be valuable as a defender/rebounder and low usage scorer (i.e. sticking to dunks and the occasional wide open 3). A poorman’s Balkman with a mediocre jumper… no I’m kidding he’s looked good besides the inconsistent scoring efficiency.

    -Duhon had a Roland Ratings above -1 on 2 Bulls playoff teams in 05-06 (-0.8) and 06-07 (-0.4). The Bulls were a better team with him off the court both years, but I don’t know how to compare that to a 23 win Knicks team. The 3 guard line-ups really do seem to be consistent with Caleb’s comments that D’Antoni gets his best players on the court.

    -I wish Lee were a bit higher usage and Chandler were a bit lower usage. With the exception of last night, Lee has been great playing a larger role in the offense. I think the Knicks’ offense will be much better just by getting Lee more looks. Chandler has been inconsistent but never shy on the trigger.
    This continues the thought of getting your most efficient players looks… the best offenses do this, and since only a few Knicks could conceivably be on the court for their D this is something D’Antoni’s going to have to stress if he wants to win. Lee’s got a career TS% above .600. Maybe critics are right that he would suddenly shoot 0% on an additional 5 FGA/g, but I doubt it and think he deserves the chance to find out. Curry is also terrifically efficient (although obviously worthless on a basketball court in most other regards), and could be an effective reserve used for short stretches where he, preferably, has a size and/or quickness advantage over the opponent’s 5. I also think that Marbury, Crawford, Randolph, and Robinson could be pretty efficient if they limit their FGAs (Marbury and Crawford have been pretty good about it, while Randolph has been great the last 2 games, Robinson finally had a good scoring efficiency night.)

  36. Italian Stallion

    I think Ewing Jr is eventually going to be a better version of Balkman. He was over anxious in the game, but he showed good athleticism (nice dunk), had a nice steal, and MADE his free throws.

    He’s too raw to get minutes now, but in another year he’ll be our new energy/defense guy with a somewhat better offensive game.

  37. Italian Stallion

    Ted,

    I think Chandler will be alright. He’s still young and a bit out of control on offense. I think his efficiency will improve as he learns and starts making better decisions. He will also probably become a better shooter. One of the problems with very good athletes is that they can do things that less athletic players can’t, but it takes them awhile to realize that just because they can doesn’t always mean they should (some never learn).

    Caleb,

    I’m not a big Mardy Collins fan, but I think he’s a player that has to be analyzed more carefully than just his annual stats. In his rookie year he didn’t do a thing until late in the season when the Knicks had a lot of injuries. In those last few weeks he looked like a very good backup prospect. A lot of people were hoping for some development on the offensive end for last year. However, he got hurt before the season. That set him back and he never got into the rotation or did a thing.

    I think you have to ask yourself a question.

    Who is the real Mardy Collins?

    Is he the guy we saw last year who probably shouldn’t be in the NBA or is he the guy we saw at the end of his rookie year who showed a bit more and who many expected to develop from there.

    I can’t say I know if he will get better with time. But I feel very confident in saying that his stats from last year are probably irrelevant. He came to camp in excellent shape this year. I think you have to start fresh and keep an open mind because of the details of his first two seasons. His stats from last year are irrelevant. He might be an OK backup.

  38. Z-man

    “-I wish Lee were a bit higher usage and Chandler were a bit lower usage. With the exception of last night, Lee has been great playing a larger role in the offense. I think the Knicks’ offense will be much better just by getting Lee more looks. Chandler has been inconsistent but never shy on the trigger.
    This continues the thought of getting your most efficient players looks… the best offenses do this, and since only a few Knicks could conceivably be on the court for their D this is something D’Antoni’s going to have to stress if he wants to win. Lee’s got a career TS% above .600″

    The nice thing about Lee is that he is not forcing the issue. It seems that the offense is built around players ultimately determining their own shot selection, and the emphasis is on taking good shots resulting from unselfish passing. What I’ve noticed is that the % of “forced” shots has decreased for everyone, taking into account that this is preseason and guys are trying certain shots and moves out.

    Lee, like everyone else, seems to have the green light, but is truly excellent at shot selection. He seems to try some things each game that are out of his comfort zone as a way of expanding his game, but not to the point of hurting the team. If he were to take more shots, that would imply that he would be less selective, and his efficiency would almost certainly go down. Interestingly, Duhon seems very selective along the lines of Lee.

    Zach is a good example of how D’Antoni’s offense can build confidence without generating selfish play. He certainly seems to be playing more under control and is taking better shots. I don’t really have a problem with him taking a couple of wide-open unforced 3′s when there is not a better look (someone else with a wide-open 12-footer) available. He is definitely monopolizing the ball less, which was the real problem (D aside). Looks like the Jeffries injury has really helped Zach to step up his game.

    Overall, every pre-season game has been in line with best expectations for what to expect from the new regime. Some observations from last night’s game:

    Marbury seemed intent on getting to the basket and drawing fouls. I wonder if he did this on his own or whether D’Antoni told him to do more of that. It didn’t seem within the D’Antoni scheme, but it was definitely an effective change of pace.

    Nate is becoming even more of a nightmare for other teams to contend with on both ends. If only he could stroke it like Eddie House…

    I haven’t completely given up on Q yet, but he better show something quick or he’s going to get rough treatment at the Garden.

    PEJ is even more raw than I expected. He’s nowhere near being as NBA ready as Balkman was as a rookie. I really question whether he’s worth a roster spot now; at best, europe seems like a good idea for him.

    Why did we bother to sign Roberson? He seems like a dime a dozen kind of player.

    Did anyone miss Malik Rose last night?

    Not that it’s a big deal, but I still think Chandler reminds me more of Pippin than Marion.

    Is anyone still questioning whether Walsh made good business decisions by not dealing Zach for garbage or not cutting Steph? I cringe to think what we’d be starting the season with minus those two in the rotation. And is there still any doubt that Zach’s trade value will increase? Is there still any doubt that the possibility of trading Steph to a scoring PG-hungry team has gotten stronger already? I’m wondering whether anyone on this site who rabidly called for these rash moves this past summer will come around on how smart Walsh is looking right now.

  39. Ted Nelson

    IS,

    We’ll have to see on Balkman. I haven’t seen him play with Denver; his stats look good, but he seems to have a lot of guys in front of him and I’m not 100% sure he even makes the roster. Clearly the guy has some limitations, the fact is, though, that he played great defense in NY. Ewing and Chandler are going to have to really develop defensively to be compared to Balkman defensively, IMO. (They might more than make up for it offensively, but I think this will also take a lot of development from both.) I think that because defensive stats are not easily interpreted we tend to lump all players together as either “good” or “bad” defensively, when there are many shades in between. (Although I guess the average fan and even journalist does the same with offense, usually based on whether a guy scores 0-10, 10-19, and 20+ ppg.) I can’t say for sure, but my interpretation is that Balkman was a terrific defender, especially as a rookie.

    I really hope Chandler picks up the efficiency, because the only guys he beat out in both eFG% and TS% last season were Q, Jeffries, Rose, Morris, and Collins… He’s going to find himself playing golf with those guys all winter in a few years if he doesn’t improve.
    I’m not particularly athletic, but I’m pretty confident I can brick shots just as well as Chandler… so I’m not sure that’s an excuse. Once the regular season starts he’s got to start taking shots he can make (like driving at KG and laying it in while drawing the foul, or the occasional 5-6 from behind the arc night) and not forcing shots (again, he was something like 2-9 inside the arc with only a couple FTAs that 5-6 3p game and he was 2-9 overall last night).
    He’s got to understand that if he scores 9 pts on 5 FGAs he’s helping the team (assuming there are more efficient scorers to pick up the scoring load) a lot more than if he scores 14 pts on 11 FGAs. (Last season he averaged 13.4 pts/36 on 12.7 FGA/36 so that would at least be a significant improvement.)

  40. cwod

    So far this preseason Crawford has limited his FGAs and his scoring efficiency has seemed pretty decent (without looking at any stats, just my impression from the box scores).

    So far, Crawford, Randolph, Marbury, and of course Lee are all putting up great TS% — all are at or around 60%. I know it’s only preseason, but that has to be a good sign. Hopefully the trend toward better shot selection/efficiency continues in the actual games.

    On the other hand, Nate is around 53%, and Chandler is a woeful 47.1%.

  41. Ted Nelson

    On Collins, I certainly wouldn’t say his stats were irrelevant–every player takes some lumps, and the guy flat out couldn’t score efficiently for 2 seasons. I also wouldn’t say he was that great at the end of his rookie year–played about the way you’d expect any 15th man to with enough minutes. I liked Mardy coming out of Temple, and I’m rooting for him to get it going. He’s always been compared to guys who didn’t turn it on until a bit later in their careers through veteran savvy, hard work, and leadership, so I think there’s some hope for him. That said, I wouldn’t bet money that he’s in the NBA after this contract, there are just too many 6-5 guys who give you what he does and a lot more.

    Z-Man,

    “Lee, like everyone else, seems to have the green light, but is truly excellent at shot selection. He seems to try some things each game that are out of his comfort zone as a way of expanding his game, but not to the point of hurting the team. If he were to take more shots, that would imply that he would be less selective, and his efficiency would almost certainly go down.”

    I think you hit the nail on the head with shot selection, which I’d say has something to do with the vague term “basketball-IQ” and is why some guys have TS% of .600 consistently and others around .520 consistently when both seem to be equally talented in an empty gym.
    If Lee starts shooting more it’s completely logical that his TS% would decline, but the question is by how much? This has been the debate for years, and I’m hoping we finally get an answer this season.
    Looking at career numbers, Lee has scored 12.7 pts/36 on 8.4 FGA/36 while Randolph is at 19.9 pts/36 on 16.9 FGA/36. Not something to aspire to, but for Lee to be as bad as Randolph he’d have to score only 7.2 pts/36 on an additional 8.5 FGA/36. This would mean dropping for 1.51 pts/FGA for the first 8.4 to 0.85 on the next 8.5.
    In terms of the worst I can see an NBA player doing, Mardy Collins is at 0.94 pts/FGA on his career. So, Lee would have to be significantly worse than Mardy Collins, a guard with no jumper or driving ability, on his final 8.5 FGAs/36 to be as bad as Randolph. And that’s factorial.

    “I’m wondering whether anyone on this site who rabidly called for these rash moves this past summer will come around on how smart Walsh is looking right now.”

    Not sure if I was one of those rabidly calling for him to make the moves, but I’d definitely say he made the right call. Wasn’t for any Randolph deal involving the Knicks taking back a long-term deal or giving up a pick, and I think I was more or less on the fence on the cutting Marbury thing.
    I don’t know whose call it was, but Marbury is only going to be effective if he’s driving and picking up fouls. Otherwise he’s kind of an average jump shooter with a lot of swagger (like Crawford… ok, that a low blow, just had to take a shot at Crawford I feel like I’ve been so positive about him lately). While I certainly wouldn’t give him the reigns to a pick-and-roll offense, I would sort of cave to him and tell him to get into the lane and to the line as often as possible no matter what my offensive system was.
    Randolph has looked great the last 2 games after struggling with his scoring efficiency the first 2. Hope the change is a permanent one. It might even be a little bittersweet to see the big guy go…

  42. Z-man

    ‘Randolph has looked great the last 2 games after struggling with his scoring efficiency the first 2. Hope the change is a permanent one. It might even be a little bittersweet to see the big guy go…’

    The problem with Zach is that even if he improves, he probably won’t ever be an elite PF, yet he is earning elite $. I also suspect he will blow some games in crunch time by reverting back to his selfish ways under pressure, unless we get a superstar to take over that role. At $8-12 mil, he’s worth it, but probably never at $17 mil with the salary cap. That being said, he has been much easier on the eyes thus far.

    “Lee would have to be significantly worse than Mardy Collins, a guard with no jumper or driving ability, on his final 8.5 FGAs/36 to be as bad as Randolph.”

    I think Lee will get his max in this system. He is clearly going to get the minutes, and has the green light. I wouldn’t push him beyond his self-determined comfort zone. It is also posible that if he’s shooting more, he could be rebounding less.

    I agree with IS’s post re: Collins. He looks much better than last year thus far, so I would reserve judgment on his offensive limitations based on last year’s stats. He could be a nice fit for a niche no other guard on the team seems suited for, a defensive answer to bigger scoring PG’s like Deron and Andre. He also has been going to the hoop with authority, especially to his left. If one of the rotaion guards gets dinged up, he could be a good low-cost fill-in for a few games, unlike Roberson, who seems like the prototypical D-league player. So far, it seems like D’Antoni has pretty good instincts about his players, and he really likes Mardy.

    Oh by the way, did anyone notice that Curry’s D seemed way ahead of his O? Weird.

  43. Thomas B.

    Collins is a career D-Leaguer.. I can see him getting spot minutes on this terrible defensive team, but that’s about it.

    Collins has never played in the DL, and as a third year player he is no longer eligible to play in the DL. So how is he a “career D-Leaguer?”

    Anyway, as the person who started all this Mardy Collins talk, let me just make something clear to those of you who may have misundestood. OK?

    (clears throat)

    Ahem. Mi. Mi. Mi.

    (blows pitch finder).

    Mi. Mi. Mi. Ah there.

    I do not think Mardy Collins is good. I only recognize that this team is paper thin at SF with Richardson struggling, Gallinari recovering-and a rookie, and JJ out for a few weeks. Collins’ size and improved speed makes him an option at the SF position. He is simply less awful than Richardson right now.

    And you know what, for a horrible shooter, he has fairly efficient this preseason. He has worked to use his size to get inside. That may be impacted somewhat by a move to SF as he will face players closer to his own size, but if he is on the floor he can give smaller guards some problems.

    If he can be efficient, keep turnovers down, and play strong D he can have value on a tteam that has very few option at guard and the quick side foward positions.

  44. latke

    no matter how bad you think collins is on D, he’s a top tier defender who can guard 3 positions. I’d take him over a lot of other guys who are in the league for defense, like quinton ross, trenton hassell… I think that he is a couple of smart decisions a game away from being an eric snow type player (when snow was not a senior citizen). If he can get a jumpshot, something that he seems to be slowly improving, I think he can be a valuable player.

  45. jon abbey

    didn’t see the game last night, but was kind of amazed to see Chandler guarding Garnett in the highlights, at least on one play. good luck with that when the games count…

  46. Z-man

    no matter how bad you think collins is on [offense], he’s a top tier defender who can guard 3 positions. I’d take him over a lot of other guys who are in the league for defense, like quinton ross, trenton hassell… I think that he is a couple of smart decisions a game away from being an eric snow type player (when snow was not a senior citizen). If he can get a jumpshot, something that he seems to be slowly improving, I think he can be a valuable player.

    I think the Eric Snow comparison is a good one. Mardy does have a coolness and quiet toughness about him that I like (remember the Denver brawl?). He seems mature beyond his years and a good team first guy. He seems to get the nuances of the new system.

    In addition, I have a lot of respect for guys that bust their ass in the off-season to overcome glaring weaknesses in their game, especially coming off of an injury-marred year. Mardy has clearly done that.

  47. Z-man

    didn’t see the game last night, but was kind of amazed to see Chandler guarding Garnett in the highlights, at least on one play. good luck with that when the games count…

    Agreed, Jon, he’s not a real PF, but that being said, he has been showing a serious defensive presence, probably the best defender on the team so far, which isn’t saying much.

  48. cavjam

    I think Ewing Jr is eventually going to be a better version of Balkman. He was over anxious in the game, but he showed good athleticism (nice dunk), had a nice steal, and MADE his free throws.

    I think you touched on an important factor in the Balkman dump. Bad enough to break up the D’Antoni game flow with fouls, but when it happens – ya gotta make the FTs!

