Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Saturday, December 7, 2019

San Antonio Spurs 111 – New York Knicks 104 – Game Recap

Sometimes I have trouble sleeping. Especially if I come home pretty late after a night of quasi-partying (if hanging around at a big downtown pub/karaoke until 4 am qualifies). So when I came home last night I took my iPad, fired NBA League Pass up and started watching the already finished Spurs-Knicks game, knowing it would either relax my mind and lull me to sleep or keep me awake in an exciting manner but saving time in the morning after (I’d have already watched the game and would be ready to write the recap just jumping off my bed).

It seems like nowadays I just can’t get what I want, though (they say it’s something called life. I guess I have to agree). While Lady Farfa fell in a sound sleep as she always does – bless her sleeping pattern, time will go easier on her neural connections than it will on mine – I started watching the game. Pretty much at the middle point of the second quarter I kinda blacked out. The Knicks were down a million to nothing and the last thing I remember about that was a Mitch foul. I woke up this morning with the iPad in my face and a terrible feeling of general uneasiness. A quick mental check of everything that went down last night easily confirmed that everything went well: a nice aperitif in a cool place, dinner with friends in the best burger/meat joint of the city with some great Rosso di Montepulciano to boot, an invigorating walk through the city center and then three Belgian beers, a few minutes of impromptu Latin dances (Lady Farfa dances pretty well, I’m like a wooden log that occasionally stretches him arms out in rhythm – oh god I’m Julius Randle playing defense) and a more than adequate rendition of “I want it that way” that threatened to bring the place down, mostly thanks to the rampaging alcohol count and late hour.

So, everything went fine (apart from the fact that it looks like a 25-year old night and not a 36-year old one, which brings me to question myself about my lingering marginal Peter Pan insecurities, but then again, I’m rooting for the Knicks! It should be a given that I’m trying to reach Neverland even at this “advanced” age). My liver can more than take that booze. My personal issues that I wrote about in the last recap are going much better too. So what was this feeling?

Oh, the Knicks.

When I dozed off, they were losing 51-29 and putting on a display of atrocious all around basketball. You think you should get used with time to the trials of rooting for such a god forsaken team, but personally I ain’t. My mind treats every forthcoming Knicks game like it’s gonna be a new Game of Thrones episode between seasons 5 and 7 (season 8 is usually reserved for free agency, lottery and draft night. The Knicks drafting Mitch last year pretty much counts as the scene where Brienne of Tarth gets knighted. The Knicks signing Portis instead of renting capspace is that weird retconning Melisandre speech to Arya). So when a game devolves into a slugfest-y carnage of hopes and dreams, it sinks into my soul. And believe me, there’s nothing good with feeling emotionally downtrodden just before getting to sleep – and getting your forehead bashed by a falling iPad.

You think you’re ready to give up hope everytime, but you just can’t. That’s why I turned the iPad on again and kept watching as soon as I got awake. Well, what do you know, the Knicks were even more terrible. They were able to get down by 28 in the third before attempting a patented fake comeback on the heels of some inspired defense and a whack-a-mole appearance on the perimeter by Wayne Ellington. Of course they were never able to complete it (the closest they got was 105-98 which, hey, it was cool! But you knew it wasn’t going to get better than that, not when all you need is three more stingy defensive possessions and you’re playing Randle at the 5 for the decisive stretch) and that caused a little more reason for despair.

The game was pretty much over after RJ Barrett drove to the rim to try to get 105-100 but his (not bad) attempt caromed out of the rim after a few unlucky bounces. From there on, it was suckitude again everywhere.

But Farfa, you might say, you pretty much said nothing about the game!

You’re right, of course. There’s nothing to say about this game. The Spurs were too hot, the Knicks were too deflated, and our offensive sets are the stuff of legend (if we’re talking about Hoboken open mic night).

On to some individual remarks:

– I don’t think Fizdale’s Death Watch is gaining any traction right now. We end up being embarrassed most nights anyway but it happens in a way that allows Fiz to save face. The players compete even down 25! They’re giving their best effort out there even when outmatched! They don’t quit! That’s kinda true, but would you still eat at a restaurant where after having botched the entrees and the main dishes they brought to you, with the most dedicated smile ever, a very solidly cut pineapple?

– Julius Randle is the coriander that keeps getting confused and used as parsley.

– If you didn’t know, some people have a genetic trait that makes coriander taste like the Palomena Prastina bug. Maybe you’re not familiar with that bug, but I am, and I have that genetic trait. It’s like tasting soap mixed with cigarette ash.

