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Saturday, August 23, 2014

Should Knick Fans Hope For Carmelo?

The NBA season is unique among American sport leagues, in that the action doesn’t come to an end once a champion is crowned. After the Finals, fans are bombarded with the draft, summer league, and free agency. One week after the Lakers won a championship, John Wall was drafted by the Wizards. Two weeks after that, LeBron James chose to leave Cleveland for the Miami Heat. If professional leagues were movies, the NFL and MLB would end with the cowboy gunslinger riding into the sunset. Whereas the NBA would show him entering the next town and sitting down at a card game. Fans of other sports can turn their thoughts elsewhere once the season is done. Meanwhile, basketball fans suffer from brain overload which might explain their overly speculative minds.

The overactive hoopster brain tends to imagine moves a team could make to get better. For Knick fans this summer, one such fantasy is New York building their own super powered team with Amar’e Stoudemire, Chris Paul, and Carmelo Anthony. These players are likely to seek max contracts, but are they worth it? New York has already signed Amar’e, so it seems pointless to discuss the merits of that deal. There is little doubt that Paul, when healthy, is one of the best players in the league. John Hollinger said midway into the 2008 season:

I submit that Paul is the MVP of the non-LeBron portion of the league thus far… Paul is on pace to have, arguably, the best season ever by a player 6-3 or smaller, and because of his small market and relatively unamazing per-game stats, absolutely nobody is even talking about it.

So it’s time for me to ring the bell. He plays before a minuscule fan base, gets zero national TV exposure and might not even make the playoffs, which is keeping his performance under the radar. But Chris Paul is having a historic season thus far. It’s about time somebody noticed.

But what about the third of the New York trioka, Carmelo Anthony? Is he someone Donnie Walsh should be targeting with a max contract? On the surface the answer seems to be an obvious yes. Anthony propelled Syracuse to a national title in his freshman year, and has been named to 4 All-NBA teams (thrice he was a third teamer and once a second teamer).

On the other hand, Anthony’s teams have failed to make a dent in the playoffs. In 6 of his 7 seasons, the Nuggets have exited after the first round. He’s a high volume scorer who doesn’t have great efficiency. Last year Anthony was a tad above the league average with regards to true shooting percentage (54.8%) but the year before he was under it (53.2%). When Carmelo can’t drive to the hoop he ends up settling for a long jumper. According to Hoopdata, last year he attempted nearly the same amount of shots in the paint (7.9 fga/36) as from 16-23 feet (7.1 fga/36). Carmelo might be an especially poor fit in Knicks’ offense. Coach D’Antoni’s teams take a fair number share of shots from behind the arc, and ‘Melo is subpar in that area. Only twice has he hit more than a third of his three pointers, and his career average is an anemic 30.8%.

Then of course is the question of his defense. Over the course of his career, it was thought that Carmelo was a subpar defender. Last year Kevin Arnovitz of TrueHoop delved deeper into the matter:

Individual defense is difficult to quantify, but I consult Aaron Barzilai to get a feel for what his +/- numbers can tell us about Carmelo’s D.

“Anthony seems to have been a liability in 2007-2008 but not in 2008-09,” Barzilai says. “Maybe that’s the story, he quietly became at least a neutral player on defense in the regular season.”

By liability, Barzilai means that the Nuggets were a little more than five points per 100 possessions worse defensively with Anthony on the floor in 2007-08. This season, though, it was a wash. (The numbers don’t s
how any appreciable improvement from the regular season to the playoffs). The numbers indicate that it might be a little early to start talking NBA All-Defense selection for Anthony, but a five-point bump in defensive adjusted +/- suggests real improvement, provided the trend holds for another season or two.

At the other end of the evaluative spectrum, I ask a scout for an NBA team to tell me if he’s seen the improvement in Carmelo’s defensive game we hear so much about during the broadcasts.