  49. DS

    Fun game last night… I was surprised that after Ewing Jr.’s dunk no one (that I’ve seen) has mentioned that the first two points of Ewing Sr.’s career were on a dunk off of a rebound.

  50. Ted Nelson

    Z-Man,

    Absolutely, Randolph’s salary is a problem. It will be bitter to see him go if he’s playing well, but sweet to get cap space and maybe some talent in return.

    Passing/playmaking is one big reason I can’t really see the Chandler/Pippen comparison, assuming Chandler actually turns into a decent NBA player. Besides incredible D, his passing was what made Pippen special for a 6-7 player.

    Thomas B.,

    I agree that Collins should/could get a look at the 3. I also think he might be able to make something of his career yet. Through 2 seasons, however, he hasn’t been an NBA level player. As Z-Man says, Mardy has always been regarded as mature and smart. He’s been compared to guys like Snow and Aaron McKie who used those tools to have long productive careers despite less than incredible basketball skills. They weren’t as bad as Mardy his first 2 seasons, though. Snow wasn’t much better but demonstrated good passing ability, while McKie was a more efficient scorer (hard not to be) and a rotation player his 2nd season.

    I thought it was interesting that Collins biggest perceived strength entering the draft was leadership/maturity.

    Jon Abbey,

    I don’t think Chandler would be a significant step down from Lee or Randolph. I’m still interested in why you think Marion is so much better at guarding PFs than Chandler could potentially be. Maybe something more than “Marion is special”…

  51. Thomas B.

    Fun game last night… I was surprised that after Ewing Jr.’s dunk no one (that I’ve seen) has mentioned that the first two points of Ewing Sr.’s career were on a dunk off of a rebound.

    Do preseason points count towards career scoring?

  52. S h a w n

    Shawn,
    Interesting post on Roland Rating (which seems to have disappeared since I’ve been typing without me even refreshing the page… am I crazy or was there a post on Roland Rating there?). I’m a fan of Roland’s Rating: I found that a team’s average Roland Rating (weighted by minutes played) is a better predictor of wins than the weighted average of Hollinger’s PER or Berri’s WP in a few regressions I ran. I have a few comments:
    -On your earlier posts on Crawford: So far this preseason Crawford has limited his FGAs and his scoring efficiency has seemed pretty decent (without looking at any stats, just my impression from the box scores). This is consistent with Crawford posting a TS% of .544 (compared to his career .513) under Larry Brown when he played within the offense and limited his FGAs to 12.4 per 36 minutes, the only time he’s been under 14.5 as a Knick.Unfortunately–as you say–he isn’t particularly inefficient by Knicks’ standards. The best solution might be to continue spreading the FGAs around the way they have in preseason (cutting out certain SFs who can’t buy a make)… unless one or two guys clearly distance themselves as more efficient options (ahmm.. David Lee). Just like Caleb says Mike D gets his best 5 on the court, he also got the ball in the hands of his efficient scorers (whether that was largely luck, i.e. personnel, I don’t know). If on a nightly basis Robinson and/or Crawford’s putting up 15 FGAs for 19 points, Randolph 16 FGAs for 20 points, and Chandler 9 FGAs for 7 points the Knicks are in trouble.
    -Jeffries had a better Roland Rating than Chandler last season. I realize Chandler is expected to improve, but if that’s the litmus test for who starts than I don’t think Chandler is clearly ahead of Jeffries–or Marbury for that matter. Chandler brings some things to the table Jeffries doesn’t (and clearly the 6-2 Marbury or 5-9 Nate don’t) and I do expect him to improve, but I’m waiting to see some consistently efficient scoring from him.If not he could still be valuable as a defender/rebounder and low usage scorer (i.e. sticking to dunks and the occasional wide open 3). A poorman’s Balkman with a mediocre jumper… no I’m kidding he’s looked good besides the inconsistent scoring efficiency.
    -Duhon had a Roland Ratings above -1 on 2 Bulls playoff teams in 05-06 (-0.8) and 06-07 (-0.4). The Bulls were a better team with him off the court both years, but I don’t know how to compare that to a 23 win Knicks team. The 3 guard line-ups really do seem to be consistent with Caleb’s comments that D’Antoni gets his best players on the court.
    -I wish Lee were a bit higher usage and Chandler were a bit lower usage. With the exception of last night, Lee has been great playing a larger role in the offense. I think the Knicks’ offense will be much better just by getting Lee more looks. Chandler has been inconsistent but never shy on the trigger.This continues the thought of getting your most efficient players looks… the best offenses do this, and since only a few Knicks could conceivably be on the court for their D this is something D’Antoni’s going to have to stress if he wants to win. Lee’s got a career TS% above .600. Maybe critics are right that he would suddenly shoot 0% on an additional 5 FGA/g, but I doubt it and think he deserves the chance to find out. Curry is also terrifically efficient (although obviously worthless on a basketball court in most other regards), and could be an effective reserve used for short stretches where he, preferably, has a size and/or quickness advantage over the opponent’s 5. I also think that Marbury, Crawford, Randolph, and Robinson could be pretty efficient if they limit their FGAs (Marbury and Crawford have been pretty good about it, while Randolph has been great the last 2 games, Robinson finally had a good scoring efficiency night.)

    Lee finally had an off night… Hats off to my favorite brick-layers Randolph, Crawford, Marbury, and Nate for all having efficient scoring nights. My faith in D’Antoni is coming back after that “Crawford should be scoring 18-22? comment.I know it’s preseason, but the Knicks did a good job on pretty much everyone but Pierce (as always) and Eddie House. For the 3rd straight game the Knicks lost the 1st Q and won the 2nd.
    Shawn,
    Interesting post on Roland Rating (which seems to have disappeared since I’ve been typing without me even refreshing the page… am I crazy or was there a post on Roland Rating there?). I’m a fan of Roland’s Rating: I found that a team’s average Roland Rating (weighted by minutes played) is a better predictor of wins than the weighted average of Hollinger’s PER or Berri’s WP in a few regressions I ran. I have a few comments:
    -On your earlier posts on Crawford: So far this preseason Crawford has limited his FGAs and his scoring efficiency has seemed pretty decent (without looking at any stats, just my impression from the box scores). This is consistent with Crawford posting a TS% of .544 (compared to his career .513) under Larry Brown when he played within the offense and limited his FGAs to 12.4 per 36 minutes, the only time he’s been under 14.5 as a Knick.Unfortunately–as you say–he isn’t particularly inefficient by Knicks’ standards. The best solution might be to continue spreading the FGAs around the way they have in preseason (cutting out certain SFs who can’t buy a make)… unless one or two guys clearly distance themselves as more efficient options (ahmm.. David Lee). Just like Caleb says Mike D gets his best 5 on the court, he also got the ball in the hands of his efficient scorers (whether that was largely luck, i.e. personnel, I don’t know). If on a nightly basis Robinson and/or Crawford’s putting up 15 FGAs for 19 points, Randolph 16 FGAs for 20 points, and Chandler 9 FGAs for 7 points the Knicks are in trouble.
    -Jeffries had a better Roland Rating than Chandler last season. I realize Chandler is expected to improve, but if that’s the litmus test for who starts than I don’t think Chandler is clearly ahead of Jeffries–or Marbury for that matter. Chandler brings some things to the table Jeffries doesn’t (and clearly the 6-2 Marbury or 5-9 Nate don’t) and I do expect him to improve, but I’m waiting to see some consistently efficient scoring from him.If not he could still be valuable as a defender/rebounder and low usage scorer (i.e. sticking to dunks and the occasional wide open 3). A poorman’s Balkman with a mediocre jumper… no I’m kidding he’s looked good besides the inconsistent scoring efficiency.
    -Duhon had a Roland Ratings above -1 on 2 Bulls playoff teams in 05-06 (-0.8) and 06-07 (-0.4). The Bulls were a better team with him off the court both years, but I don’t know how to compare that to a 23 win Knicks team. The 3 guard line-ups really do seem to be consistent with Caleb’s comments that D’Antoni gets his best players on the court.
    -I wish Lee were a bit higher usage and Chandler were a bit lower usage. With the exception of last night, Lee has been great playing a larger role in the offense. I think the Knicks’ offense will be much better just by getting Lee more looks. Chandler has been inconsistent but never shy on the trigger.This continues the thought of getting your most efficient players looks… the best offenses do this, and since only a few Knicks could conceivably be on the court for their D this is something D’Antoni’s going to have to stress if he wants to win. Lee’s got a career TS% above .600. Maybe critics are right that he would suddenly shoot 0% on an additional 5 FGA/g, but I doubt it and think he deserves the chance to find out. Curry is also terrifically efficient (although obviously worthless on a basketball court in most other regards), and could be an effective reserve used for short stretches where he, preferably, has a size and/or quickness advantage over the opponent’s 5. I also think that Marbury, Crawford, Randolph, and Robinson could be pretty efficient if they limit their FGAs (Marbury and Crawford have been pretty good about it, while Randolph has been great the last 2 games, Robinson finally had a good scoring efficiency night.)

    Ted,

    I’m glad to hear that you have some empiric confirmation for my subjective approval of the Roland Ratings. I like the Rating so much because it’s a hybrid of box score and plus/minus; maybe better hybrids exist or are on the way . . .

    I’m not at all convinced that there was anything special about Crawford’s season under Brown. Indeed, if you look at Crawford’s career numbers, especially as a Knick, they are quite consistent. And if you consider his fga rate, we’re really talking about two shots a game. I don’t think it’s especially important that those two shots a game be taken by Lee rather than Crawford, but I’m willing to concede that point.

    My broader point in support of Crawford, and D’Antoni’s comments in support of Crawford, concerned minutes rather than shot attempts. Hence, I would strongly reject any assertion that Crawford’s shot attempts should be limited by placing him on the bench.

    Because of Crawford’s ballhandling and passing, and most of all, because he’s the best option available, he needs to be on the floor, and he needs the ball in his hands. I don’t think D’Antoni flipping out and sitting him when he takes a bad shot is going to help — and this is really what D’Antoni seems to be saying — that Crawford is the Knicks’ best bet, warts and all.

    As for Chandler, you’re right, Roland Rating says he was worse than Jeffries last season. That’s one of the principal reasons why I think Chandler is the key to this season. If he doesn’t improve dramatically, the team will continue to have a gaping hole at small forward. So it must be Chandler’s job, but only because he has more potential than proven failures Richardson and Jeffries.

    As for Lee, I would certainly not be opposed to him getting more shots. But for two reasons, I’m not as eager as you are to shift the scoring load his way. First, much like Robinson, he seems to rely more on athleticism and hustle than skill. (That’s unfortunately why I think both players are near their respective peaks.) Second, I think expending more energy on offense might detract from his best asset — rebounding.

    I think you’ve made an effective counter to both of those arguments, which is, to find out what would happen if Lee took more shots, Lee must take more shots. I’m with you. I’m just less hopeful as to the outcome.

    Finally on to Duhon, I also have noticed his -1 to -2 Roland Rating. In my arbitrary sense of things, a positive rating equates to starter quality, whereas a slight negative rating like Duhon’s equates to a quality backup. That’s how I perceive Duhon, as a quality backup.

    But I also tend to think of the backup pg as a sixth starter; I make that observation descriptively rather than normatively; backup pgs just seem to get heavy minutes. So I think the Duhon signing was fantastic.

    Back to the original topic, yes, Richardson must be benched; Curry absolutely must be benched; and unless Chandler becomes at least as good as Ime Ukoda, the Knicks will suck.

  53. jon abbey

    Marion is possibly the best athlete in the league, with the quickest second jump I’ve ever seen. Chandler isn’t in that class athletically (and whoever compared him to Pippen above, are you out of your mind?).

    has Chandler ever played interior D in his life before this preseason? maybe he has, he just seems like a prototypical 3 to me.

  54. Dave

    I think Q is worthy of some patience. He’s been successful in this offense before and should be given time to prove whether or not he can repeat that. I’m thinking 15 regular season games or so.

    Say it continues to flounder …. very much a possibility

    I’m hesitant to remove him from the starting rotation until Gallinari comes back and proves himself a useful player. I’d rather start Q but not give him starters minutes, and instead give Chandler starters minutes but off the bench. Chandler’s energy, defense and game changing athleticism is an excellent weapon to have coming off the bench.

  55. jon abbey

    FWIW, Q was successful in this offense when no one guarded him because the other four guys on the court were all All-Star talents in Stoudemire, Marion, Joe Johnson and Nash. so he basically spent the season shooting WIDE open threes. when Johnson got hurt in the playoffs and Q was asked to move up to the 4th option on offense, he was dreadful and Phoenix immediately dumped him on Isiah.

  56. jbug187

    Did any of the Collins’ fans see last nights game? He looked absolutely terrible out there running the point in fourth quarter. I was punching my couch because I couldn’t stand to look at him. He missed a few layups right at the rim, threw away a couple of passes and even stepped on the line when in-bounding a pass from the baseline. Also, his ball handling skills leave a lot to be desired. At one point last night while pushing it up the floor on a break he bounced it too hard, lost control and it went over his head. He didn’t turn it over that time, but man this guy has got to go. I looked at the box score after the game and couldn’t believe he only had 3 turnovers. Probably the worst part about him though is that he has this ‘deer in headlights look’ when he’s out there. I almost feel bad for him, like he knows he’s not capable of playing at an NBA level.

  57. Jay Zee

    Anyone ever take the time to follow Clydes negative remarks about the home team. I watched the the knick game on direct TV on a network he was not covering and the comments on the home team by the home announcers is entirely different. Almost nothing negative is said about the home team unless it’s absolutely called for. Big difference. I think the announcers that covered the Boston game was a bit one sided. But I think I would rather have that than have the home announcer trying to critique a bring forward every imaginable negative scenario they could about the home team. Clyde has not been as bad as last year yet, but he’s warming up. I can tell. Count the amount of criticism he gives and compare it to the co announcer whoever it may be. Many times when the co-announcer says something positive he stays quite. Or for example when Nate made that wacky 3 pointer he did not acknowledge, but if that had been the other team his fingers would have been working on the replay. Again, not very evident yet, but you wait it’s coming. Count the criticism and compare, count the spurts of enthusiasm when the home team accomplishes something and compare. Clyde is a “Fan Buster”, don’t take my word for it. Listen closely. Watch him bring out the negative stats on the home team. Who’s the Razzle Dazzle remarks being directed to. If the knicks are sure to win an up coming game, clyde will take leave. I’ve watched him do that for a long time.

  58. Z-man

    Marion is possibly the best athlete in the league, with the quickest second jump I’ve ever seen. Chandler isn’t in that class athletically (and whoever compared him to Pippen above, are you out of your mind?).
    has Chandler ever played interior D in his life before this preseason? maybe he has, he just seems like a prototypical 3 to me.

    Yes I am out of my mind because I’m spending this much time even thinking about the subtleties of this mediocre team.

    That being said, the comparison to Pippen is based solely on his body type and raw skill set, and as opposed to comparing him to Marion. I was not trying to imply that they should be clearing a place for him in Springfield. However, look at Pippin’s stats at Chandler’s age, oh that’s right, he wasn’t in the league yet…OK, look at Pippen’s first year stats, which were not all that impressive. Also consider that Pippin played alongside the greatest player ever to play (didn’t take much to get an assist), and for arguably the best coach. Your arguments in your last post about Q probably apply to Pippen as well… although there is no question that he was a great and unique player, he was probably helped immeasurably by playing alongside Jordan.

    Regardless, he is probably the Knick with the most potential to be physically dominant at his position (SF) a few years down the road (other than Gallo), mainly because of his age, size, strength, and speed.