– Seriously, this was Randle’s night: 14 points, 8 boards, 3 assist, 6 for 17 from the field (1 for 5 from three), 4 turnovers, -12 +/-. For the season he’s posting a cringe-y .010 WS/48, negative BPM and a precise 0.0 VORP. He’s basically a worse than replacement player at this stage. If you go look at his per game numbers (but away that Wicker Man prop guys, I’m not really going to argue raw box score stuff), though, you’ll see that his numbers are very par for the course with his last Lakers season. Only two things have changed, and pretty much everyone with at least 1-20 eyesight can guess which they are: turnovers and FG% (which is a function of shot distribution). Since no man is a island, and that counts even for basketball players, who do you think is to blame for how Randle is being used?

– So yeah: fire Fizdale. Randle can still be a good player, but someone has to step in and… you know, coach him.

– THE BEES! THE BEES!

– So you need defense in the last five minutes and don’t play neither Gibson nor Mitch at the five? Ok, Gibson played like shit last night, but I think he would have been very useful in bodying up Aldridge and not getting out of position on half of the defensive possessions.

– Mitch ended up playing 24 minutes and posted a strange line: 6-4-4-2-2. So basically he was invisible on the boards but popped out everywhere else. I still don’t understand how is it even possible that we’re not running at least 5 mandatory PnR sets with him every given night. Oh yeah, back to square one. It’s Fiz and the gang. If Mitch qualified, he’d be 6th in the League in BPM and second in WS/48. He’s dumb as fuck in some circumstances, but holy crap this is your best basketball player stop treating him like he’s John Salley

– Marcus Morris Sr. has perfected the art of padding scoring stats in the last minutes of a quasi-blowout. In a vacuum I don’t really like it, but it’s probably going to be useful come trade season.

– The fact that we’re taking for granted RJ’s production (not great, not good, but adequate for a rookie is more than enough) is a good sign for the kid. If he could play in a system where his strengths get enhanced instead of routinely snuffed we would be already be seeing better numbers from him. 15/5/3.5 in the first fifth of the season is not bad anyway. Now, if only his WS/48 weren’t in the negative…

– Frank had a nice stat line: 9 points, 9 assists, 6 (!!!) steals. He’s the third different Knick to tally 6 steals this season, in just 16 games. He also dunked the ball! Really!

– Wayne Ellington is good at coming off curls, but couldn’t we design a set that makes him open for standstill catch and shoots from time to time?

– The Dungeon is calling for Knox. I think it’s a good thing in the end.

Now, hear me out. I hope we win against Brooklyn. I think we can do it. I also think that, if we win, we’ll do that by indulging in bad basketball practices. So, what should we root for? What if they fire Fizdale sooner or later and then give the keys to another bad coach? How long does this have to go on? Is that hard to aspire for basic competence?

Fire Dolan.

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79 comments on “San Antonio Spurs 111 – New York Knicks 104 – Game Recap

  1. Hubert

    Julius Randle is the coriander that keeps getting confused and used as parsley.

    Classic.

    I keep hearing Frank dunked but can’t find the highlight. I can’t believe apple or google or Alexa have not figured out that this is the first thing that should have been delivered to me today.

    Tell me more about these “sell the team” chants. They were loud and clear? I’m going to tonight. Look forward to participating.

  2. Bo Nateman

    Lady Farfa dances pretty well, I’m like a wooden log that occasionally stretches his arms out in rhythm – oh god I’m Julius Randle playing defense)

    When a dregs game like last night is foreshadowed by the first five minutes, the only reason I watch is to contextualize Farfa’s recaps. Bravo.
    I am visualizing a bunch of moments last night, where Randle ( who also has no handle) was playing the 5 and just standing in the paint Stat like without even stretching his arms.
    Farfa’s clear theme of Fizzie’s ineptitude as a coach places us ( once again) in existential basketball hell-if Fiz gets fired, his replacement will likely be worse.

  3. Ingmarrrr

    Thanks Farfa. Whenever I see Randle dribbling into another predicted turnover it’s as if I’ve never seen it before. I go huh, that’s not a good play, they shouldn’t do it again. Then I remember it’s the 1000000000th time it happened this season and I get all philosophical thinking about the deep mysteries of this universe.

    No, seriously, it’s really painful. Someone, Fiz, Perry, Randle, Marcus, Frank (you’re the point guard), someone, please stop running this play!

  4. ess-dog

    Frank is now 2nd on the team in VORP. There’s no way Fiz can bench him again. The question is, can he be as effective at the 2 or is that move even necessary? Should Fiz be playing him with DSJ more, or should he stick with the RJ backcourt?

  5. Stratomatic: Frequently wrong, but never in doubt

    1. Frank seems to be trying to add “draw charges” to his defensive arsenal. He drew a couple over the last few games and got a couple of highly suspect calls in others. It could be random, but he seems to be actively trying to draw charges now. I love that. Baby steps.