“It’s there. Carmelo’s buying into a role,” the scout says. “You see it when it comes to containing dribble-penetration and as a weak side defender off the ball. That’s one of the reasons his steals are up. Is he becoming a lockdown defender? No. But he’s grasping the team concepts in terms of defensive rotations, and that’s the big thing.”

This year, the Nuggets were 1.1 points worse defensively when Carmelo was on the floor. So it appears that Anthony is at best a league average defender, certainly nothing more. Considering that any path to the Finals will likely go through teams with LeBron James, Vince Carter, and Paul Pierce, having a mediocre defender at small forward is a liability.

If you’re still not convinced that Carmelo would be overpaid with a max deal, then I present his list of similar players:

z-Sum FLName Year Tm PER TS eFG PTS ORB TRB AST STL BLK TOV
.000 Carmelo Anthony 2010 DEN 22.2 54.8 47.8 26.6 2.1 6.2 3.0 1.2 0.4 2.9
.075 John Long 1982 DET 17.4 53.5 49.3 24.7 1.5 4.2 2.4 1.1 0.4 2.7
.075 Xavier McDaniel 1989 SEA 18.6 53.3 49.3 25.3 2.7 6.5 2.0 1.3 0.6 3.2
.091 Dominique Wilkins 1985 ATL 20.9 51.4 45.8 26.4 2.7 6.6 2.4 1.6 0.6 2.7
.094 Kelly Tripucka 1985 DET 16.7 54.8 47.8 22.5 1.4 4.7 2.9 1.1 0.3 2.5
.098 Mark Aguirre 1985 DAL 21.3 56.3 51.5 27.4 2.5 6.4 3.3 0.8 0.3 3.4
.105 David Thompson 1980 DEN 19.0 54.9 47.4 24.4 1.6 5.1 3.6 1.1 1.1 3.4
.105 Eddie Johnson 1985 KCK 16.2 54.2 49.6 22.3 1.8 4.8 3.2 1.0 0.3 2.7
.111 Billy Ray Bates 1982 POR 17.8 53.0 48.1 24.4 1.6 3.2 3.3 1.2 0.1 2.7
.119 Junior Bridgeman 1979 MIL 18.8 54.4 50.6 23.3 2.1 5.4 3.0 1.6 0.8 2.5
.127 Purvis Short 1983 GSW 17.6 53.4 48.9 21.6 2.2 5.3 3.4 1.4 0.2 2.9

If the ceiling is Dominique Wilkins, then it’s a list that’s damning with faint praise. Like ‘Melo, the Human Highlight Film was an inefficient high volume scorer. The rest of the list contains above average players, but no one I’d mortgage the future for. Compare this list to Amar’e Stoudemire’s who was similar to multiple hall of famers (Kevin McHale, Karl Malone, Alonzo Mourning and probable future HOFer Dirk Nowitzki).

Perhaps Anthony’s appeal is partially linked to the comparison principle; that is objects can be made to look better or worse depending on the other objects they are grouped with. After a season of free agency with multiple All Stars, ‘Melo is the only sure-fire All Star available in 2011. Next year after Anthony the best obtainable players are Al Horford, Joakim Noah, Jason Richardson, Shane Battier, and Michael Redd; guys who aren’t exactly household names. Although Carmelo is the most popular player of the bunch, the Knicks would be best served in passing on him and waiting for something better to come along. Carmelo is a high volume scorer with average efficiency and little else, therefore he fits the typical stereotype of overpaid NBA star. It would be like renting Jonah Hex thinking all cowboy movies were like 3:10 to Yuma. Perhaps when dreaming of that championship team, New Yorkers should suppress their overactive imagination to exclude Carmelo.

63 comments on “Should Knick Fans Hope For Carmelo?

  1. Z

    Good case against Carmelo, Mike. But isn’t all of this moot if Carmelo is what makes Paul want to come to NY? Z-sums, TS%, and adjusted +/- is telling, but I don’t think Chris Paul cares about any of that. If you told him Carmelo was just a modern day Kelly Tripucka or a glorified Xavier McDaniel, he’d laugh all the way to Orlando.