  59. Z-man

    Marion is possibly the best athlete in the league, with the quickest second jump I’ve ever seen. Chandler isn’t in that class athletically (and whoever compared him to Pippen above, are you out of your mind?).
    has Chandler ever played interior D in his life before this preseason? maybe he has, he just seems like a prototypical 3 to me.

    Yes I am out of my mind because I’m spending this much time even thinking about the subtleties of this mediocre team.

    That being said, the comparison to Pippen is based solely on his body type and raw skill set, and as opposed to comparing him to Marion. I was not trying to imply that they should be clearing a place for him in Springfield. However, look at Pippin’s stats at Chandler’s age, oh that’s right, he wasn’t in the league yet…OK, look at Pippen’s first year stats, which were not all that impressive. Also consider that Pippin played alongside the greatest player ever to play (didn’t take much to get an assist), and for arguably the best coach. Your arguments in your last post about Q probably apply to Pippen as well… although there is no question that he was a great and unique player, he was probably helped immeasurably by playing alongside Jordan.

    Regardless, he is probably the Knick with the most potential to be physically dominant at his position (SF) a few years down the road (other than Gallo), mainly because of his age, size, strength, and speed.

  60. Ted Nelson

    Jay Zee,

    The Knicks have been the laughing stock of the NBA, I kind of like that Clyde’s kept it real.

    Jon Abbey,

    Marion is definitely a very good player and athlete, and I really doubt Chandler will ever be as good overall. On defense Chandler may never be as good as Marion either, but he’s a pretty good athlete in his own right with great size for a SF. Therefore, I think he can guard 4s. Maybe not at an All-Defense level, but adequately.

    Z-Man,

    I disagree completely that Pippen is overrated for playing with Jordan. In fact, I think he might be underrated because of it: I constantly read about how Jordan won championships with an otherwise mediocre team. Remember that the Bulls won 55 games and played a tough series against the Knicks in the 2nd round of what was at the time the dominant conference without Jordan, i.e. with Pippen as their best player. Pippen was one of the best wing defenders of all time, and marked the other teams best wing scorer. He was also a great point-forward. For years every athletic wing in the draft was compared to Pippen for athleticism and/or playmaking ability. His scoring stats aren’t impressive, but it was also the deadball era.

  61. jay zee

    Ted Nelson

    Keeping it real is one thing. If that’s what he was doing, than I would agree. But for instance, when he criticized the point gaurd(i think it was nate, could have been crawford) in the first game for a turnover he caused by trying to push the ball up,
    by saying that he should have held the ball and let the receiver come to him, and then pass the ball, knowing very well that the coach wants them to push the ball, is not keeping it real. It’s searching for fault. By the way, the co-announcer checked him on that remark. At the very least, he should crtique, both teams the same.

    Clydes a Fan Buster, i just wanted to plant the seed so that fans listen to his remarks and realize.

  62. Thomas B.

    Did any of the Collins’ fans see last nights game? He looked absolutely terrible out there running the point in fourth quarter. ….this guy has got to go. I looked at the box score after the game and couldn’t believe he only had 3 turnovers. Probably the worst part about him though is that he has this ‘deer in headlights look’ when he’s out there. I almost feel bad for him, like he knows he’s not capable of playing at an NBA level.

    Word this cat look some type awful and shit.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iXqLFWx4bqY

  63. Ted Nelson

    Shawn,

    I’m a bit confused, Crawford’s TS% was significantly better under Larry Brown…
    In general Crawford has played heavy minutes for losing teams his entire career, I don’t think benching him would have significantly altered his teams’ performances (I mean they’ve consistently been among the worst in the NBA). On his career he’s a terribly inefficient scorer who should not carry a large offensive load. How many top 5 offenses have had a .520 TS% player taking 17.5 FGA/game? His turnstile D compounds the problem.
    If he limits his shot attempts and shoots at the .544 TS% of the LB year of higher he’s a valuable enough player, but with similar players in Marbury and Robinson he’s not automatically deserving of heavy minutes. I assume he will outplay them, but we’ll see.

    I think that the best way for Chandler to improve is simply to shoot less. He makes some positive contributions in other ways, but the guy can’t shoot consistently. He can finish at the rim and hit the occasional 3, otherwise I’d rather see the guy never shoot the ball.

    I’m not for Lee taking a Randolphesque 16.9 FGA/36, just significantly improving on his 9.4 from last season. A pace adjusted (meaning more under D’Antoni) 13 FGA/36 would put him in Malik Rose/Wilson Chandler territory, and probably result in over 16 pts/36 for him.

    I don’t think Curry necessarily must be benched. He’s useless except for his one tremendous skill of efficient scoring. Considering that the Knicks are not going to be a good defensive team (I highly doubt it anyway) they’ve got to be the best offensive team they can, and if Curry can get quick, easy, efficient points within the flow of the offense he’s going to help them do that. That said, he should probably be the 3rd or 4th bigman getting 20-25 mpg unless he proves he deserves more.

  64. Italian Stallion

    I think Chandler is a lot like Collins in that you can’t evaluate him by looking at his annual stats from last year. He didn’t get any playing time at all until late in the year and was CLEARLY improving his efficiency and overall play as the weeks went by. As far as I am concerned he’s still approximtately in the middle of his rookie season.

    IMO, the correct way to look as him is with something like a monthly moving average of stats because he is developing. Granted, last night was a poor game for him from the field, but it’s one game out of 4. He looked more like the very late season Chandler in summer league and in the first 3 games. I would not be surprised to see his FG% in the upper 40s this year despite taking more than a sprinking of 3 point shots and some youthful mistakes etc… I think we should be very excited by him. I can see why people looking at the overall stats are not as excited as I am, but I don’t think that’s the right way to value him. This is not a seasoned pro.

  65. jbug187
    Did any of the Collins’ fans see last nights game? He looked absolutely terrible out there running the point in fourth quarter. ….this guy has got to go. I looked at the box score after the game and couldn’t believe he only had 3 turnovers. Probably the worst part about him though is that he has this ‘deer in headlights look’ when he’s out there. I almost feel bad for him, like he knows he’s not capable of playing at an NBA level.

    Word this cat look some type awful and shit.

    Very eloquent. Looks like Isiah’s scouting techniques have been rubbing off on some people.

  66. S h a w n

    Ted,

    Okay, I guess where we disagree is that I believe Crawford is your best bet if he merely plays to his career average (still better than Marbury, Jones, or Duhon), whereas you seem to be more willing to tolerate only a year like he had in 2005.

    I think we agreed on the value of the Roland Rating; but I’m not so willing to accept the value of ts% as a measure of a guy’s season. I think you are; how else could you be willing to tolerate Curry?

    Anyway, I appreciate your critiques of Crawford. I just wanted to point out that D’Antoni’s recognition of his value is good news.

    You might be right about Chandler shooting less, but damm, if he wants he to be a decent 3 he’s going to need to learn to shoot.

  67. Ted Nelson

    IS,

    Most rookies don’t just jump right into the rotation, so I don’t think Wilson Chandler gets a free pass (just as I don’t think Mardy gets one for being injured). Every player takes a different development path, but I don’t think you can throw out a season of stats as an aberration until you have some evidence to confirm it was an aberration (i.e. a few more seasons of stats).

    I don’t disagree that Chandler has improved by leaps and bounds. He’s improved almost every aspect of his game… except scoring efficiency. During the 7 games he played in April (played 1 minute in 1 game and missed another, so I only counted the 7 he recorded stats in) he was quite efficient, but in the 15 games he played in March and the 4 preseason games so far he’s been terrible scoring efficiency wise.
    What’s disturbing to me is that he’s taking a Zach Randolph like number of FGAs so far this preseason. The guy’s shot 41.67% from downtown over his last 11 games and can clearly finish around the rim. This is why I think he’d be a much more productive player if he limited his FGAs to open 3s and getting to the hoop (easy buckets in transition, driving and cutting to the hoop, and more trips to the line) plus gets his FT% back up to its April level of 76%. I think he’d be a great starting forward and one of the Knicks’ best players if he did that or just generally learned to score efficiently (as he did for 7 games in April) on a consistent basis.
    Having watched Crawford for a few seasons and now Randolph at his worst for a season, I have little faith in Chandler improving his efficiency without changing/improving his shot selection. At a lower usage he could be a more explosive, better Raja Bell instead of a more explosive, worse Zach Randolph.

    I’ve broken down Chandler’s stats into the 15 March games, the 7 April games, and the 4 preseason games. (No summer league, but I guess that’s not against NBA competition anyway.)

    March 2008…April 2008…Preseason

    PER GAME
    MPG…24.9…32.1…24.75
    PPG….8…….13.7…12
    RPG…4.3…..6.43…8
    APG…1…….1.86….2
    SPG…0.4……0.7…..1.25
    BPG…0.6……0.7…..1.5
    TOs…0.7…..1.4……1.25
    PFs…2.9……3.4……2.25

    PER 36 MINUTES
    PTS…11.57…15.36…17.45
    REB…6.22…..7.2…….11.64
    AST…1.45…..2.08…..2.91
    STL…0.58…..0.80……1.82
    BLK…0.87…..0.80……2.18
    TOs…1.01….1.60…….1.81
    PFs….4.19….3.84…….3.27
    FGA..11.76…11.84…..17.09

    SHOOTING EFFICIENCY
    FG%…42.62…48.65…40.43
    3P%…23.53…41.67…41.67
    FT%…54.55…76.00…50.00
    eFG%..44.26…52.03…45.74
    TS%…45.57…56.47…47.51
    PSA…0.946…1.21…..0.95

  68. Ted Nelson

    Shawn,

    You’re right that I’m putting a lot of emphasis on scoring efficiency, I don’t really think that TS% alone tells you a player’s worth. However, I do think it’s been a major problem for the Knicks, and that improving their scoring efficiency would be the easiest way for them to improve as a team.
    I have very little hope for the defense; I would be happy to see them improve marginally to the top 25 in the NBA in defensive efficiency (from 29th last season). (I would like to see them at least cause more TOs, for more easy baskets in transition–they were 28th in forcing TOs last season.)
    So–rooting for them to win now, because a high lottery pick wouldn’t be the end of the world either– I take a look at the 4 factors to see what they need to do to improve the 23rd ranked offense of 07-08. (Something that seems likely with D’Antoni, a coherent offensive system, a couple acquisitions, and a “normal” season/environment.)
    Offensive Efficiency: 23rd

    TOs-18th
    OREB- 10th
    FT/FG- 16th
    eFG%- 27th

    Here are Phoenix’s 07-08 numbers for a comparison:
    Offensive Efficiency: 2nd

    TOs- 11th
    OREB- 29th
    FT/FG- 14th
    eFG%- 1st
    So, it seems reasonable (from only 1 season of data) to say that scoring efficiency is the key to D’Antoni’s system.

    To be honest, I’ve been focusing on scoring efficiency without even having looked at those numbers because it was that obvious that it was the Knicks’ main problem (and the numbers verify it). When you have 2 inefficient scorers like Randolph and Crawford dominating your offense, it’s never a good thing. If you have a top 5, top 10 defense you can get away with it, but not when you have one of the sorriest Ds in the NBA.

    As far as Crawford… his career average is a TS% of 51.3 which means a PSA–points per shot attempt–of 1.026. His career eFG% is 46.7. Theoretically, every possession that Crawford uses to try to score will result in 1.026 points (1.055 last season). Here are his teammates PSAs:

    Career (07-08)
    Lee: 1.242 (1.213)
    Curry: 1.163 (1.062)
    Marbury: 1.058 (1.054)
    Nate: 1.058 (1.052)
    Zach: 1.036 (1.027)
    Crawford: 1.026 (1.055)
    Duhon: 1.026 (1.015)
    Q Rich: 0.996 (0.888)
    Chandler: 0.960 (0.960)
    Jeffries: 0.945 (0.865)

    Unfortunately, Crawford’s not bad at using possession compared to his teammates: 6th career (3rd last season). Of course, the numbers for 08-09 will depend on who develops, thrives under D’Antoni, has a good season/off year, etc.
    I want to see Crawford on the court for his (relative) leadership and overall offensive skills, I’d just like to see him take a secondary scoring role to David Lee and maybe 1 or more of Randolph/Curry/Gallinari/Chandler/Marbury/Nate depending on how things go.
    If Crawford has a scoring efficiency year like 2005, then I would be all for him taking a bigger role in the offense–as the clear-cut primary scorer in the backcourt. If they’re all playing at their career numbers, I’d like to see Crawford deferring to some of his teammates.

    It was just a quick answer to a media question, but not addressing efficiency at all is what worries me about D’Antoni’s comments. Maybe it’s on his mind, but who knows.

  69. Bob Cook

    I commend this excellent article by Vecsey to all and sundry. Particularly if you want a shot of optimism from a credible source:

    http://www.nypost.com/seven/10192008/sports/knicks/knicks_already_appear_on_right_path_134314.htm

    And some comments from me after the Celtics game:

    It’s way too soon to complain about Chandler’s shooting. He played so sparingly last year that he’s almost still a rookie or perhaps a rookie and a half. I’m just delighted that he now looks like a guy that can make a contribution instead of a bust. I remember Pippin distinctly when he came into the league. Impressive all round player except he didn’t have a shot. By his third year, he sure found one. Maaaaybe Chandler can do likewise. Even half a Pippin would be pretty damn good. Consider Lee. Last year, he started making free throws and this year he is hitting that J. Chandler’s often been compared to Balkman (althletic; no shot) but Plastic Man had a couple of year to fail to develop and my rap on him is, unlike Lee, he couldn’t learn to shoot free throws.

    As one who posted that perhaps Z bo isn’t as bad as everyone says, it’s fine to see him play well and fit D’Antoni’s system. At worst, we can make a better trade than the ones Walsh turned down a couple of months back. No downside at all.

    During the time of Z-bo bashing, Curry was considered a second cancer but less severe. Now he’s the main disease but it’s early days. He deserves a lot of criticism for adding those inches and pounds but can’t be faulted for getting sick. So what does he do against the Celts? He blocks 3 shots in 15 minutes or so. I believe that equalled his output of all last year. He still looks lost but maybe there’s hope there also. He has ability for certain.

    Whenever JJ shows up, I have noted a comment by Walsh. He was badly misused at SF. Put him at 4 or 5 and you’ve got something. Let him wander around the perimeter and he’s a lost puppy. D’Antoni liked him in practice so I look forard to his return. He does seem to break a lot of bones, though. A bit like Nancy Reagan.

    I thought, in general, we played good and active D against the Celts compared to last year. Nate stealing the ball, good collapsing on KG etc.

    I guess Q is done. I can’t explain why he’s misplaced his shooting touch. His all around game is OK but no shoot; no play.

    Marbury seems grumpy and Crawford a bit lost so far but it’s more fun than last year already.

  70. njhoop

    D’Antoni has a lot of pieces to work with in game situations. Granted, none of them is a true star as we well know, but he’s got guys on the bench he can bring in for specific reasons: Mardy to try and shut down a bigger PG, Steph to draw fouls off the dribble, etc. Unfortunately, our undoing will be interior defense and not closing out on shooters, but I have a lot of trust that D’Antoni will maximize the hand he’s been dealt and at least give us a shot to win games. (BTW, did you see the shot he took at Isaiah in today’s Post about mishandling Jeffries? Love the guy’s candor)

  71. Italian Stallion

    Ted,

    It’s not so much that you get a free pass because you were injured or are a rookie as it is that IMO you have to use some subjective analysis to evaluate the probabilities etc…. The stats are a tool, not an answer.