    2. Frank gives up the ball way too early when running an open court fast break. He has to wait long enough to get the defender to commit, but he seems afraid to potentially have to try to finish himself because of his weakness in that area. That belongs somewhere high on his “to do” list.

    3. In a ideal world I’d trade Randle for a floor spacing SF and move Morris to PF. I think that would help Mitch, RJ, and even Frank a little. Randle is the problem. It’s not that he’s a bad player. He’s a pretty good offensive player. He’s just not a stretch PF. We don’t have spacing and that’s making it difficult for multiple players to get better looks, including himself. We want Mitch, Frank, and RJ on the court, but that’s 3 players with various offensive limitations. You can’t add Randle to that mess. Taking the best players off the court (like Mitch) to get slightly better spacing is not the solution and those other guys have more overall long term upside than Randle (besides being a lot cheaper).

    The problem of course is that his market value is not exactly rising right now and it would be a huge embarrassment to Mills/Perry to try to trade him when he was the marquee signing. Loads of people complained about the team construction right from the start. I’m just a serious fan sitting here in my underwear and I knew this was going to be a problem but the guys running the team didn’t? Very embarrassing.

  6. DRed

    Frank is now 2nd on the team in VORP. There’s no way Fiz can bench him again.

    He’s playing the guy 1st on the team in VORP 18 minutes a game

  7. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    He’s playing the guy 1st on the team in VORP 18 minutes a game

    This should be a disqualifier for a coach on any level. It’s like hiring a juggler for your kid’s birthday party, and when he shows up, he can’t keep 3 balls in the air — but trust him, he’s real good with juggling 7 at a time.

  8. Z-man

    Frank has a pretty mediocre game yesterday. He was on the floor for most of the building of the 27-pt deficit. He had 4 assists during a lame comeback, including 2 in the final 10 seconds. And that was against a Spurs team that had lost 8 in a row coming in. White and Forbes are scrubs who would be on the end of the rotation of any good team. His inability to shoot makes it very difficult to get off to a good start against a good shooting team. The steals are great, but no amount of steals can mask his deficiencies as a PG.

  9. ess-dog

    He’s playing the guy 1st on the team in VORP 18 minutes a game

    I was going to slightly defend this atrocity by saying that he’s metering out fewer minutes for Mitch because of his propensity to foul, but it’s still dumb as dirt, even with another decent defender available at the position. Mitch should be getting 30 minutes minimum.

  10. Z-man

    While it’s a big factor, t’s not just his propensity to foul. It’s that he’s desperate for offense, especially 3-pt shooting. When you have Barrett and Ntilikina out there in the starting lineup with Randle, you are basically saying that either Morris is your go-to guy or you are going 3-for-2 on every offensive vs. defensive possession. Taj and Portis aren’t the answer either, but at least they present a threat of a 3-pointer.

    I agree that I would start Mitch, but would probably bring Barrett off the bench to get more shooting out there. He is quietly killing the team right now. Unless we commit to the tank, then I’d start Mitch, Barrett, Knox, Trier and Frank and bring the vets off the bench the minute they start screwing up.

  11. JK47

    If it were up to me, if the Knicks gave a middle-aged indie rocker full control of the team, I’d start all the kids and play them as many minutes as they could handle:

    Smith/Ntilikina/Barrett/Knox/Robinson

    I’d tell the vets “sorry this fake contending thing didn’t work, we’ll try to get you some minutes where we can but we’re declining all of your options. Randle, you’ll get plenty of minutes as 6th man, maybe if you get it going you get back into the starting lineup because Knox is not a great prospect anyway.”

    I’d scour the G-League and trade markets for the most reasonably competent PG I can find to be the backup PG now and third PG when Payton returns. I’d let it be known that the 1+1 guys could all be had in pennies-on-the-dollar trades.

    When the season ends I’d decline all the options and I’d use as much of the cap space as possible to stash contracts/acquire assets, unless a pipe dream player became available.

  12. GHenman

    Randle is the new Hardaway Jr. The Knicks never learn their lesson. Paying someone more money doesn’t make them a better player. Keeping Vonleh and/or Kornet would have made so much more sense. If we had KP, we’d be a playoff team right now. Speaking of KP, does anyone know what happened with that alleged rape case?

  13. Z-man

    @15 there’s a great concept album in there somewhere…

    For the record, I agree on all fronts….and would fire Fiz and Perry and reassign Mills to the Westchester Knicks or running the halftime shows or the most humiliating job possible.

  14. ess-dog

    Yeah, Mitch/KP/Knox/RJ/Frank could’ve been a very nice lineup. These assholes just need to be patient. It takes 3 years for some of these younger prospects to pull it together. That being said, I don’t think losing KP is the worst thing in the world. I just hope the Dallas draft picks end up being semi-decent.