    Like with Bosh, his Carmelo’s perceived value is his real value. For that reason Walsh is smart to pursue Anthony.

  2. Z-man

    It is interesting that all the similars are pre-1989. As one of the older KBers, I am very familiar with that era. The most intriguing comparisons for me are X-man, ‘Nique and Aguirre. None of the other guys were similar in stature (literally of figuratively) to Melo.

    X-man exploded on to the NBA scene, but never developed into the perennial all-star he showed every sign of becoming early on. He played one so-so season for the Knicks but he had a HUGE positive impact in the playoffs when we knocked off the Pistons and then lost to the Bulls in a dramatic 7-game series. I was at several of those games, and believe me, he was a stud. In particular, he gave Pippen all he could handle in that Bulls series. Riley’s plan was to sign Charles Smith and keep X, but X unexpectedly signed with Boston. Knick fans were very disappointed when this happened, although his game definitely showed signs of decline (bad knees?) compared to his early years with the Sonics.

    Wilkins, a perennial all-star and HOFer who Melo probably resembles the most, was unfortunate to have played nearly his entire career without much of a supporting cast (some very good players like Doc Rivers, but no HOF types) relative to his contemporaries Magic, Bird, and Isiah. Aguirre, on the other hand, played with some very good players in Dallas but was considered disappointing, out-of-shape, and not a winner. When he joined the Pistons, he lost weight, modified his game, and became a key player (but not the star) of the 2 championship teams. In fact, it may have been the “swap” of Dantley for Aguirre that put the Pistons over the top.

    As to the question of whether we should pay Melo the max, I think it depends on who we have, or who he keeps us from getting. If you can get him AND Chris Paul without gutting the team, I say go for it on the grounds that CP3 would bring out the best in Melo. Without Paul, he becomes a much riskier proposition.

  3. Frank

    Interesting post on this topic on another truehoop contributor Hardwood Paroxysm:

    http://www.hardwoodparoxysm.com/2010/08/06/incomplete-doesnt-mean-youre-not-elite/

    Once you get past the weird movie analogy his point is reasonably well taken, at least with me. I tend to agree with him. I think we can (or should) all agree that “max” player doesn’t mean that if Lebron is making the max that everyone should be making less than him. Lebron actually is probably worth 2-3x the max based on how much he contributes to wins as compared with the average NBA player. Just because Carmelo is not as good as James does not, in my mind, make him unworthy of being paid $17M or whatever it is — it just means Lebron should be making $30M and that he’s underpaid at $17M.

    What the Knicks have been missing ever since, well maybe Allan Houston to some extent, is a real go-to ballhandler/scorer when the game is on the line. Yes, I know points at the beginning of the game are worth the same at the end of the game. BUT – the teams that close well are the same teams that win. Who knows – maybe this year Gallo turns into that guy. But as the article from HP shows, Melo’s pretty damn good in the clutch.

  4. Mike Kurylo Post author

    “What the Knicks have been missing ever since, well maybe Allan Houston to some extent, is a real go-to ballhandler/scorer when the game is on the line. ”

    I think you’re putting the cart before the horse. The Knicks haven’t been missing someone who can score with the game on the line, they’ve been missing getting the game on the line. From my perspective, and I know this isn’t the common wisdom, that’s like needed a closer in baseball or a kicker in the NFL. While technically both are needed to win games, neither should really be a priority. The Pistons won a championship with Rip Hamilton as their go-to scorer, so count me in on the side that says it’s overrated.