    Mardy Collins has looked a lot better this summer and now in pre season than he did last year. He also looked better at the end of his rookie season than he did last year. IMO it is not out of line to conclude that his early season injury and inability to get steady playing time last year may have limited his effectiveness. That’s especially true because it’s clear he’s also in much better physical shape now. Is it a 100% certainty that last year was a total throwout? Obviously NOT. But it’s a 100% certainty that to evaluate the probabilities correctly you have to look at the details and not just assume that last was a true indication.

    In the case of Chandler, his improvement last year as the season went on and then into summer league were obvious both statistically and visually. 4 pre season games is too short a period of time to start hurling bombs at his efficiency.

    Efficiency is a great stat, but guys that shoot a lot from the outside are going to tend to have worse efficiency stats than guys that get all their points around the rim.

    The problem is that every team needs outside shooters. You can’t always get shots around the rim. Also, good outside shooters tend to open up those shots around the rim for other players. Someones’s efficiency stats are going to suffer from taking all those outside shots.

    It may be that Chandler is still taking too many of them or making some bad decisions about when to take them. But you can’t just cold compare his numbers to someone who is always around the rim. You have to compare them to someone else whose job it is to take a mix of outside/inside shots and then subjectively evaluate when he’s making shot selection mistakes or shooting poorly. A player should not be penalized for being given the green light to take outside shots just because it lowers his efficiency a little as long as he is taking smart shots and hitting a decent FG%.

    I think Chandler is still making lot of mistakes, but in my analysis I am WAY more forgiving of his mistakes because of his youth and inexperience than I am of Randolph because he should know better by now. The probabilities of Chandler becoming a better shooter, more efficient scorer, and better decision maker are much higher than for Randolph even though it hasn’t happened yet.

  72. Ted Nelson

    IS,

    Collins- He stunk his rookie year. If I remember correctly, he put up good per game stats but pathetic overall stats for the last stretch where he was forced to play heavy minutes (like I said, something you’d expect of most 12th-15th men). There are two seasons of evidence that he’s not an NBA player. His career PER is 7.7. It’s not like it’s an ok 10 that could improve to end-of-the-rotation status easily, he has to DOUBLE HIS PER to get to the NBA average. His career TS% is .417. You can blame it on vaginitis if you want, I take that to mean that the guy couldn’t shoot. If he improves, that’s one thing, but I don’t know how you can debate the fact that the guy has been absolutely terrible for 2 seasons.
    Could he develop into an NBA player? I’ve already said several times that I think he might and hope he does, but the PROBABILITY is that he’s out of the NBA in a couple of seasons. There just are not too many guys who have been as incredibly bad as Collins for 2 seasons and became solid rotation players, especially not 6-5 guys. I realize every case is different, but he hasn’t been ok when he’s gotten the chance to play, he’s been terrible. He’s also been practicing with the team for 2 seasons, certainly Isiah might not have known what he was doing but given the state of the Knicks over that timeframe I’d assume Mardy would have earned more minutes if he’d have played well in practice.
    If you can find evidence of 6-5 guards who were as bad as Collins for 2 NBA seasons and turned out to be solid rotation players I’d like to see it. There very well might be plenty of guys who did it. I just have a feeling any 6-5 player who was as bad as him and turned their career around demonstrated a specific above average basketball skill: passing, shooting, or quickness. Maybe for Collins that’s defense.
    Maybe he’s a good enough all-around player and has the character to stick around as a 12th man (like Royal Ivey, for example), but as far as making the rotation he’s going to have to be much improved. Another possibility is that he’s a late blooming defender in the Raja Bell, Bruce Bowen, Ime Udoka, etc. mold… I mean a lot of those type of guys weren’t even in the NBA until their mid to late 20s.
    I agree that he fits a nice role for the Knicks are a big, defensive guard, even with only minimal improvement from his previous 2 seasons. I also agree that he deserves a look at the 3, at least as much as Q does. If he does improve significantly, no one would be happier than me.

    Outside shooters- Last week or so I listed the top 30 players in the league in TS% from last season (you can find them on the stats page). There were plenty of perimeter players. So while I’d say inside players are at a slight advantage, perimeter players being at a huge disadvantage in terms of TS% is a fallacy.
    TS% is calculated by dividing the number of points scored by the number of possessions used (http://www.basketball-reference.com/about/glossary.html); therefore, it accounts for 3 pointers being worth an extra point and free throws. Not every perimeter player can be Nash or Manu or Deron, but in a perfect world the ones who can’t would limit their shot attempts. It would be nice for them to have better teammates, otherwise I guess I’d advocate sharing the ball.
    Every team is going to take some midrange jumpers (again, since we’re monitoring his progress on a daily basis to assure we don’t miss any improvement, Chandler’s 3 point shooting hasn’t been the problem recently) but not everyone on the team has to take 17 FGAs per 36 minutes (what Chandler’s at this preseason).

    Chandler- I’ve said most of this several times before, but here goes.
    I think Chandler is very capable of scoring efficiently (he did it for a 7 game stretch last April). He’s got a good outside shot and can finish around the hoop, which along with easy buckets should result in FTAs. However, I think he falls in love with his midrange jumper and forces shots that he just should not be taking. This is compounded by the fact that he’s been taking way too many shots this preseason (a situation that a couple of his teammates can relate to).
    If he were to limit himself to 3 pointers, lay-up/dunks, and the occasional 2 point jumper in the flow of the offense (spot ups, pull ups to complement his drives, etc.) I think he’d be a real weapon. If he continues with his current shot selection he might not even be in the league in a few years. I have no idea which one will be the case because it’s 99% up to Wilson Chandler, but based on the evidence I really think he could go either way. As a fan, I’m hoping he learns and improves.

  73. Italian Stallion

    Ted,

    LOL. I’m not talking about Collins becoming an All Star or starter(LOL). I am talking about him developing into a solid backup. IMO, he looked solid in those last few weeks of his rookie season (even Frazier was lobbying to work with him), he’s in much better shape this year than last year and he has looked fine to me in both summer league and pre season. It’s pretty much that simple.

    If you choose to focus on stats that may or may not be relevant because of injuries and being out of shape, that’s your choice. But I think a lot of his stats should weigh much less in an evaluation of him NOW than for players like Robinson and others where there were fewer mitigating circumstances.

    I think you are wildly underestimating Chandler as a prospect by looking at his overall stats from last year and 4 games this year and/or comparing them to the best players of the league without considering his age, extremely limited experience on the court, obvious level of improvement over a short period of time, obvious athletic ability and versatility, and all the reports of him being a hard worker. There are no guarantees in sports, but this is the best prospect the Knicks have had in a long time. We should pray that Gallinari shows this kind of potential when he finally gets his chance (even if stats look mediocre the the first few months).

    I’m starting to think everyone should spend a few years learning how to handicap games, horse racing etc… It gives you the mental models needed for using stats as a tool for analyzing complex situations with a lot of specific noise instead allowing them to dictate opinions.

    Let’s stick to something we all agree on. QRICH SUCKS!

  74. Z-man

    IS,
    I’m with you on Mardy. More importantly, D’Antoni and Walsh appear to be with us, which is what really counts; we’ll check back in a couple of months to see what happens.

    Went to the Pace open practice today. It was not very intense but very fan-friendly. Observtions:

    Steph looked in the best shape of everyone.
    Gallinari has a head too small for his body. He is significantly taller than Zach. It’s hard to visualize him as a 3.
    Team looked very upbeat and were very well received by fans.
    Zach hoisted up numerous 3′s during full-court drills. Seems like he’s being encouraged to take them.
    Q missed virtually every 3 he took, many were flat and short.
    Eddy and Jerome were perfectly suited to guarding each other.
    Knick City Dancers look better from a distance.
    Houston looked done.

  75. Ted Nelson

    Let me start by saying that I realize you don’t get every detail of a player’s season by looking at his stats. However, you do find out how productive he was on the court. Players break their necks and still play three times as well as Mardy has thus far in his career, which is why I seriously question the validity of the excuses you’re making for him. I have no doubt in my mind that he’s been a bad player for 2 seasons, even if you inflated his stats significantly to adjust for whatever vaginal injury he had… he still would have been bad. This is why I think it’s going to take more than getting in shape for him to be good, he’s going to have to improve almost every aspect of his game significantly. Certainly possible, just not that probable.

    Are there many examples of good NBA players who had bad rookie seasons and then were pitiful the next season because they were injured/ missed training camp? If this is the cause of Mardy’s struggles there should be plenty of examples of good players who posted .417 TS% and PERs of 4.4 over an entire NBA season at 23 years old because they missed training camp. Again, the rookie year, Clyde thing was a fallacy of per game stats that was well covered on this site at the time. Michael Jordan was a great basketball player and was Isiah, didn’t make them great executives. There’s probably a reason Clyde is in the broadcasting booth rather than the front office.

    I’m not sure what you mean by a “good backup.”
    You mock me for thinking you meant he’d actually be a good NBA player, so please explain to me what you mean… How good do you think he’s going to be?

    Here are my main points on Mardy:
    -He hasn’t been bad in his first 2 NBA seasons, he’s been terrible. These stats are relevant: they tell us how productive he’s been, although certainly not how productive he will be. They can help you figure out the probability of how productive he will be, however.
    -He’s going to have to improve significantly to make an NBA rotation. Again, I don’t doubt that it’s possible, it’s just less that certain.
    -You’re argument is your opinion, pure speculation. Remember that I’m not even saying you’re wrong, I’m just saying that the cold, hard data suggests that the chance is better that you’re wrong than that you’re right. If we used Holllinger’s predictions to determine everything there’d be a lot of good players not in the league, but he (as a symbol for anyone using stats to analyze the game) would have caught a lot of stupid mistakes not caught by ignorant, arrogant GMs who just “trust their gut.”

    “I’m with you on Mardy. More importantly, D’Antoni and Walsh appear to be with us, which is what really counts; we’ll check back in a couple of months to see what happens.”

    Again, Z-Man, I’m a bit confused as to what it means to be with IS on Mardy???? I’ve said I think he might develop into a decent NBA player, but I don’t see how anyone can deny that he’s been a terrible NBA player for 2 seasons. Whatever the reason, he’s been terrible. Mike Sweetney can blame his Krispy Kreme habit for ruining his promising career, but the fact is that he’s at home watching games on TV. All I’m saying is that Mardy’s been terrible to date, and better have improved over the offseason if he wants to stay in the NBA.

    I’m not sure how you can say with such confidence where D’Antoni and Walsh are on Mardy before the first game of the season… And where exactly do they stand on him? He’s their 5th guard??? Awesome.

    —————————————————————

    I have stated about 50 times that Chandler might be a good NBA player this season. I also went to great lengths to show exactly how much he’s improved. To be honest I am a bit bewildered that you keep trying to put me down by saying that I only look at full season stats. I spent a lot of time to break them down and look at them more carefully.

    I like Chandler, and have made every effort to say that he’s already a decent player who could be a very good starting forward if he starts scoring more efficiently. I’m not sure what you want me to say… he’s the next Scottie Pippen + Shawn Marion + LeBron James all rolled into one????

    At the same time as I apparently don’t appreciate how incredibly special a prospect Wilson Chandler is, I can’t even compare him to the league’s good players? Should I be comparing him to bad players? He’s better than Q!!!!!!!! Hallelujah!!!!! He’s better than Patrick Ewing’s son who wasn’t even a starter in college!!!!!!!!!!!!! Rejoice!!!!!!!!!!!!! Better than Dan Grunfeld??? Hell yes!!!!!! He’s a really special mediocre player, yeah!!!!

    Good players tend to be relatively good when they’re young. This is why I see no problem in analyzing a rookie’s stats, not as the end all and be all but certainly to tell you where someone has to improve: Chandler needs to score more efficiently. Chandler wasn’t terrible as a rookie, but he also wasn’t all that special even in his strong April.
    I think you’re seriously overestimating Chandler as a prospect because you’re a Knicks fan. Almost every team in the NBA has a SF who was as good or better as a rookie. Might he become something special, sure. In his own rookie class, though, there’s Thaddeus Young, Kevin Durant, plus a handful of SFs who also had bad to mediocre rookie seasons but have just as much potential as Chandler. A great pickup at #23 and a good prospect, but not exactly the answer to our prayers.

    My only point on Chandler has been that the guy is not an efficient scorer, although he could be. This fact is very obvious, and I’m not sure why you continue disagreeing about it. It’s like saying that to be good Curry needs to rebound more or play better D… Some guys learn to shoot, but a whole lot of guys don’t. I’m also rooting for Wilson, but there’s no reason to deny the obvious.

    I think Danilo is every bit as promising a prospect as Chandler at this point, and that Lee has been as promising over the past few seasons.

  76. Ben R

    Ted,

    I totally agree with you that Chandler needs to be alot more efficient. He seems to be one of only a couple players on the Knicks still forcing shots. If he can learn to take his shots within this offense his efficiency should go way up. Like you I am not sure if that will happen but at this point it seems to be his only big weakness. With that said even if he stays relatively inefficient he is still our best option at the three so I do want him to start, also his non shooting stats have been otherworldly so far this preseason. 11 rebs 3 asts 2 stls and 2 blks per 36 is absolutely mind blowing.

    As for Collins I agree he has been all kinds of terrible in his first two seasons. His nice rebounding, assist and point totals at the end his rookie year were accompanied by lots of turnovers and terrible shooting efficiency. But I have liked the way he has played in this preseason. He is really attacking the basket and is not settling for jumpers which is really his weakness.

    Even though he stuggled at the end of last game he still scored 10 points in 9 shots and overall his stats have been great:

    per 36 minutes:
    18.4 pts 5.6 rebs 2.8 asts 3.5 tos 1.4 stls with a 67% TS%

    I think this is more than being on a hot streak. He seems to have really changed his game. He is getting into the lane and seems much more comfortable in the off guard role that he has been playing.

    When the scrubs can out at the end of last game and he became the point guard the old mardy emerged with three turnovers and a couple of forced drives.

    If we can play him exclusivly at the 2 and 3 I truly believe that he will be at least servicable and if he keeps attacking the basket, when he has openings he could potentially be a nice middle efficiency, low usage defensive player for us.

    One concern I have in our rotation is that all our attack the basket players come off the bench. Robinson, Marbury and Collins are all getting into the lane while Duhon, Richardson and Crawford are all settling for jumpers. We need at least one of those three bench players to start so we can put more pressure with our starters.

  77. Z-man

    Ted,
    I am merely saying that Mardy is possibly a good player to have on the bench with this current team. You seem to be saying he has no place in the NBA. I totally agree that the sample I have seen of Mardy is not sufficient to come to the conclusion that you apparently have. I remember watching those last 10-15 games of his rookie year and being impressed by the way his game seemed to rapidly improve with playing time. i also think he was injured last year and that he has busted his ass in the off-season to make himself a better player. He is definitely a good defensive prospect, especially against bigger PGs, who nobody else on the team can deal with. He had some lapses in the 4th Q of the Celtic game, but has otherwise looked solid and has gotten praise from D’Antoni, who I hope knows better than either of us how to read a guy’s potential.

  78. Italian Stallion

    Ted,

    I think Collins will be the kind of backup PG that most teams in the league would be happy to have. I wouldn’t keep on bringing it up except that you keep saying he’s been a terrible player and I feel compelled to repeat that’s he’s only been terrible if you insist on looking at stats that may be entirely irrelevant. When he’s been healthy, in shape, and getting consistent playing time he’s been the kind of player I am envisioning – which is nothing like his overall stats. He’s been a solid backup PG.

    In your case against Chandler’s efficiency you brought up the stats of some of the most efficient players in the league as a comparison. Well of course he’s not that good yet. He’s a young kid. And of course his overall stats are mediocre. But the improvement line and talent is very clear.