  15. Z-man

    The real question is, when (not if) Fiz gets fired, will the new coach be forced to play the vets? If yes, might as well keep Fiz around.

  16. Z-man

    KP is the same old KP, slightly better rebounder but remember we’re still pre-December when it all seems to come crashing down. Honestly, I wonder if the increased bulk will actually exacerbate the oxygen-demand problem…

  17. d-mar

    Remember preseason how it was supposed to be the dynamic duo of Luka and KP?

    Instead, it’s Doncic carrying a bunch of mediocre players on his back as he puts up one superhuman game after another.

  18. GHenman

    From what I’ve seen, he is losing the extra muscle mass pretty quickly. Still, his combination of rim protection and floor spacing is just what we need. I’m not saying we’d be championship contenders but, I think we would be above .500.

  19. ess-dog

    Yeah, I’m not a big Portis fan, but he would at least be a better starter next to Mitch since he can shoot. Or just slide Morris to the 4. Knox is probably the best fit at the 4 long-term if he keeps improving.

    And Randle will become our latest in a long, sad string of expensive bench guys going back to Al Harrington.

  20. thenoblefacehumper

    From what I’ve seen, he is losing the extra muscle mass pretty quickly. Still, his combination of rim protection and floor spacing is just what we need. I’m not saying we’d be championship contenders but, I think we would be above .500.

    Like, right now? Seriously? The .509 TS%, -2.2 BPM guy would have won us 5 more games?

  21. Early Bird

    Saw this on Twitter. Apparently we have the worst 1st quarter offense in the NBA. We’re as far behind the 29th team in ortg as the 29th is behind the 20th.

    The starting combo of Frank, rookie RJ, and our MPFs (mediocre pfs). What do you expect? Morris is our #1 offensive option on nights RJ is playing like a rookie, which is more often than not.

    I think it’s time we try pairing DSJr with Randle for the pick and roll off the bench. Get more shooting in the starting lineup, shift Morris to the 4. Perma-bench Portis.

  22. Hubert

    Still, his combination of rim protection and floor spacing is just what we need.

    Not for 5 years, $158mm, we don’t.

    And there is no way this is a playoff team with Porzingis. He just isn’t that good.

  23. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    It is so, so bad to pay a guy $30M to shoot .509 TS% on 26 USG%. The -2.5 OBPM makes total sense, and it looks real bad for the Mavs — there is no universe in which it is okay for your highest-paid player to have the team’s worst TS%. As I said after the trade, Doncic is manna from heaven. Will they waste the first ten years of his All-NBA tenure by signing guys like Harrison Barnes and Porzingis to be his co-stars?

  24. JK47

    Porzingis is still the same damn player he was as a 20-year old rookie. He has been very unimpressive this year with Dallas and that contract looks bad right now.

    I guess the sliver of hope you can hang onto if you’re gonna go all ruru fanboi on Porzingis is that he needs more time to come back from his injury. We’ll see about that. He’s not a smart player, so that kind of puts a ceiling on what he can accomplish in my opinion.

  25. Hubert

    He’s rebounding better, which is good. I didn’t think he had that in him. Not sure how it improved.

  26. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    I see that the Blazers subreddit is quite aware of the effect of Melo on their tank right now. Amazed that the honeymoon period may have never existed, considering the propensity of fanbases to assume that anyone who joins the team is due to have a comeback/breakout/MIP-type season.

    Hawks subreddit is still all-in on Reddish, though. They claim he’s never played healthy, so it’s just a matter of time before he heals up and starts playing like the Rookie of the Year that his peers voted him to be.

    hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahhaha

  27. ptmilo

    curious about something. mitch has a ws48 if .296 and a bpm of 8.4. among qualifiers this would be 2nd (doncic) and 6th (doncic, giannis, harden, kat, lebron) respective. this is not a surprise here and is oft cited as an indictment on his playing time, but that doesn’t really tell you how seriously people are taking the summary stat (mitch is young, we are bad and our alternatives are pretty shitty). let’s assume arguendo mitch could average, say, 32 mpg with the same per minute #s; fouls and all. how good do you think he actually is right now?

    1. summary stats are right; top 2-10 player
    2. top 10-25 player (say, 9-14 WAR)
    3. 25-50, prob not all star (6-9 WAR)
    4. 50-100. avg to above avg (3-6 WAR)
    5. replacement to below avg (0-3 WAR)

    only request is that this doesn’t generate a lecture about how it depends on use and fit. if you don’t think there’s a useful “average situation” estimate then just consider it a stupid question to be ignored.