  5. SeeWhyDee77

    Great analysis. I’ve said all along that ‘Melo is great, if u need a scorer. But we already have one-one that is slightly more efficient in Stat. That said, I agree with the case against ‘Melo. Like I said a few days ago, if the decision between Melo or CP3/Williams, then i’m goin with the great PG for 2 reasons. One is the obvious, a great PG will make EVERYBODY better..alot better (think J Kidd-the Jersey years). And 2, PG fits with what Mike D is tryin 2 do better than a 3 who can only score. Now I was among the faction of fans who insisted on us getting a go to scorer, but now I think it’s better to have a go to playmaker. That go to playmaker will make it easier for the best scorer in crunchtime, create for himself, or get wide open shots to the shooters on the floor with him. Add the fact that havin a go to playmaker who is jus as dangerous passing as he is scoring, and you have a defense with shorts full of excrement lol. Think about it, if u were on the floor against a Knick lineup with Stat, Rooster, Azu or Walker, Mason Jr, and CP3 or D Williams-with the score tied at 90 with 5 minutes to go-what kinda defense are u gonna play. If u don’t double Stat or the PG, they will crush you. When u double those guys it leaves the shooters open. Even if a defender stays with Rooster, the defense is still at a disadvantage becuz it’s gonna most likely be a big who isn’t as versatile as Rooster out there guarding him. Therefore in most cases, Rooster will be able to take his man off the dribble..and we all know what he can do offensively-right ‘Melo? See what i’m sayin? Shorts full of excrement.

  6. Frank

    Mike Kurylo: “What the Knicks have been missing ever since, well maybe Allan Houston to some extent, is a real go-to ballhandler/scorer when the game is on the line. ”I think you’re putting the cart before the horse. The Knicks haven’t been missing someone who can score with the game on the line, they’ve been missing getting the game on the line. From my perspective, and I know this isn’t the common wisdom, that’s like needed a closer in baseball or a kicker in the NFL. While technically both are needed to win games, neither should really be a priority. The Pistons won a championship with Rip Hamilton as their go-to scorer, so count me in on the side that says it’s overrated.  

    I can’t seem to find any stats re: our record in close games, but I remember it being pretty dismal last year. Of course I understand your point — there were too many blowouts last year and it’d be better to eliminate those before worrying about close games. But these points are probably important too:

    - Here are, in order, the top 10 “clutch scorers” in terms of points/48 last year: LBJ, Kobe, Dirk, Melo, Nash, Rip Hamilton, Vince Carter, Joe Johnson, Chris Paul, Brandon Roy. 8 out of the 10 came from teams that won 50+ games last year. Chris Paul is Chris Paul. So Rip is the only outlier. It would seem that the best teams have guys that can close out games in the clutch although more data (that almost certainly exists – I just can’t find it) is needed.

    - Melo scored 47.1 points/48 clutch minutes last year, good for 4th in the league (not to mention 54.4/48min in 08-09!). The Knicks top two “clutch” guys were Harrington and Lee, who COMBINED scored less than Melo @ 45.3 points/48 minutes. They were good for 63rd and 68th in the league, respectively. Now – Lee shot 65% from the field in those situations, so one might ask why he just didn’t shoot the ball all the time. I have no data to back this up (other than that 65% of his FG’s were assisted) but the reason he didn’t shoot more is probably because he is not good at initiating his own offense. YES -that is not only an indictment of him but also an indictment of whatever playmakers we had on the team, but still — it’s an important distinction. Now don’t get me wrong – of course we all want good offense leading to good shots, but at the end of the game when the defense takes away the 2-3 plays they know you want to run, there is still significant value in having guys who can flat out score 1-on-1.

  7. Frank

    That being said – I’d rather have Chris Paul or Deron Williams any day of the week rather than Melo, so please don’t misunderstand me. I’d possibly rather have Horford or Noah on this particular team also. But out of guys that are actually theoretically/realistically available this year I can’t think of anyone I’d rather have than Melo.

  8. Z-man

    In over 30 of the Knicks 53 losses last year, the Knicls were within 10 after 3 quarters.