    Here’s another way to think about it that makes perfect sense to racing handicappers, but is also applicable to all sports.

    When Secretariat made his first few starts, there were probably 100 or more horses in the country that were faster and better. However, you could see things right away that allowed you know that he was very likely to get a lot better with time and experience. His own “stats and personal final times” were irrelevant because you could see the improvement from race to race and could tell he possessed some critical athletic skills.

    You can see that with Chandler also. Of course I’m not calling him the Secretariat of the NBA. LOL. I used Secretariat because everyone knows of him. But the point is the same. Part of evaluating prospects in any sport is actually seeing the talents God has blessed them with and watching the progress, work ethic, etc… In the very beginning the stats are mostly irrelevant because they are raw and undeveloped. Maybe I’m wrong about Chandler, but I think he clearly has the potential to be an All Star caliber player despite his stats.

  79. Thomas B.

    IS,

    I feel your pain on the Collins thing. It seems that the only acceptable response to “what do you think of Collins” is “He sucks.” I dont think Collins could make All-Alantic division 3rd team, but that does not make him worthless. I advocate more minutes for him becuase there are things he does well, and because there are not many players on the team better than he is. Some of his offensive failings are minimized in a running offense because he can now score in transition rather than in the half court set.

    People seems to look at Collins in a vaccum rather than in the context of the team. Even a flwaed player can find time on a team if he can do something that the other memebrs cannot or will not do. I’m really, is Collins at the 3 any worse than Richardson right now?

  80. Italian Stallion

    Thomas,

    I would take a dead man over Q Rich at the 3. IMO, he was one of the major problems last year. I see nothing so far this year that makes me think he should ever be on the court, let alone starting and getting major minutes. It’s not like we are trying to develop a youngster who’s having some confidence or developmental problems. We are talking about a guy that could barely hit the ocean when he was peaking and is clearly on his way down.

  81. Ted Nelson

    Z-Man,

    If he plays the way he has over the past 2 years I can’t see how there could possibly be a place for Mardy Collins in the NBA. If he plays the ways he has in the preseason, then absolutely there is.
    I’m not sure what I seem to be saying, but what I have continuously repeated is that I think Mardy can develop into a good player. As Ben R says, he has been good in limited minutes so far this preseason.
    This discussion started with IS basically saying Collins stats from last season are irrelevant, I disagree: that’s how good he was last season, period. He got on the court and played at a certain level. If he really improved his game, then good for him.
    To say that young players stats are completely irrelevant and tell you nothing about their career is, however, simply not true. If Mardy Collins becomes an NBA player it’s because he’s significantly improved and he’s the exception, not the rule.

    IS,

    “you keep saying he’s been a terrible player and I feel compelled to repeat that’s he’s only been terrible if you insist on looking at stats that may be entirely irrelevant. ”

    Those are the ONLY stats he has in the NBA. He has been terrible for 2 seasons. I’m not sure why you keep arguing that he hasn’t. Whatever the reason, he’s been terrible.

    “When he’s been healthy, in shape, and getting consistent playing time he’s been the kind of player I am envisioning – which is nothing like his overall stats. He’s been a solid backup PG.”

    When was this?????? I think we’re going to have to look at a breakdown of his stats from his rookie year to determine who’s right. I’m quite confident that his per game stats were good, but his rate stats weren’t and his per minute stats weren’t overly impressive either. Maybe I don’t remember correctly.

    “In your case against Chandler’s efficiency you brought up the stats of some of the most efficient players in the league as a comparison. Well of course he’s not that good yet. He’s a young kid.”

    I really don’t think this is true. I broke down his stats into the two months he played a decent amount last season (March and April) and the preseason: in March and the preseason he’s been inefficient and in April he was quite efficient… the stats speak for themselves.
    The only reference I see myself having made to great players is when I said that perimeter players are not necessarily inefficient scorers. This is not completely related to the Chandler topic, and check the stats yourself if you don’t believe me.
    The only way it relates to the Chandler topic is that being a perimeter player does not give him license to be inefficient. If he can’t score efficiently then he shouldn’t shoot so much, which is probably true anyway. There just aren’t good perimeter scorers on good offensive teams that shoot terribly inefficiently and help their team. They just don’t exist.

    “And of course his overall stats are mediocre. But the improvement line and talent is very clear.”

    Dude, this is exactly my case, exactly the point I’ve been making. The kid is talented and has shown solid improvement, but he’s still been mediocre to date. Why you continue arguing about it is beyond me.

    “Here’s another way to think about it that makes perfect sense to racing handicappers, but is also applicable to all sports.”

    People saw the same thing with Harold Miner, Sam Bowie, Darko, Kwame Brown, Eddy Curry, etc., etc., etc. I’m not comparing any of them to WIlson Chandler, but hindsight is 20/20 my friend. Once someone becomes great it’s pretty easy to say that you saw it coming. The fact is that Chandler might become good, but fans of every NBA team are saying the exact same thing about their young players right now. In the end not all of them will be great.

    “In the very beginning the stats are mostly irrelevant because they are raw and undeveloped.”

    This is simply not true and this is where our real disagreement lies.
    With almost every NBA player you can see indications of their talent in their stats even as rookies. Sometimes it’s blatantly obvious, and sometimes it’s more like your Secretariat example where it only seems so clear in hindsight (Steve Nash for example).
    In general if a player is going to be great he’s already relatively great for his age, at least in one area if not overall. This doesn’t mean I have a way to predict with absolute certainty how good a rookie will be on his career from his box score stats (I’m pretty sure that would be impossible), but the stats are also not irrelevant and usually tell you a lot about the player.

    “Maybe I’m wrong about Chandler, but I think he clearly has the potential to be an All Star caliber player despite his stats.”

    Do you even bother to read my posts????????????? His stats aren’t that bad. They’re not great, but not terrible either. So far in preseason he’s looked great and much improved in every aspect except one, which happens to be an important one: shooting efficiency. To be anywhere close to an All-Star he HAS to step up the shooting efficiency back to his April levels, period. Not sure why you keep arguing about it. There just aren’t All-Star SFs with TS%s under 50%… maybe if he’s the defensive player of the year he can make the All-Star team without improving his scoring efficiency.
    As far as his talent… you aren’t the only person who sees it, believe me. It’s pretty freaking obvious that he’s got potential. A lot of great athletes with great potential fail in the NBA even if they work hard. These are the best basketball players in the world.
    I like Chandler’s chances of being a good NBA starter, both from the stats and my personal observations. But he’s got to start scoring more efficiently, that’s all I’m saying. He’s at least got all the tools–compared to a lot of prospects who just completely lack an important skill–he just has to put them together.

  82. Ben R

    I have to side with Ted here. Collins prior to this preseason has been uniformly bad. His rookie season even in April where he got lots of playing time was not good and last year was even worse.

    In April from his rookie year he looked good, he averagesd 14.8 points 6.7 rebounds and 5.8 assists, until you realize he is playing 44 minutes a game and averaging 4 turnovers with a TS% of 47.3%

    I do not think Collins is a point guard on the NBA level. He does not have the ball skills to be the primary ball handler. That is why he averaged 4 turnovers per game in april during his rookie season and why he looked so sloppy with the ball at the end of the Boston game.

    I think he is much better playing the 2 or 3. From that position he is an above average ball handler and passer and as long as he keeps picking his shots well he could become an efficient player. He is already a solid rebounder and good defender. I am cautiously optimistic about Mardy this year and just hope he keeps attacking the basket. I do not see him as a McKie or an Eric Snow but more of a Trenton Hassel or Quinton Ross. I solid defensive wing with limited offensive skills. Maybe he can become more but that would require huge improvments.

    As for Chandler if you look closer at Chandler’s stats his game started to improve actually in the second half of March last year and by April he was very good just as Ted said.

    Also his FGAs were consistant during his rookie season at just under 12 per 36. I think that is the right amount of shots for him and I do not think he was over shooting last year, and instead his low efficiency to start the season was truly him acclemating to the NBA. This year however, starting in summer league, he is shooting much more. He is now shooting over 17 FGA per 36 which is more than his skill can support. I think ever since summer league he has been forcing too many shots and not trusting the offense to provide him with the best oppotunities.

    I do not think that forcing shots is going to be a long term problem and I fully expect Chandler to get back closer to his rookie season averages of 11-12 shots per 36. I think he is still trying to find his role. When that happens and he takes the shots the offense provides he will return to his late last season form.

    Once that happens if he can continue to even approach his 11 rebs 3 asts 2 stls 2 blks averages he has now we are taking about a special player.

  83. S h a w n

    Ted, if offensive efficiency was the Suns’ hallmark then it’s on D’Antoni’s mind. His seven-second offense seems to be about getting easy shots and reducing turnovers, both elements of efficiency.

    I’ll go ahead and weigh in on Collins. It’s astounding that anyone would call him a point guard. The only possible justification must be that it makes his inability to shoot seem more palatable. Not only is he horrendous, he regressed last season. Paying luxury tax on his salary adds insult to injury.

  84. Ted Nelson

    Ben R,

    Thanks for posting Mardy’s April 2007 stats. I think you’re right that he could be better off on the wing, if he proves to be an above average defender on wings and keeps his scoring efficiency respectable. Eric Snow isn’t a great comparison in that he was a much better playmaker than Mardy, so he had 2 skills that allowed him to make up for his inefficient scoring (defense being the other). I think Aaron McKie could be a good comparison, though, he had a career assist-rate of 18 while Hassel and Ross are both around 10. Mardy’s at 19 mostly as a PG, but I could see him above 15 as a wing (not like he’s going to be shooting a lot). McKie’s career TS% was .514, but as low as .410 and .454 for full seasons.

    I certainly expect the Wilson Chandler will be at least reasonably efficient as a scorer. The only disagreement I really have is that I thought he shot too much as a rookie. Not from the stats (12 FGA/36 is fine), but early in the season I remember feeling like he literally chucked the ball towards the basket every time he touched it. Something he can definitely correct and maybe just a sign of inexperience, but it’s why I’m a bit pessimistic about his nature (leading me to compare him to chuckers like Jamal and Zach). If he had picked up this preseason where he left off in April I wouldn’t even mention it, but I just get the feeling his tendency is to be a chucker and he’s going to have to address it head-on by changing his shot selection/ approach. I guess that’s about the same thing as saying he has to find his role.

    Shawn,

    Efficiency was definitely the hallmark of his offense in Phoenix, I’m just not 100% convinced whether he knows that. He probably does, it seems pretty obvious and he seems like a smart enough guy and good coach. However, I do think there’s a slight chance that he just got lucky to have a great team that Bryan Colangelo built with efficient scorers like Nash, Amare, Marion, Barbosa and some very gifted passers. I’m being very pessimistic, but without knowing the man I don’t feel qualified to say. He struggled with a bad team in Denver and was great with a great team in Phoenix, so I’m waiting to see how he does with what I would consider a mediocre team in NY. I’m certainly expecting good things, at least in the medium-term.

  85. joeyd

    I have to side with Ted here. Collins prior to this preseason has been uniformly bad. His rookie season even in April where he got lots of playing time was not good and last year was even worse.
    In April from his rookie year he looked good, he averagesd 14.8 points 6.7 rebounds and 5.8 assists, until you realize he is playing 44 minutes a game and averaging 4 turnovers with a TS% of 47.3%
    I do not think Collins is a point guard on the NBA level. He does not have the ball skills to be the primary ball handler. That is why he averaged 4 turnovers per game in april during his rookie season and why he looked so sloppy with the ball at the end of the Boston game.
    I think he is much better playing the 2 or 3. From that position he is an above average ball handler and passer and as long as he keeps picking his shots well he could become an efficient player. He is already a solid rebounder and good defender. I am cautiously optimistic about Mardy this year and just hope he keeps attacking the basket. I do not see him as a McKie or an Eric Snow but more of a Trenton Hassel or Quinton Ross. I solid defensive wing with limited offensive skills. Maybe he can become more but that would require huge improvments.
    As for Chandler if you look closer at Chandler’s stats his game started to improve actually in the second half of March last year and by April he was very good just as Ted said.
    Also his FGAs were consistant during his rookie season at just under 12 per 36. I think that is the right amount of shots for him and I do not think he was over shooting last year, and instead his low efficiency to start the season was truly him acclemating to the NBA. This year however, starting in summer league, he is shooting much more. He is now shooting over 17 FGA per 36 which is more than his skill can support. I think ever since summer league he has been forcing too many shots and not trusting the offense to provide him with the best oppotunities.
    I do not think that forcing shots is going to be a long term problem and I fully expect Chandler to get back closer to his rookie season averages of 11-12 shots per 36. I think he is still trying to find his role. When that happens and he takes the shots the offense provides he will return to his late last season form.
    Once that happens if he can continue to even approach his 11 rebs 3 asts 2 stls 2 blks averages he has now we are taking about a special player.

    i dont think you judge collins as turnover prone siting his first month of full time play in the nba. The pg position is similar to a mnfl qb, the overall speed of the game requires adjustment.

    I like mardy as a pg, his ball handling is more than adequate, he can at least be as good as eric snow.

  86. Italian Stallion

    Ted,

    We are talking past each other.

    I hate to repeat this again but here goes.

    IMO, when analyzing rookies and/or players with mitigating circumstances you have to take stats with a grain of salt. IMO you need to use a higher level of subjective/visual analysis than you would with a seasoned developed veteran. If you disagree with that, so be it. We’ll have to agree to disagree.

    This is the way I analyze Mardy.

    Mardy didn’t play much at all in his rookie yearn until the last few weeks of the season when the Knicks had a lot of injuries. When he finally got a chance to play very late in the season, IMO he showed signs of being a decent backup prospect VISUALLY/ATHLETICALLY etc…. Showing me his stats for the whole year or even pointing out his high turnover rate or 40% shooting during that late season period is somewhat meaningless to me. Those are the kinds of things I expect from most rookies when they first get a chance to play. His total minutes on the floor were less that we have spent sending messages back and forth to each other about him now. ;-)

    Last year he was hurt, started out the season way behind, and didn’t get much playing time at all. So I was somewhat skeptical that we saw his best. I was waiting to see what he looked like this year.

    This year, he’s in shape again and has looked good to me in both summer league and pre season. I am seeing the same things I saw in those last few weeks in his rookie season. Basically, I am seeing a talent/skill level, work ethic, etc.. that leads me to believe he will continue to develop into a nice backup for the Knicks or someone else. He is still very unseasoned, but does have some skill/talent, size etc… and a good work ethic.

    If you insist on pointing out stats that I feel are either irrelevant or that must be taken with a grain of salt because of his experience level and mitigating circumstances, then we can’t agree (which is fine). We will simply have to agree to disagree about how to analyze him and/or the potential of developing prospects.

    I can also see that his stats sucked and that he looked terrible at times. I am simply focusing my analysis on the times I think are the most relevant to evaluating him properly.

    My analysis of Chandler is similar. I’m not concerned about his shooting efficiency because he’s extremely inexperienced and highly likely to improve because of the talents, skills, and work ethic that is already very appernt to me. Some of it is simple decision making.

    IMHO, is conversation should primarily be about skill sets, athletic talent, work ethic, intelligence etc.. The stats they have earned to date are a minor part of the analysis.

    I think we should put this to rest and agree to agree on some things, agree to disagree on some things, and try to stop talking past each other. ;-)

  87. Thomas B.

    according to today’s Post, Chris Duhon is expected to be named the captain shortly after the season starts.
    !!!