  28. Z-man

    As I’ve said many times in the past, KP’s problem is that he wants to be AD rather than Duncan. He thinks he’s a slick ball-handler and has a wide array of scoring moves. Instead, he is essentially a highlight-reel wonder with zero consistency from minute-to-minute, quarter-to-quarter, game-to-game. If he just stuck to his bread-and-butter moves and played good fundamental basketball, his advanced numbers would be consistent with a solid 2nd or 3rd option. But that’s not his mindset. You wonder how much Melo has had to do with that.

    He also has zero leadership ability and doesn’t seem like a great follower either. It will be interesting to see whether Luca tires of him and his primadonna ways.

  29. Z-man

    He’s rebounding better, which is good. I didn’t think he had that in him. Not sure how it improved.

    Not really all that much, though. He’s averaging one more rebound per 36 over his rookie year. He actually regressed in years 2 and 3, and is kinda back to square one with a very marginal improvement. And that’s on a team where Luka dominates the ball, draws double and triple-teams and has a 36% usage.

  30. Z-man

    pt, what pollutes the question is a) Mitch’s perpetual ankle tweaks (he’s constantly limping around) and b) his propensity for rapid-fire fouls, especially against crafty bigs. If I were coaching against him and he was starting, I would go right at him and goad him into one stupid foul after another. He’s not even being game-planned for yet and it’s happening anyway. But that aside, I think there’s nearly universal agreement that he’d be a top 50 player and potentially a top-25 player at 32 mpg, statistically speaking.

  31. JK47

    Mitch needs to turn it down to like a 7. He needs to learn how to pace himself and when it’s worth it to take risks. He seems to commit a lot of fouls when the defensive position is already a lost cause.

    It really should not be hard to get him to play more under control. Just slow down a little, big guy!

  32. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    how good do you think he actually is right now?

    It’s not really a question about use or fit, but more about how he himself would exploit his own talents if forced to play more possessions against the same defender. And to that question — whether he would continue to be a lob/putback threat, or whether he would attempt to increase his range, or try for more skilled post moves that are not (and may never be) ready for primetime — I think we have nothing but suppositions based on fallacious instinct and fanboy optimism.

  33. Owen

    The fouls are really an issue for keeping Mitch on the court (and for putting the Knicks in the penalty.) We think of him as a defensive cornerstone in the making but we also know that no great defender has ever fouled as much as he does. What does his D look like when he turns it down to 7, as said above.

    On offense his game is devastating but quite limited. It’s heresy for me to say after all these years but the ability to generate your offense actually is a pretty key component of what makes a superstar a superstar. You can’t live on lobs and putbacks alone.

    I’d say he will end up 15-30 range.

    Farfa, great stuff, got several hearty chuckles out of me. It’s amazing you can write like this in a second language. I can get by in Spanish but could never imagine entertaining people in it like this. Glad to hear your issues have simmered down as well.

  34. GHenman

    As poorly as KP is shooting, he’s got a higher efg% than Randle, 47.8 to 46.9, and is averaging 3.5 blocks. I can’t argue that he’s worth a max deal, but maybe there was something less that he would have agreed to. The question for me though is who do we get to fill that role. I would have loved to see him and Mitch together.

  35. ptmilo

    my take is he’s not anywhere close to top 25 right now. i would pick 4. i just think his defensive mistakes are so severe that it offsets some of his unprecedented mitchness. 3 things he basically never does that 90 of bigs do at least sometimes: legit attempt at drawing a charge, use verticality, make risk reward decisions on whether to sprint out and close on an open shooter. he’s probably the worst i’ve ever seen (maybe anthony randolph) at driving himself out of the play and out of the defensive rebound when the block chances are 10pct for him and 0pct for all other humans.

    in fact i think his superhuman ability to block a 3 from six feet away is a net negative for him so far. as far as i can see he hasn’t taken any steps on the defensive wisdom curve from last year.

    on the other hand, i’m curious at how well defenses could adjust if you just stuck him with a good initiator who can fade the go-under, 3 shooters, and just jam the spread pnr time after time. there are 10-20 of those guys around. not sure the adjustment would be so easy. i don’t think he’s just another dwight powell (who is an excellent roller) in that sense, he’s already a step above that.

    but as fun as he is to watch, i was hoping for just a little more wisdom on defense in year 2. def haven’t given up hope. still could be special.

  36. Early Bird

    Saying KP is better than Randle is like saying KP is better than me. It’s true of 99.99% of the NBA. KP, if he has any value, is on the defensive end. But I’m not sure it’s that hard to find an effective defensive big anymore. There’s so little emphasis put on defensive that the benefit you get out of KP isn’t worth the extra whatever KP’s salary is minus the minimum. Kyle O’Quinn makes the minimum give or take, and he gives a lot of the defensive value that KP does, plus KOQ can rebound (BTW, KOQ is 5/12 from 3 for a way too small sample over .400). Luke Kornet is basically KP minus the price tag.