    The Piston’s team was an anomaly, a perfect storm of sorts. You could also argue that Sheed and Billups (whose nickname if I recall was Mr. Big Shot?) were also go-to guys in the clutch, and both could create their own shot and were unfazed by pressure. Most teams built along those lines have failed. I would say that clutch scoring is just as important in B-Ball as in any other sport. Pressure brings out the best, and the worst, in athletes.

  9. danvt

    This makes me sad because I’m a Melo fan. I’ve always thought he fits as a Knick, just because of the Big East connection. Does it make a difference to anyone that the McNuggets have been a playoff team basically since he got there and an elite team since he teamed up with Billups? Also, if Chris Anderson is his replacement, as part of a defensive second unit, wouldn’t that explain some of the +/- numbers on defense.

    As the best player on a team, with a high usage rate, wouldn’t it make sense that his percentages would suffer as compared to, say, a Roger Mason, who stands unguarded and shoots from one spot on the floor?

    I always wanted everyone to give Jamal Crawford a break on his low shooting percentages, simply because he was the main victim of opponents blowing up the K’s first and second options. He went to ATL and got better, no?

    I realize that I have no stats to backup my questions/ assertions and am therefore unworthy. It seems like a forgone conclusion that Melo will be a Knick. Can someone give me a reason not to be skeptical about his chances for success here?

  10. SeeWhyDee77

    danvt..here’s my take. Melo’s great. One thing I failed to make clear earlier is role-wise, Melo and Stat would replicate each other. Much like Marbury and Francis. If we didn’t already have Stat..then hell yea-go after Melo. Considering that Mike D’s offense is built more on movement and less iso’s, then u hafta go for the elite PG, my PG bias aside of course.

  11. stratomatic

    Obviously, I would prefer signing Paul, but assuming we can’t sign him the question is should we sign Melo “instead”?

    I think there are several keys to whether we should do that.

    1. Can he play wing WITH gallo?

    They are both SFs. So I assume one them is going to have to play more of a SG role both offensively and defensively. Can either one do that? If not, I see some dimishing returns from having both of them.

    2. If they can play together, can D’Antoni make Melo a more efficient scorer either systematically or by reducing his scoring usage given that the Knicks have quite a number of other scoring options.

    3. What would we have to give up to get him?

    Personally, I don’t have any objection to bringing him to the Knicks because I think D’Antoni will make him a more efficient scorer and we do need that kind of go to guy. I also don’t object to giving him the max because I agree with Frank in that even though there are quite a few better players in the NBA, in a truly free market most of those players would get well more than the max.

    So my view is that the wisdom of this deal would be mostly related to whether any of the better players (like Paul) would actually be available, what we have to give up for Melo, and can we make the chemistry work given the similarity of some of the players.

  12. stratomatic

    I’m surprised there hasn’t been much of a reaction to the return of Isiah Thomas.

    I don’t blame Thomas for doing everything in his power to try to return to the NBA, but I think it’s well beyond obvious that James Dolan is one of the dumbest human beings in a position of power in the entire sports industry.

    Even if you go out of your way to defend Isiah by pointing to his very good overall record of drafting and go ridiculously out of your way to defend some of his moves by saying he inherited a mess, wasn’t given the freedom to burn down the team and start over like Walsh, swung for the fences a couple of times knowing the risks but unfortunately struck out (most of which I reject) he still cost the team 10M in a sexual harassment suit and tarnished the image of the franchise.

    I can’t even think of the appropriate nouns and adjectives to decribe Dolan other than to say he’s probably also a danger to himself and others when he doing things outside basketball.

  13. adrenaline98

    Just when I started feeling good about this team again. I’m telling you, sports loyalty stinks.

    I am more concerned about having Isiah Thomas back than I am about possibly losing out on Carmelo. I’ve been excited about the Knicks’ future and then these stories break. I don’t even know what to say anymore. Dolan really is a piece of shit.