    If true this would be quite the smack in the face to last year’s captains. I think it makes sense since the team had zero leadership last year. Though it seems that Duhon gets the honor by default. It cant be Marbury obviously. Crawford is too passive except when it comes to the off-balance jumper. Richardson is too beat up. Chandler, PEJ, Collins, and Gallo are too young. Robinson is too headstrong. Randolph too unrelaiable. Rose is too stuck to the bench. James is too well, take your pick. JJ is to often injured. Curry is too out of shape.

  88. Z-man

    Again, I agree completely with IS on Mardy, but no matter. D’Antoni seems to be leaning towards keeping Mardy on the roster, so we can actually see who’s right on this down the road. In reality, we are spending lots of time talking about the 11th or 12th player on a team projected to win 30 games or so and for a coach who only plays 8 or 9 guys anyway–its pretty moot.

    Anyway, I hope that YOU hope you are wrong here, i.e. wouldn’t it be great if Mardy defied your expectations based on his past stats? I will concede that he will probably never be a prototypical PG, but on this team, that probably doesn’t matter. His versatility could trump his skill at any one position. Maybe he will serve as sort of a miniature Malik Rose, who has carved out a pretty good career despite being unsuited for any single position.

    On another note, I don’t see why anyone on this team should be named captain, and certainly not Duhon, who has proven nothing at the pro level yet. How about naming Mardy captain? (just kiddin’, Ted)

  89. caleb

    Collins has been worse than bad on offense the last two seasons, and even if he’s one of the best defenders on the Knicks, he’s no stopper. (He’s no Balkman, either, but that’s another story).

    12th man on a sub-.500 team? Ok. Good, ever? No. The absolute, wildest dream, best-case scenario for Collins is a Lindsey Hunter type, or a bigger slower version of Keyon Dooling. It’s preseason, I can dream.

    I side with the people who find the stats very useful. Not sure why it’s such a debate in this case — does anyone actually think Collins looks good, away from the stat sheet?

    Chandler – pretty good prospect, but anyone who mentions him in the same breath as Shawn Marion or Scottie Pippen should… should…. hell, it’s a free country, say what you want.

  90. Ted Nelson

    “IMO, when analyzing rookies and/or players with mitigating circumstances you have to take stats with a grain of salt. IMO you need to use a higher level of subjective/visual analysis than you would with a seasoned developed veteran. If you disagree with that, so be it. We’ll have to agree to disagree.”

    I don’t disagree with that, only that the stats are useless. I’m quite sure stats vary more for young players due to development, plus the small sample size makes it harder to read. They’re not useless though. There are always excpetions and I agree that some common sense can be applied to find them (Mike Sweetney, for example), but if the rule is right the majority of the time it’s definitely useful.

    “Showing me his stats for the whole year or even pointing out his high turnover rate or 40% shooting during that late season period is somewhat meaningless to me. Those are the kinds of things I expect from most rookies when they first get a chance to play.”

    There are plenty of rookie who get minutes in the NBA every year, and very few of them who play as poorly as Mardy did his rookie year get minutes.

    “Last year he was hurt, started out the season way behind, and didn’t get much playing time at all. So I was somewhat skeptical that we saw his best. I was waiting to see what he looked like this year.”

    I’m sure he wasn’t at his best last year, but players go through a lot worse and still manage to have productive seasons. Isiah might not have always used his best personnel, but Mardy had a golden opportunity when Marbury was sent home. Being out-of-shape just isn’t an excuse for missing that opportunity to me, unless I’m underestimating the severity of Mardy’s injury. Again, he wasn’t bad, he was mind-numbingly terrible. That’s not my opinion of him as a player or person, just a fact.

    As far as this season, I’m with you that he looks better. If he’s a solid NBA player I think it will easily be one of the biggest turnarounds in NBA history, and I would be really happy.

    “He is still very unseasoned,”

    He’s 24, that’s only a year younger than Eddy Curry. This is one reason I’m not so willing to cut him slack for being young/inexperienced.
    However, maybe because he’s an average athlete who rellies on his smarts/experience it’s logical that he’s taking longer to get up to speed in the NBA…

    “I’m not concerned about his shooting efficiency because he’s extremely inexperienced and highly likely to improve because of the talents, skills, and work ethic that is already very appernt to me. Some of it is simple decision making.
    IMHO, is conversation should primarily be about skill sets, athletic talent, work ethic, intelligence etc.. The stats they have earned to date are a minor part of the analysis.”

    I agree that Chandler should become a respectable NBA scorer, which is more than I can definitely saw about Collins, for example. What bugs me about him is that he definitely has the talent–he posted a 56% TS% in April, in only 7 games but still… Maybe I’m just jaded by Crawford and Randolph and Richardson, and that’s why I’m so pessimistic of players improving their scoring efficiency.

    However, again, it would be a huge mistake to say that young player’s stats mean nothing. If you can say that there have been 10 players with similar 20 year old seasons to Chandler and 8 have turned out this way, 1 this way, and 1 this way it gives you a pretty reasonable idea of how good you can expect him to be (it’s imperfect, but I’ve often been suprised by how accurate similarity scores are…). If no one who ever put up similar stats ever stuck in the NBA for 5 years, on the one hand, or wasn’t an All-Star, on the other, you have a pretty good idea of the probabilities for a player. I have hardly researched this at all, but there are people who have. Take, for example, the draft. You might say college stats are meaningless, but there’s a lot of evidence against you.
    Take young guys like Michael Redd, Ben Wallace, Jermaine O’Neal, Tracy McGrady, etc., etc. who didn’t necessarily distinguish themselves early on in per game stats, but looked great in per minute and rate stats. Or, a guy like Steve Nash who looked overwhelmed but distinguished himself as a superior passer and shooter. The same is true for talented, athletic young players who a team is very high on and spends a lottery pick on but find themsleves out of the league in a few years, this is often also predictable with advanced stats.

    I guess it doesn’t really matter to fans, except keepers fantasy leagues and tempering expectations. For a team though, I think it’s pretty important to know what you have so you don’t let the next Ben Wallace go or clear the way for the next overrated, overpaid underperformer.

    In the end, I’m not sure I could show you anything to convince you Mardy won’t be the a future 6th man of the year and Wilson a future All-Star, and I’m not telling you you’re wrong. Just to use the stats as a tool to see what the chances are for both of them to develop.

  91. Ted Nelson

    IS,

    By the way, I meant to mention that I agree on the talking past each other and tried specifically not to do that in that last post.

  92. Ted Nelson

    Z-Man,

    I’m a bit confused… He’s going to be a quality backup and the Knicks’ 11th-12th man at the same time? The Knicks’ starting PG is the definition of quality backup. The Knicks have a lot of backcourt depth relative to the talent level of their overall roster, but I think the point is still valid.

    A big difference between Rose and Collins is that Rose was a F/C in his prime while Collins is a G. The number of athletic 6’0″-6’6″ guys competing for Collins’ job is far greater than the number of bigmen competing for Rose’s (Rose, of course would be out of the NBA by now if not for his guaranteed deal, back in his day I mean).

    I certainly hope Mardy does well, and at some point we very well might be wondering whether Duhon should be benched for Mardy. I don’t disagree with IS that Mardy MIGHT be OK this season. The main point I really disagree with him on is that young players’ stats are irrelevant. If you agree with him on this point, I seriously suggest you spend some time on basketball-reference.com

    I thought Crawford would end up as captain, and would have liked to see Lee. But seeing as I spend zero time around their locker room, I have no idea. Duhon seems like a good enough choice (one of the few Knicks–besides Rose–who has won at any level after high school, anyway).

  93. b

    mardy looks slow in this offense, slow the pass the ball, slow to settle himself. nate looks especially quick.

    does anyone know what size rotation d’antoni will be using? how many minutes guys will likely play? are we going to be rolling ten or eleven deep with country crocked minutes, or reduce it to eight or nine with top heavy minutes? we look good against this bad nets team.

  94. jon abbey

    Chandler looks good every time I see him, I think he’s legit. he has a real nose for the ball, and is a very good scorer.

    Crawford, on the other hand, seems to be totally lost in a system that you’d think would be ideal for him.

  95. Latke

    does anyone know what size rotation d’antoni will be using? how many minutes guys will likely play? are we going to be rolling ten or eleven deep with country crocked minutes, or reduce it to eight or nine with top heavy minutes? we look good against this bad nets team.

    D’Antoni prefers shorter rotations, giving guys specific roles… So expect an 8 man rotation tops.

  96. Mustafa

    Chandler’s talent is undeniable.
    I’m glad that Zeke is not around to ruin this kid’s game.
    Yes, he drafted him. At the same time, Isiah could’ve destroyed Chandler’s confidence by having him nailed to the bench. He only got some daylight last season when the season was already lost.

  97. jon abbey

    “D’Antoni prefers shorter rotations, giving guys specific roles… So expect an 8 man rotation tops.”

    we’ll see, this is one of the problems the last few NY coaches have run into. our starters mostly stink, but our depth is good, so it’s tempting to play 10 or 11 guys and never develop a real rotation.

  98. Thomas B.

    Chalk up one more awful game for Collins. 1-6 FGM 0-3 3FGM 0 Reb 3 ast 1 TO in 26 minutes.

    Oh wait, that was Crawford.

    I’d like to have Nate or Steph starting at the two, Steph is probably the best choice as we need Nate’s energy off the bench.

    Chandler is < Pippen
    Chandler is Richardson
    Chandler is > most of the players drafted ahead of him

  99. Thall

    Heri the Traveler. He will come in one of the pre-chosen forms. During the rectification of the Vuldrini, the traveler came as a large and moving Torg! Then, during the third reconciliation of the last of the McKetrick supplicants, they chose a new form for him: that of a giant Slor! Many Shuvs and Zuuls knew what it was to be roasted in the depths of the Slor that day, I can tell you!

  100. cbrooklyn

    looks like the addition of duhon can actually help steph’s game a bit, maybe it can work similar to the eric snow/AI combo..of course steph may not be good as AI, but right now he looks like a better option than crawford…..steph was even playing D tonight!!! Maybe crawford does better off the bench????
    As does Q-rich????
    looking forward to the next game against celts….dont want to get hopes up to high but its good to at least see the knicks actually run an offense………….

  101. Italian Stallion

    Ted,

    I think we don’t disagree about much despite this extended conversation. ;-)

    I guess what I have been stressing is that IMO when evaluating rookies, very young players, or even players that haven’t had a lot of time on the court despite being around awhile, stats are not an indication of semi-permanent ability. They are a baseline from which you try to project their ultimate performance level based on the athletic ability, work ethic etc.. that you also see.

    When I evalaute a guy like Randolph, I worry about his efficiency because we’ve pretty much seen everything he has to offer. The best case scenario is that D’Antonio corrects some of the mental errors.

    When I evaluate a guy like Chandler, I’m expecting his shot to improve, his shot selection to improve etc… I say that partly because he’s such an unseasoned player (he hasn’t even really played 1/2 a rookie season yet), but partly because of the talent and work ethic that is apparent.

    I don’t think Mardy Collins will ever be a 6th man, but I think he’s already found a backup role on this team with his size/versatility and ability to get to the hoop. I expect him to improve further despite the fact that this is his 3rd season because he hasn’t played much and is working really hard. I think an important thing for him to work on now is freethrows because he gets to the hoop and gets fouled a lot.

    Here a little background.

    I’m a horseracing handicapper. I’ve spent decades calculating and analyzing racing stats/figures used to evaluate the talents of horses. Some of that thinking has become part of my thinking about other sports.

    Here’s a story.

    When Secretariat made his debut, he finished 4th in slow time against a very mediocre field. Statistically, he was just another mediocre horse beginning his racing career. However, observant analysts noticed that he got out of the gate badly because he got banged by horses on either side of him. So he wound up far behind early. He was then stuck in traffic for awhile. When the jockey finally got him loose, he acclerated with the kind of speed that you typically only see among very special horses. The sharpest observers knew that this could be the beginning of something special despite the mediocre looking performance. He went on to win his next start, but it took awhile for him to become the monster he eventually became. The same kind of thing is applicable to all horses. In fact, projecting development is a critical skill.

    It’s been my experience that the same kind of analysis is critical to all other sports and games when evaluating inexperienced talent. You look at what they’ve done so far on paper (a baseline) and project out based on the talents you’ve seen that remain raw.

  102. foliveri

    I have to say I’m very happy that the Knicks aren’t living in upside-down world anymore.

    In right-side-up world, otherwise known as knickerblogger.net:
    Marbury is a shooting guard.
    Crawford is a low percentage, “high volume shooter,” who needs to adapt to a more efficient style of play where he must pass.
    The Knicks have a point guard who distributes.
    David Lee is a starter.
    Chandler is an athletic freak, who is fast and powerful, with a nice stroke and a penchant for rocking dunks.
    Nate is an off the bench, explosive talent, who can shoot from downtown.
    The players must fit the coaches plan.
    Players play with purpose and enthusiasm befitting multi-million dollar contracts.
    Eddy Curry is an undisciplined, unfit, bench-warmer and foul machine.

    Finally, someone is seeing the world as it is.

    The only surprise in all this is Zach, but it appears that an open style of play like this makes him very tough to guard, and he can run.

    I can’t wait to see Jared Jeffries moving in a fast paced offense and playing defense with his reach and athleticism. I have been one of the few people who thought he deserved more minutes.

    Anyway, it’s clear the Knicks will lose their share of games this year. But rather than deceiving myself about the Knicks chances, I’m seeing real reason for hope.

  103. Madibhai

    Did anyone hear that Dantoni may be naming Duhon the captain of the team? Also what do you think of his stat line last night against the Net’s?

    Walsh has already explained to use that the 2008/2009 season is a wash.

    I think that Dantoni has been instructed to start Q and get his trade value up. Q will start ahead of Chandler, so that Q’s value goes up and thus making him easier to trade.

    Randolph is the same situation of increasing the trade value.

    I think that Walsh and Dantoni want to sign Lee and Robinson to long term contracts but in order to do that they have to get a bit more creative on how they are going to get under the cap.

    Everyone knows that

    Jerome James – Kmicks are looking to buy him out or get him to retire thus he has no trade value.

    Zach Randolph – shopped around the league and no real takers for anything of value.

    Stephon Marbury – shopped around the league buyout candidate so no real value.

    So the trick now is to boost up the value of Q Richardson, Jared Jeffries before his leg broke, and Jamal Crawford, these three contracts if these guys are contributors are easier to trade than those behemoth contracts that Zach and Stephon have.

    They are making moves based on the vision and are sticking with the end game, which is to get the cap room in 2010. Walsh said it so himself. Everything else is a precursor to 2010. I can see this team going on a decent run everyone get excited and then someone who is a key contributor is shipped off and then everyone will go nuts.

  104. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Post author

    Here’s a story.

    When Secretariat made his debut, he finished 4th in slow time against a very mediocre field. Statistically, he was just another mediocre horse beginning his racing career. However, observant analysts noticed that he got out of the gate badly because he got banged by horses on either side of him. So he wound up far behind early. He was then stuck in traffic for awhile. When the jockey finally got him loose, he acclerated with the kind of speed that you typically only see among very special horses. The sharpest observers knew that this could be the beginning of something special despite the mediocre looking performance. He went on to win his next start, but it took awhile for him to become the monster he eventually became. The same kind of thing is applicable to all horses. In fact, projecting development is a critical skill.

    It’s been my experience that the same kind of analysis is critical to all other sports and games when evaluating inexperienced talent. You look at what they’ve done so far on paper (a baseline) and project out based on the talents you’ve seen that remain raw.

    The problem with this analogy is there are tons of them in basketball, but in the other direction. Replace “Secretariat” with “Jermaine O’Neal”, “got out of the gate badly” with “per minute stats”, and “sharpest observers” with “APBRmetricians”. For each Boris Diaw (a player who exceeded his early per minute stats) there are many Jermaine O’Neals, Ben Wallaces, Michael Redds (players who had encouraging per minute numbers even with small amounts of playing time).