    KP may turn into an excellent player, but he’s got a long way to go and he’s already 24. He doesn’t have that much more on the growth part of a player’s timeline. The Mavs are good because Luka Doncic was the biggest no-brainer pick since at least LeBron, maybe ever.

  37. Early Bird

    I saw one statistic that showed players shooting worse at the rim when Mitch plays, but the offensive rebound rate of the opposing team also skyrockets. Mitch is clearly out of position and I think at times he’ll adjust to go for the block instead of walling the drive off with his positioning. Mitch gets the block a lot of the time, but only because a player like Taj would have been in a place where the ballhandler would choose to back off earlier. There’s definitely also times where Mitch could contest a shot without leaving his feet and remaining in better position for the rebound.

    I recall Marcus Camby having similar issues on the Nuggets where the defense actually got worse when he played. Nate Silver thought it was due to other players taking it easy because they thought Camby would clean it up, but I think he had a similar issue of being out of position, therefore requiring the block attempt, rather than cutting off the drive.

    Also, @ Farfa,

    you’re amazing. I have no idea how you can make each recap special despite each game devolving into the same Randle and Morris Iso’s. If I tried to do the recaps I’d just start copy-pasting the same pithy, one-sentence summaries. I would never spark 200 comments of pure gold like the acting thread. I envy your creativity.

  38. ptmilo

    I saw one statistic that showed players shooting worse at the rim when Mitch plays, but the offensive rebound rate of the opposing team also skyrockets.

    it’s true this year. knicks drb% is 10pts lower when mitch plays. but these small sample on/off numbers are fickle. last year there was no difference (actually slightly better w him).

  39. GHenman

    I’m comparing what we have to what we could have had. I don’t think it’s that common to find a stretch 4 who is also a rim protector. That’s why they call him the Unicorn. Who else is out there that we might acquire?

  40. Early Bird

    it’s true this year. knicks drb% is 10pts lower when mitch plays. but these small sample on/off numbers are fickle. last year there was no difference (actually slightly better w him).

    Yeah, I’m skeptical of it too. However, I think it emphasizes the point I (and I think you) were trying to make. I use it as more of a rhetorical device, which is the extent of on-off value generally in my opinion. It’s just hard to pass up when it fits the narrative.

  41. Grocer

    Excellent work Farfa, really a treat today.

    I’m enjoying this analysis of Mitch’s shortcomings. Like Z-Man, I figured the big reason he wasn’t playing so much was that our guards can’t shoot for shit, but maybe the other stuff is a factor too. He’s improved at blocking the ball to his teammates but if the attempts are causing issues to begin with.. Offensive rebounds are still good though, there’s no good excuse for not playing him more (unless it’s a medical safety thing).

    it’s just a matter of time before he heals up and starts playing like the Rookie of the Year that his peers voted him to be.

    His peers were obviously trolling him and Zion, which makes it even funnier.

  42. Early Bird

    I still believe Mitch is clearly the best player on our team, and insanely valuable on both ends (moreso if we had a halfway decent pg). However, I don’t think it’s crazy to believe there’s a few things holding him back from being on Gobert’s defensive level.

  43. Grocer

    I’m comparing what we have to what we could have had. I don’t think it’s that common to find a stretch 4 who is also a rim protector. That’s why they call him the Unicorn.

    KP has been marginally better this year than Randle. I don’t see the Knicks being even a single game better with KP instead of Randle. KP is very slightly better than Randle on offense: 0.010 in TS%, 0.009 in eFG%. Randle’s ast/tov ratio is better! If Randle was making one more FT a game he’d be the clearly better player on offense. On defense, KP gets more blocks, and he rebounds better. Randle rebounds better on offense, TRB% is a whopping 0.4% in favor of KP. The only extra he brings are blocks, which are of questionable value depending on what happens after the block. Randle has been super shitty! KP has been super shitty as well. At this point, it looks like Mills robbed the Mavs.

  44. Grocer

    If Randle was making one more FT a game he’d be the clearly better player on offense.

    Like, no shit. KP v Randle per36:
    FGA: 18.7 v 15.5
    FTA: 4.4 v 5.2
    FTs: 3.1 v 3.2
    Pts: 21.0 v 17.8

    KP is scoring 3.2 more pts/36 on 3.2 more FGA/36. Sure, he can get some blocks, but he gets beat off the dribble more than Randle does.

  45. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    he’s probably the worst i’ve ever seen (maybe anthony randolph) at driving himself out of the play and out of the defensive rebound when the block chances are 10pct for him and 0pct for all other humans.

    This is precisely what Gobert excels at. He’s huge, of course, but he makes decisions at a very late stage in a drive, almost like he’s reading (almost instantaneously) the ball-holder’s body for the angle of attack. On many of his blocks, it looks (to me) that he’s going to be late, but he’s so quick and long that it almost seems intentional. It’s not until about 32 seconds into this video that you see him go up early against Conley. Mitch also has incredible recovery ability due to his athletic gifts, but his decision making is so poor that it negates a lot of those advantages, especially when he smells blood and wants to make SportsCenter.

    Representative example of “early” block at 5:38

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W5jjtdfZuLM

    Does anyone know if there’s tracked stats for blocks leading to turnovers?

  46. Early Bird

    I’ll also point out that if KP were on our team he’d be operating from the elbow as our first option. If Randle was on the Mavs, Doncic would give him several easy dunks a game not force him to try his godawful spin move.

  47. GianaDani

    KP coming of lay-off and serious injury and playing like shit is better than Randle.

    Luka is Magic like. KP is not special like that…but he’s an elite rim protector on defense and a championship level third options on offense. Who gives a shit if he makes 19 or 30? Everyone is over the luxury anyway.

    Cuban has created a perfect situation for a young Robin (#2) to join them and go on a decade long run at titles together.

    One more piece is still missing but Dallas is now a very enticing situation and on top of list for free agents over the next 2-3 years.

    Do nothing Knicks managers can have fun enjoying the draft picks while Cuban has a top 5 team over the next decade.

  48. Stratomatic: Frequently wrong, but never in doubt

    KP is WAY better than Randle. It’s not even a conversation. He’s a 1a or #2 option on a very good team and an impact inside defender.

    His shot is off due to the layoff, but he’s easily a better basketball player right now than from where he left off.

    He’s much stronger finishing at the rim, getting more aggressive on the boards (and will even tip the ball out when out of position) and his shot selection has also improved. Shots that he used to make are simply not dropping right now at the same rate because of the very long layoff.

    I’m watching the Dallas – Houston game right now. He’s having a major impact on BOTH sides.

    It’s comical to even compare them.

    Once KP just starts hitting shots just at the rate he used to, his TS% is going to be higher than it used to be just from his improving strength around the rim, shot selection, and better coaching & teammates.

    I said it would take a few months for him to get sharp and it is, but he’s clearly a stronger better player now.

  49. ptmilo

    farfa looks great on paper, but do we believe the boxscore.

    1. effect of teammates. you could download fiverr right now and hire an 11 yr old estonian genius to turn your broken english knick knock suckfest into a personal, rollicking journey of basketball bereavement for .01 bitcoin. would he be as good with only average teammates to plagiarize?

    2. empty stats. you can wave your mensa flags and upload your shitcanned karaoke clips to tiktok all day long, but none of it means anything if you aren’t winning games. as far as i can tell this guy is piling up numbers for the worst franchise and smallest sports blog crowd in history, and it has only gotten worse under his watch. let’s see him put up numbers when it counts.

    3. verticality. get a fucking ipad bed mount.

  50. TheClashFan

    JETS!

    If the Jets can turn around their season and save Gase, maybe the Knicks can and save Fiz? After all, the Jets have young star Sam Darnold stepping up, and the Knicks have young star Julius Randle.

    Wait. What?

  51. JK47

    KP is a better player than NYK version of Randle but whoop de doo. So are most NBA players. Randle turns the ball over incessantly, doesn’t really add anything on defense and misses lots of shots. He’s been terrible as a Knick, full stop.

    Porzingis has still been disappointing for the Mavs and looks like terrible value on that contract. It’s weird that Strat likes him so much since he seems to be a rather dumb, me-first, low-IQ, non-team-player kind of dude. He’s an overrated defender too, gets blocks but he’s soft. He’s playing next to the Slovenian Oscar Robertson though, so that will probably paper over a lot of his deficiencies.

  52. d-mar

    I’m watching the Dallas – Houston game right now. He’s having a major impact on BOTH sides.

    Yeah, 12 points on 10 shots, that is an improvement from his normal stat line.

    If anything, we should bemoaning the loss of Tim Hardaway, Jr. He’s got 17 points in the first half on 6 – 9 shooting, how the hell did we let that guy go?

  53. Early Bird

    KP career____3p%____ .361
    KP 2019-20 ____3p%____ .368

    Also, get back to us in January when KP historically falls off.

  54. Stratomatic: Frequently wrong, but never in doubt

    I think it’s obvious that if your C is contesting 3 pointers like Mitch it’s going to have some offsetting negative on your DREB% unless perhaps you have a terrific secondary rebounder and are basically strategically telling guys they have to hit the defensive boards hard when Mitch does that instead of deferring, boxing out, or leaking.