    I think your analogy is an argument for statistical analysis. Keen observers were able to see the greatness in Secretariat because of using methods they knew produced greatness in other race horses. We have the same in the NBA – per minute stats. We can tell many of the great players early on due to their per-minute stats.

  105. caleb

    I’m quite sure stats vary more for young players due to development,

    Not sure “vary” is the right word — stats (meaningful, per-minute stats) improve much more for younger players — over a group of players, the younger they are the more improvement you should expect.

    There are plenty of rookie who get minutes in the NBA every year, and very few of them who play as poorly as Mardy did his rookie year get minutes.

    This is true – more than that, he wasn’t just a rookie — he was a 22-year-old, college senior rookie. Chandler was almost as bad his rookie year, but he was 19. Predictably, he’s gotten a lot better.

    When I evaluate a guy like Chandler, I’m expecting his shot to improve, his shot selection to improve etc… I say that partly because he’s such an unseasoned player (he hasn’t even really played 1/2 a rookie season yet), but partly because of the talent and work ethic that is apparent.

    Chandler is > most of the players drafted ahead of him

    Not sure I agree — if they re-drafted today, he’d go higher than 23, but probably 12-15, not high lottery.

    I vote for the 3-guard lineup.

    Does anyone else have a bad, bad feeling about the Gallinari experiment? Are we looking at another Jonathan Bender?

  106. Ted Nelson

    IS,

    “I think we don’t disagree about much despite this extended conversation. ;-)
    I guess what I have been stressing is that IMO when evaluating rookies, very young players, or even players that haven’t had a lot of time on the court despite being around awhile, stats are not an indication of semi-permanent ability. They are a baseline from which you try to project their ultimate performance level based on the athletic ability, work ethic etc.. that you also see.”

    Agreed that we don’t disagree that much…

    You’re definitely right that stats for these types of players aren’t necesarrily accurate, because of how small the sample size is and the development that tends to occur with young players.
    The thing with Collins is that his sample size wasn’t THAT small and he played SO badly that I really think he will be a statistical freak if he continues playing as well as he has in the preseason (or at least is a decent NBA player). What really interests me is that when he came out of college the skills people were talking about were things like veteran poise… Combine that with the factors you’ve brought up, and I think it could be logical if he blooms late (aka stays in the league).
    Love Chandler as a prospect, I just think his scoring efficiency is a red flag that needs to be monitored (although I would guess that last night’s performance pulled his preseason TS% into respectable territory).

    I also don’t put as much weight on minutes played as you, I don’t think. Certainly players have to adjust to the NBA game; however, I figure that only a fraction of the time NBA players spend on a basketball court/learning the game is in regular season NBA games (besides certain hefty Knicks centers). Maybe I’m wrong, but I’d guess that if Mardy Collins had worked as hard last offseason/regular season as he did this offseason he’d have been ready to go after playing 777 minutes as a rookie. Maybe the injury was a bigger set back than I thought.

    “It’s been my experience that the same kind of analysis is critical to all other sports and games when evaluating inexperienced talent. You look at what they’ve done so far on paper (a baseline) and project out based on the talents you’ve seen that remain raw.”

    Basically agree with Mike K: that’s what stats are for. This is how Hollinger often predicts break-out players or how several analysts have been able to develop models to predict the outcomes of drafts far better than the average GM/scout. Another example–one that doesn’t really have to do with young players, but that Owen will be glad I mentioned–is Berri predicting the exact number of wins the Sixers would have after dealing AI, when most observers thought they were going to be terrible.
    There are going to be exceptions… just as Mike Sweetney never got in shape and some disinterested prospects never develop their games, some horse might never correct the problem that’s holding him back. And just as Mardy Collins might really have improved, some mediocre horse might go from dead last his first two races to half way decent in race 3 (I guess, I mean I know nothing about horses). If you can tell the majority of the time who’s going to be compared to Secretariat and who’s going to be an also ran, though, that’s pretty good.

  107. Thomas B.

    Chandler is > most of the players drafted ahead of him

    Not sure I agree — if they re-drafted today, he’d go higher than 23, but probably 12-15, not high lottery.

    It is worthy of debate. 22 players ahead of Chandler that year; I think I can find 11 he is better than right now. He doesnt have the upside that some of the other players ahead of him have, but right now is he contributing more than the following players-btw the list gets weaker as it procceds:

    Dequan Cook, Jared Dudley, Marco Belinelli, Corey Brewer, Acie Law, Spencer Hawes, Yi Janlian, Brandon Wright, Jason Smith, Joakim Noah, Greg Oden (kidding), okay seriously now Javaris Crittedon. Clearly has been better than some on the list, but most could argue either way. If you redrafted today, he would be a lottery pick. Probably would not crack top 10 because his upside is not that of a Julian Wright. I agree 12-15 is where he would end up, unless Thomas had the 10th pick.

    Does anyone else have a bad, bad feeling about the Gallinari experiment? Are we looking at another Jonathan Bender?

    I dont think so. But I may revist that if that disc has to be removed. I don’t know if back problems are more troublesome than knee problems, which is what Bender had. I have read that a bulging disc is managable if you can keep the swelling down. He is young and that may improve the odds of this being a just a minor health hiccup. I think is is wise that the Knicks are not rushing him back. They don’t have a pressing need for his services right now. I think he will be okay. Lots of players have played with a bulging disc and they were just fine.

  108. Ted Nelson

    Caleb,

    I used the word “vary” loosely.

    It’s a bit early to say I guess, but I could see him going anywhere from 6th to 17th if a re-draft were held tomorrow.
    Would and probably should be drafted ahead:
    Oden, Durant, Horford, Thaddeus Young, Rodney Stuckey
    Guys I could see GMs taking, but really a matter of opinion:
    Rudy Fernandez, Gasol, Conley, Noah, Brandan Wright, Brewer, Green, Sean Williams, Crittenton, and (god forbid) Al Thornton…
    There are 8 guys taken ahead of him that I can’t possibly see being as good as him (including Thornton).

    I think Chandler’s got to be in the rotation, as long as he’s not shooting too often at an unacceptable efficiency. I think he’s probably the Knicks’ best defender at the 3 or 4 spots… although I guess KG would disagree and go with Zach Randolph. And if he keeps rebounding like this…
    Don’t mind seeing 3 guards a lot though, possibly with Chandler at the 4 depending on how he’s playing.

  109. Ted Nelson

    Forgot to mention Gallinari.

    Is the Bender comparison simply a health thing, or are you saying he’ll be an overall bust?

    Health, I don’t know. Is he going to be a total bust if healthy? I doubt it.

  110. Sani

    What exactly has Q-Rich done for us other than play a few solid games and break up with Brandy? New GM, new coach, less than a week till the season starts and we don’t have one single certain starter. Smells like trouble to me. Seems like we will get starters by scratching out the ones that will not start.

  111. caleb

    Bender was a fine player when he was healthy enough to get on the court, which is to say, almost never. I wonder if Walsh knows that he’s allowed to give a pre-draft physical.

    I joke, I joke. I hope.

    On Chandler and 20/20 vision, I’d say there were 7 rookies who were unequesionably better last year, and no GM in the league would move Chandler ahead of them: Durant, Horford, Conley, Thaddeus Young, Stuckey and both Wrights. Noah looks great – exactly the kind of guy the Knicks could use. (Randolph for Noah & Larry Hughes?)

    On potential, I don’t think any GM would take Chandler ahead of Fernandez or Oden (duh). So in the most rose-eyed view, he wouldn’t go higher than 10.

    That still puts him ahead of Green, Hawes, Thornton, Sean Williams, Crittendon, Smith, Cook and Dudley — not easy calls.

    You also have several players taken behind Chandler, who could jump ahead. Young (Petteri Koponen) and old (Tiago Splitter)… and at least 3 second-rounders who were much, much better than Chandler last year (Carol Landry, Ramon Sessions & yes, Nick Fazekas). Those last three are all a few years older, so they don’t have the upside, but still…

    p.s. If I had stock in Yi, Brewer, Acie Law, Nick Young or Belinelli, I’d sell it before November gets here.

  112. Ted Nelson

    Yeah, once I posted I realized the Bender thing was pretty obvious. We’ll have to see if the problem persists, but I haven’t heard of Gallinari having a history of back problems. One difference I see between him and Bender is that he played a couple of promising seasons at the professional and international levels before being drafted. The injury might ruin his career (I really hope not, let us Knicks fans catch a break…), but I don’t think there was any way to see it coming (I’m also not a chiropractor).

    ———————————————————

    One intersting twist to the redraft is that if Tiago gets taken in the top 10 maybe the difference in money is minimal enough for him to hop across the pond. I like him as a player, but I wouldn’t take him in the top 10. Definitely not if Noah’s on the board. I guess I’d put Tiago about even with Chandler on potential.

    I think Rudy Fernandez will be a solid player in the NBA, but I’m not sure he’s clearly ahead of Chandler at this point. Since he’s a legit center, I think Gasol is just as good a prospect as Fernandez as well.

    I’d say that Hawes, Thornton, Smith, Cook, and Dudley are easy enough calls: I’d put Chandler ahead of them at the moment. Crittenton is harder to call given his potential, but I’d favor Chandler. Sean Williams is a tough call because he has soooooo much defensive potential, but seems like a complete knucklehead. Jeff Green is also a tough call, he didn’t stick out in any area as a rookie.

    Didn’t know Carl’s sister was in the NBA, but it would be tough to pass up even Carol Landry. I also like the two Nevada guys.

    In the end it obviously comes down to what you think Chandler’s future holds in store vs. the others: who’s going to improve. I’d be interested to see who Hollinger listed as breakout sophmores.

  113. Italian Stallion
    Here’s a story.
    When Secretariat made his debut, he finished 4th in slow time against a very mediocre field. Statistically, he was just another mediocre horse beginning his racing career. However, observant analysts noticed that he got out of the gate badly because he got banged by horses on either side of him. So he wound up far behind early. He was then stuck in traffic for awhile. When the jockey finally got him loose, he acclerated with the kind of speed that you typically only see among very special horses. The sharpest observers knew that this could be the beginning of something special despite the mediocre looking performance. He went on to win his next start, but it took awhile for him to become the monster he eventually became. The same kind of thing is applicable to all horses. In fact, projecting development is a critical skill.
    It’s been my experience that the same kind of analysis is critical to all other sports and games when evaluating inexperienced talent. You look at what they’ve done so far on paper (a baseline) and project out based on the talents you’ve seen that remain raw.

    The problem with this analogy is there are tons of them in basketball, but in the other direction. Replace “Secretariat” with “Jermaine O’Neal”, “got out of the gate badly” with “per minute stats”, and “sharpest observers” with “APBRmetricians”. For each Boris Diaw (a player who exceeded his early per minute stats) there are many Jermaine O’Neals, Ben Wallaces, Michael Redds (players who had encouraging per minute numbers even with small amounts of playing time).
    I think your analogy is an argument for statistical analysis. Keen observers were able to see the greatness in Secretariat because of using methods they knew produced greatness in other race horses. We have the same in the NBA – per minute stats. We can tell many of the great players early on due to their per-minute stats.

    The point I was trying to make is that each and every player must be analyzed in context of the entire story and not just based on a set of stats that may not include important factors. In the Secretariat example, final time, quality of competition, finishing position etc… are usually very important stats, but they did not tell the whole story in his case.

    There is no correlation between getting out of the gate slowly and eventually becoming a great horse, but you know the horse is better than he looks.

    There is no correlation between lacking running room during a race and eventually becoming a great racehorse, but you know the horse is better than he looks.

    There is some correlation between showing brilliant acceleration and evetually becoming a great racehorse, but it’s not extremely strong.

    There is a strong probability that a well bred lightly raced horse will improve over time if he remains healthy.

    If you looked at Secretariat’s base effort (his first start), knew that he got out of the gate badly, knew that he was blocked, knew that he accelerated brilliantly, and knew that such a lightly raced horse was very likely to run better with experience, you could project a strong probability that he would be a great horse.

    However, if as part of debate you insisted on only looking at the slow speed figure he earned and the fact that he finished 4th in a mediocre field, you would be missing important facts.

    It is that kind of thinking that I think is applicable to ballplayers too. I think discussions of Collins and Chandler require looking beyond the stats many poeple are focusing on in order to estimate what their full potential might be.

  114. Ted Nelson

    Caleb,

    One other thing, not sure whether most/ several GMs in the league can really tell you the difference between the Wrights and another rookie who didn’t play much, other than their athletic ability and “potential.” Maybe I’m wrong, but I wonder if half the GMs look at advanced stats. Per minute stats are pretty intuitive, but I wonder how much weight they put on them.

    IS,

    I every well bred (athletic), lightly raced (inexperienced) player doesn’t improve in the NBA: some very athletic prospects never put it together and some even get worse with time.
    Even if it were true, how much better they will get is a huge question. If Chandler were a 5 of 10 last season, is he going to improve to a 6, 7, 8, 9, or 10 on his career? This is where stats can be very insightful. Certainly we can all agree that Chandler and Collins have decent best-case scenario potential, Chandler more so than Collins. But what are the chances that they reach that potential? If you don’t look at stats you end up like every GM who does some homework and then just takes the most athletic, good-charecter guy on the board in the draft.

  115. Caleb

    It wasn’t a careful analytic post.

    I do think both Brandan and Julian Wright were highly touted college players, consensus lottery picks who did nothing to prove otherwise in their rookie year.

    I do think Thaddeus Young is very underrated — yes, he’s a lottery pick, and got good rookie reviews, but he might have been the best rookie in the league for March and April. He was much better than Kevin Durant, and IMO has a decent chance of having a better career.

    I don’t think many GMs pay close attention to advanced stats.

    I do think most teams have someone on staff, who does pay attention.

    I’m sure some GMs are (overly)wowed by Chandler’s versatility. At the same time, no actual GM (or hardly any) would take Carl Landry or Ramon Sessions ahead of Chandler… but they probably should.

    I do think Chandler’s actual value and perceived value around the league are about the same.

    I don’t think Chandler and Collins are comparable — one is a pretty good prospect, although there’s a big range in how he turns out; the other is almost 25 years old and in the best-case scenario won’t ever be an NBA starter.

  116. Caleb

    I [do agree] every well bred (athletic), lightly raced (inexperienced) player doesn’t improve in the NBA: some very athletic prospects never put it together and some even get worse with time.

    I’m probably beating a dead horse… at least until I go through some numbers for a post… but I think you’re both underestimating how predictable it is that young players improve. When they don’t, it’s usually because they were truly awful in the first place, e.g. Mardy Collins.

    I was a lot better player at age 25 than at age 19, but so what — I still couldn’t have sniffed a Division I roster.

    I know most of you won’t agree, and I don’t know research to back this up (or contradict it), but I’d guess that playing time has almost no impact on a player’s development. Maybe it affects the improvement curve for a few months, at most. They get enough time in practice, summer league, etc…

    It’s the same argument as with college players coming out early; if a guy comes out early and fails, people say he would have done better had he stayed in college. That might be true, from a life perspective — a college degree helps you find a job – but not in basketball terms. Usually, players who are eventually tagged as “busts” weren’t that good, or promising, in the first place.

    An example close to our hearts: Stephon Marbury. He was tagged as a superstar back in high school. A high lottery pick. A lot of people would say, he never lived up to the hype because he didn’t develop properly, didn’t have the right worth ethic, or whatever. Or they’d say his career went into decline after three All-Star appearances.