    The math of the trade-off is anyone’s guess, but Mitch’s ability to close out and block 3s is uniquely freaky, so the math is different for us.

  55. Early Bird

    Also, the Mavs are marginally better than us on defense. So I’m not sure that KP’s defense is really having that much of an effect. Yes, KP’s amazing defense is barely edging out our shit-tastic zone.

  56. Stratomatic: Frequently wrong, but never in doubt

    Do you guys even read what people say or do you just like arguing?

    On average KP is getting better shots now for the reasons I suggested but he’s not making them at the same rate he used to. He was even struggling from the FT line the first couple of weeks, let alone 3s and off the dribble.

    It takes time off a serious injury layoff to get the feel, timing, speed etc. back, but you can see how the improvements in his body alone are helping him finish at the rim.

  57. Stratomatic: Frequently wrong, but never in doubt

    @58

    Lmao

    KP has 9 rebounds at halftime. That used to be a very good whole game for him playing PF for the Knicks. He’s stronger and be asked to rebound now. So he is. He’s still not a great rebounder, but it was obvious he could be better if asked and stronger and he is.

  58. Editman

    I am definitely on team Farfa, consistent excellence.

    My take on Randle is this: in the late 1970’s when conservation was becoming a thing (Carter putting solar panels on the White House, etc.), there was a story of a Norwegian fellow (I think) who took it to an extreme and sealed up his house so completely to prevent heat escaping that he died from suffocation. The news reporter who broadcast the story said, “It was a good idea, not a great idea.”

    This has become a common phrase in our household. Ideas that have some real merit but taken to their logical extension are fatal.

  59. Early Bird

    Yes, once KP starts shooting again he may get his TS% back up to the slightly below average number it’s usually at. Then once December hits, KP will start shooting like crap again. So KP has about a week.

    It’s also pretty miraculous that KP’s ACL only hinder his shooting from midrange but doesn’t seem to bother him at all at the rim or from 3. It’s amazing how his ACL knows exactly where he is on the court so it can flare up on the 45% of his shots he takes from midrange.

    And to paraphrase Game of Thrones: “December is coming.”

  60. JK47

    Strat, I’m asking you this sincerely and not trying to bust your balls.

    Do you find Porzingis to be a team player, or a high IQ player? Because to me, it seems like he plays a pretty selfish and losing brand of ball: doesn’t move the ball well, takes bad shots, chucks too much. He just doesn’t really seem like your kind of player.

  61. GoNYGoNYGo - Dolan must sell

    Randle would be a big addition to a team that could use a scoring big, but one where he’s not the primary focus of a defense. He’s marketable.

  62. Farfa Post author

    And thanks everyone; every smile these recaps put on your face is a gift I’ll savor until the last of my days. The coin of the truly rich man is made of elicited emotions.

  63. Early Bird

    Just saw on twitter that RJ is sick tonight. Knox will get the start. So starting lineup of 4 PFs and Frank. Yay???

  64. geo

    So starting lineup of 4 PFs and Frank.

    stuff like that makes it tough…

    everytime you wanna hold fiz accountable for some half-assed effort out on the court – you think of something like this and realize the roster was toast from day one…

  65. geo

    none of it means anything if you aren’t winning games. as far as i can tell this guy is piling up numbers for the worst franchise and smallest sports blog crowd in history, and it has only gotten worse under his watch.

    both funny and sad…this really has been quite the long re-build…feels like we’re heading in to our 3rd decade soon (with a little melo mirage thrown in)…thank goodness for mitch, RJ and frank this season…

    we’re very lucky to have had the knicks hook you farfa…we sure don’t deserve you :)

    oh my god – #knickssupportgroup…

    when I’m asked what basketball team I follow (thankfully it doesn’t happen too frequently)…within at least a minute of mentioning “the knicks” will come the phrase: yeah, they suck

  66. Grocer

    Randle has been real bad, true enough. Just saying though, KP this year isn’t much better.

    Also, KP is a very good weak side rim protector but he’s a poor on ball defender, and generally overrated. Nice that he’s getting his rebounds up tho. And he’s shooting more 3’s and less long 2’s! So that’s nice. He’s still been about as efficient this year as Randle, with similar usage. The drop off in efficiency this year has been significantly higher for Randle than for KP. KP is better than Randle, but only very slightly.

  67. Knew Your Nicks

    Farfa recaps are not 100% accessible to me cause of my mediocre english and laziness to google stuff but they’re definitely pretty psychedelic and versatile and witty enough to make me read them from start to finish. Yes sir !

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