    But none of that is true. He did improve from his first seasons, but he never deserved to make the All-Star team, and he had better years after leaving Phoenix — like his first full season in New York. The All-Star nods and the prediction of stardom were just about hype. If you had looked at his stats, specifically per-minute numbers, you would have predicted a career as a good offensive player, but nothing approaching a star. You would have been right.

    Of course there’s variation; some players improve more than others. Some flame out after promising starts. But to have reasonable expectations, you need to look at the whole. I see a lot of reasons why Wilson Chandler will turn into a pretty good player, but no reason to think he’ll go from being a mid-first round prospect, to a perennial All-Star.

  117. Ted Nelson

    Caleb,

    You’ve brought up a lot of points, I’d really like to cut down on my Knickerblogging and become a productive human being so I’ll only address a few.

    Certainly young players by and large improve, the question is really by how much they improve.

    In general, I think player development follows a pattern and you can use a large enough sample size of stats to predict within a reasonable range how good a player will be. I don’t think I’m understating it. Although you might not be overstating it either, it might just be miscommunication. There are definitely certain signs, but these are human beings so there are definitely players who vary from the norm.
    Using your example. It would be hard to have predicted after 3 years that Nash would become a better playmaker than Marbury. It was obvious that he was a more efficient scorer, but Marbury’s assist-rate was 10 points higher every year. He averaged between 1 and 2.5 assists more per 36 minutes. Of course, he also dominated the ball to get those high assist totals. Anyway, that might not be the perfect example, but I’m pretty convinced players vary from the norm to some extent. If not, it will be very easy to come up with a mathematical model to predict how good a player will be and you can probably make a lot of money. Interestingly enough, the Rockets recently (last year maybe) had a contest to hire an employee: create a model to predict a player’s 3p% for next year or something along those lines.

    Agreed that Thaddeus Young is a very promising player, if you made that point because I listed “Young” as one of the guys who should go after WC I meant Nick Young.

    I’d say that what the Wrights did was not play. Not necessarily their faults and both their teams won 47+ games. Brandan especially played half as many minutes as Julian on a worse team with no real PF blocking him, but of course everyone knows Don Nelson’s style. I haven’t followed them at all in summer league/preseason but the average GM might see Chandler’s 20/10 preseason games and consider him a better player. Especially if Brandan hasn’t packed on some pounds. Who knows though…

    I just think that a lot of GMs, who are by and large former players, don’t pay the stats guys much mind. Some of the best GMs are former players, I just think there are a decent number of stereotypical “jocks” in management roles that they’re not necessarily qualified for (I can think of several 80s Celtics and 1 Bad Boy who was recently reassigned). Would be interesting to see how much each decision maker uses advanced stats and how much success he’s had.

  118. Caleb

    Ted,

    I don’t think we are arguing about much – I definitely agree that most GMs could care less about this stuff. Also, without testing the market, or knowing a lot of NBA front-office types, I have no idea what Chandler’s league-wide value is.

    I will say, Chandler is the same age as Wright, Wright and YOung, and was nowhere near as good as any of them last year. Their TS% was 58.1, 58.3 and 57.0 respectively — Chandler was at 48. Even during his famous 6-game hot streak, it was 56.

    Julian Wright and Thad Young were just as good rebounders; Wright was better. Julian Wright is a terrific passer, too, and an excellent ballhandler. I can’t really judge Brandan’s D, but what I saw from Wright and Young was not appreciably different from Chandler.

    Anyway, GMs might not pay attention to advanced stats but they know Brandan Wright was a star at UNC and a mid-lottery pick, and his value isn’t going to change because he mostly sat for a 48-win team.

  119. Italian Stallion

    Caleb,
    IS,
    I every well bred (athletic), lightly raced (inexperienced) player doesn’t improve in the NBA: some very athletic prospects never put it together and some even get worse with time.Even if it were true, how much better they will get is a huge question. If Chandler were a 5 of 10 last season, is he going to improve to a 6, 7, 8, 9, or 10 on his career? This is where stats can be very insightful. Certainly we can all agree that Chandler and Collins have decent best-case scenario potential, Chandler more so than Collins. But what are the chances that they reach that potential? If you don’t look at stats you end up like every GM who does some homework and then just takes the most athletic, good-charecter guy on the board in the draft.

    We agree that the stats serve as a basis for starting the analysis.

    The questions you are asking about improvement require a detailed understanding of the factors that determine the probabilities. Even when you understand those factors, you will sometimes be disappointed because of injury, character flaws that weren’t apparent in the beginning etc… But it’s still worth studying them.

    I think the kinds of athletic measurements that are done pre draft are probably helpful. So are some of the little things you can see during a game. So are things like work ethic and attitude.

    Hearing that Gallinari was a workhorse in the gym during the summer and that he has a high basketball IQ are the kinds of things that would lead me to believe he’s likely to improve over time even if his early stats this year are very mediocre. If on the other hand we heard that he was clubbing in NY and basking in his new found fame, I’d have a different impression. When I actually get to see him play some more, I’ll see some signs (or lack of signs) that will tell me more about his athletic potential.

    I’m don’t claim to be an expert on analyzing this kind of thing for basketball players. I am however very experienced at analyzing this kind of thing for horses. I believe the intellectual framework for doing both is the same. It’s the details that are different.

  120. Ted Nelson

    Caleb,

    Agreed, I was more discussing than arguing.

    I agree that Wrights + T Young were better–Young especially was much better–than Chandler last year and I would most likely take all 3 over WC. I also have no idea what WC´s value is outside of the Knickerblogger universe. I could just see some GMs favoring someone who’s less productive in more minutes, i.e. potentially WC over the Wrights this season.
    I checked out the Warrior’s box scores. Brandan Wright has basically had 4 strong and 2 weak scoring games this preseason, but will probably get significantly more minutes this season than last. Julian Wright sprained his ankle in the Hornets’ 4th game. Through the first 3 he was filling out the box score nicely, but averaging only 5 ppg in somewhat limited minutes.
    The only thing I was saying is that Julian Wright may end up playing only, say, 15 mpg for the Hornets while Chandler is playing 30-40 mpg for the Knicks. If Chandler scores 15-20 ppg while Julian scores 5-10 ppg with better per minute and rate numbers across the board, I could see GMs being split on who’s got a better future with a lot of them considering Chandler a rising star and questioning whether Julian Wrights’ “struggles” are due to playing for a good team or his own short-comings.
    From preseason returns Brandan seems more likely to play, which is logical. However, the Warriors do have a couple other decent bigs and Nelson might stick with small-ball lineups while Brandan falls into the dog house.
    I don’t think anybody will suddenly forget about these former lottery picks and college stars if they’re not playing, combine that with enough GMs who do look at advanced stats + their respective situations and they’ll probably still have value. But maybe not as much as they should–certainly not to the teams that are benching them–leaving a good opportunity for some GM to “steal” them in a trade or free agency. It’s also possible GMs in general have caught on, explaining why Isiah got so many overrated players dumped on him.

  121. Ted Nelson

    IS,

    Again, I agree with what you’re saying about variability and improvement. However, I think the stats can give you a more accurate/ less biased prediction.

    It’s the old “you could watch an entire baseball season and not know the difference between a .200 hitter and .300 hitter” argument. In the end, by watching all the games you might spot a guy who’s a great hitter with a slight hole in his swing he should be able to correct that doesn’t appear in his stats, while by looking at stats you might uncover a Kevin Youkilis type who looks laughably unathletic and not at all like a pro prospect. Ideally, you do both. But I think stats have been proven more accurate overall, especially since those same stats will help you determine that player’s worth down the road.

    In general, I know that you don’t value advanced stats as much for analyzing a player or team as I do. So, I guess there’s no reason that young players should be different.

    It’s not like Caleb and I are on an island here. Hollinger, who spends a lot of time actually doing statistical analysis, has found that rookies who post single digit PERs are long shots to succeed in the NBA. For example, prep-to-pros future stars like JO and T-Mac were really raw as rookies, but managed to post solid PERs. (Not that PER is the end all and be all, just an easy example of a player evaluation metric.) There is definitely variation and room for subjective analysis and even “luck”, though.

  122. Italian Stallion

    >>It’s not like Caleb and I are on an island here. Hollinger, who spends a lot of time actually doing statistical analysis, has found that rookies who post single digit PERs are long shots to succeed in the NBA. For example, prep-to-pros future stars like JO and T-Mac were really raw as rookies, but managed to post solid PERs. (Not that PER is the end all and be all, just an easy example of a player evaluation metric.) There is definitely variation and room for subjective analysis and even “luck”, though.<<

    I agree. That’s what I mean when I say the stats are good place to start the analysis.

    In my Secretariat example, had he finished his first race in the same final time as a slow mule (L0L), a different impression of his full potential would have been justified even though improvement would have been just as likely. The base would have been different.

  123. caleb

    IS, you are quoting someone else, not me, up there.

    Changing subject a little…

    I think work ethic is overrated. Hear me out. Of course it’s important — but the average work ethic among NBA players is already very high. That’s a big reason they’re in the NBA, not whining about what might have been. In a group that on average works extremely hard – variations aren’t that big. So-and-so is a hard worker — so are most of his rivals.

    In this sense, worth ethic isn’t so different from raw athletic skill. I remember about 15 years ago, waiting for a pickup game where one guy was tearing things up. Tomahawk dunks, no-look passes, running down opponents and making steals in the open court…

    “Who’s that guy?”

    “Oh, that’s Vinnie Askew.”

    Vinnie Askew, on the tail end of a middling NBA career, maybe even just retired.. compared to a bunch of aged high school jocks and a handful of college-level athletes at the local gym, he really stood out. Around his athletic peers, not so much.

    Why bring it up? Because I like Chandler. He seems to work hard on his game.. but I don’t have a reason to think he works harder than Julian Wright, or Thad Young, or Al Thornton – any of the other small forwards taken in the draft with him. Or Jamal Crawford, or Quentin Richardson for that matter.

    Anyway, I hope he’s one of those rare characters who beats the curve and improves a lot more than anyone expects…

  124. Ted Nelson

    Caleb,

    I think you’re right that NBA players almost necessarily have a certain level of work ethic. (With bigmen having it a lot easier due to the relatively scarce competition… I mean you get some Eddy Curry, Jerome James, Darius Miles pre-injury, etc. types who seem to do the minimum amount of work necessary to stay in the NBA. Another exception might be true athletic freaks.)

    I see your point about athleticism, but surely you’d agree that there is variation in athletic ability within the NBA that–small compared to the entire populatio–is relatively huge. I mean in NBA terms Chris Bosh and Roy Hibbert just aren’t in the same class.
    I would say that the same thing goes for work ethic. The Mike Sweetney/Tractor Traylor types with absolutely no self control wind up out of the league, but the difference between the Eddy Curry–the average player–the MJ (for example) is relatively huge. When you’re talking about the best in the world in a market with as much competition as professional basketball, the difference is really at the margin.

    Now I think Mardy Collins could work as hard as he wants and never be half the player Chris Paul would be even if he stopped working hard.

    If you’re suggesting that the athleticism and work ethic of NBA players is so similar that it makes no difference, what do you ascribe the difference in performance to? Pure skill? How do you develop those skills? Just born with them? Aren’t those skills necessarily one aspect of athleticism?

    “Why bring it up? Because I like Chandler. He seems to work hard on his game.. but I don’t have a reason to think he works harder than Julian Wright, or Thad Young, or Al Thornton – any of the other small forwards taken in the draft with him. Or Jamal Crawford, or Quentin Richardson for that matter.”

    I have no idea how much each of those guys work… however, in an offseason that’s several months long the differnce between working (weights, court, tape, etc) at 90% for 5 hours a day and 100% for 8 hours a day has to really add up. As far as during the season, my job is not physically demanding in any way (although I think I’m getting carpal tunnel or whatever) but I’m exausted when I get home at night. I can’t imagine that every NBA player wakes up the morning after a game and gets a workout in before practice, for example. I have no idea if any NBA player does that, I’m just saying that I think there’s room for variation.
    Of course, I had a coach who told us that we could practice for 10 hours a day the wrong way and never get better or for an hour a day the right way and get much better (he said it more eloquantly). Doing the right excercise, drill, etc. can have a huge impact especially if it helps to address a weakness.
    I read an article in Men’s Health before last season about Mike Dunleavy and Troy Murphy working out together with a trainer using some unconventional methods that resulted in huge ahtleticism gains for them (their vertical leaps, bench presses, etc. both improved tremendously, I think Dunleavy’s more but I’m not sure). Dunleavy had a career/breakout year, while Murphy was more or less around his career averages in most regards.

    One last point… if you’re starting from zero it’s a lot easier to improve than if you’re starting from 8. If Chandler was extremely underdeveloped/undercoached/etc. before coming to the NBA while someone else always had the best coaching in the best programs then in general I’d give WC a better chance to improve through NBA caliber training. (It’s not like he’s from some remote village in Sudan, but WC seemed pretty raw coming into the league.)

  125. Italian Stallion

    Caleb,

    It’s impossible for me to comment much on the other young forwards that have come up in conversations about Chandler because I don’t get to see them play every night.

    However, do not exclude the possibility that several of them (including Chandler) will all make the all star team at one time or another. They may all be very good prospects. I just can’t say that with much certainty based on just stats. I’d have to watch and know more about them also.

    IMO, we can say for certain that there are variations in work ethic among NBA pros. It ranges from one extreme like Curry (and I’m sure there are even worse cases) to stories you hear about Kobe, Bird etc…

    They all work hard in HS and college trying to get to the pros and make the big bucks, but once they get a payday, some of them change.

    Do you think it’s a coincidence that Marbury showed up in such great shape in a contract year? I don’t!

    Do you think it’s a coincidence that Collins was out of shape last year due to injury and reportedly on his way out this year and then suddenly showed up in the best shape of his life? I don’t.

    You see that kind of thing in every sport.

    They all work hard until they cash the big ticket, but once they cash the big ticket, only the real professionals with pride and love for the game continue working hard to improve because they want to win and be great players. The rest of them work, but not quite as hard….. until the contract is coming up and they want a raise or renewal.

  126. caleb

    Do you think it’s a coincidence that Marbury showed up in such great shape in a contract year? I don’t!

    Do you think it’s a coincidence that Collins was out of shape last year due to injury and reportedly on his way out this year and then suddenly showed up in the best shape of his life? I don’t.

    My guess: it won’t make a difference, or will make only a very small difference, in how they play this year. Collins will still be awful, and Marbury will still be ok, crazy and wildly overpaid. But we’ll see.

  127. Caleb

    Ted,

    I’m only saying that work ethic, like athletic ability, is already factored into what we see on the court. And in the stats.

    I know people would like to know what factors predict longevity and improvement – I mean, what team doesn’t want that crystal ball? – but there are no real answers at this point. It would be a great project for the next Knickerblogger intern :)

    For purposes of such a study, there might be a way to quantify work ethic — looking at durability, change in weight from year to year, number of quotes from Tim Grover, etc.

  128. Ted Nelson

    IS,

    I’m pretty sure it’s been shown that players don’t play better in contract years. There are certainly some who do, but it’s not a general rule.

    Unfortunately I think Isiah managed to get a high % of the players who stopped working once they got paid on the Knicks.

    Caleb,

    I agree that work ethic shows up in the stats, but in this case we’re referring specifically to young players with limited track records. Say, 2 young players with very similar rookie years. How hard they work is going to show up in their stats the next few years, but at that point they’re not as young anymore. I doubt there’s enough of a pattern to create a model that would predict who’s going to improve from 1 season of stats, maybe if you include college and even high school stats. There might be some predictors, but I would guess it’s a pretty inexact science. Possibly better to just use your better judgement if you have inside information.

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