  14. Frank

    adrenaline98: Just when I started feeling good about this team again. I’m telling you, sports loyalty stinks.I am more concerned about having Isiah Thomas back than I am about possibly losing out on Carmelo. I’ve been excited about the Knicks’ future and then these stories break. I don’t even know what to say anymore. Dolan really is a piece of shit.  

    Hopefully Stern rescues Dolan from himself by voiding the whole thing.

    As a season ticket holder, I would seriously consider starting a class-action lawsuit against Dolan for willfully devaluing the franchise and the product on the floor if Isiah is ever made GM or President of anything ever again. I’m no lawyer but I imagine season ticket holders or MSG stockholders could possibly do something like this, right? Even if you are the principle shareholder of a publicly traded company, you can’t deliberately sabotage the company, can you?

  15. DS

    @10 – Players like Iverson and Carmelo have very unique talents and when we hear that stats suggest these guys are highly overrated it’s diff. to completely accept.

    IMHO, signing Carmelo significantly takes touches away from Gallo, Chandler, and Randolph and it would greatly behoove the franchise for those guys to continue to improve. AND he could seriously logjam the payroll and prevent future flexibility. I think we need to remain flexible; we know what we’d get w/ Carmelo and it’s not a ring

    @13 – Isiah is Dolan’s buddy and Dolan is trying to help him out. Isiah will be kept away from decision making and players (i.e. prospective free agents) still regard him as a legend on the court and not a feckless GM.

    P.S. Xavier McDaniel dominated Scottie Pippen in the only 7 game series that MJ’s 6 championship teams ever played.

  16. gbaked

    This appears to be a great article (I am only starting to get into it) but I had to comment on your opening:

    “The NBA season is unique among American sport leagues, in that the action doesn’t come to an end once a champion is crowned. After the Finals, fans are bombarded with the draft, summer league, and free agency. One week after the Lakers won a championship, John Wall was drafted by the Wizards. Two weeks after that, LeBron James chose to leave Cleveland for the Miami Heat. If professional leagues were movies, the NFL and MLB would end with the cowboy gunslinger riding into the sunset. Whereas the NBA would show him entering the next town and sitting down at a card game. Fans of other sports can turn their thoughts elsewhere once the season is done. Meanwhile, basketball fans suffer from brain overload which might explain their overly speculative minds.”

    I mean… The Baseball Hot Stove is huge. The offseason is just about as big as the regular season. As much as I love basketball and the fun of the offseason, it is in no way as popular as the baseball offseason.

  17. Count Zero

    @15

    Agree 100% Frank. I don’t see how Stern could NOT void this as long as Zeke remains head coach at FIU — it is so clearly a collusion precedent. Imagine, Coach K, Calipari, Pitino, etc. signing “advisor” contracts with NBA teams…

    Dolan has got to be one of the biggest idiots ever to own a sports franchise. I swear if Isiah ever becomes President or GM of the Knicks again, I will switch to being a Nets fan. I have never switched allegiances on a team in my life, but this would be the one time I would have to do it. GRRRRRRRR….

  18. David Crockett

    Nice take Mike,

    but I think that to some degree the issue shouldn’t be Melo at the max or bust. To me the most telling insights are that a) he’s a mediocre at best defender (no surprise there), and b) his shots come in the 16-23ft. range, the toughest shots in the game, because he runs mostly isolations in the half court. That style of offense is an anachronism, but “scorers” love it.


    Saying no to Melo at the max (or just about any other player really), is probably the easy part. When salaries are compressed at the top more candidates will vie for the top salary slot than are truly deserving.

    The real question for NY is how and where can the Knicks improve going forward? On the surface the answer is to improve either or both guard spots.

    That obviously shifts focus to Chris Paul. Paul rather than Melo at the max is a no brainer. But Z raises the interesting issue. It appears that perhaps where the market is going is to giving max-quality players more say in roster construction since you can’t pay them a talent premium. So, knees notwithstanding, if Chris Paul is worth the max, and if bringing in Melo significantly raises the odds of landing him, is Paul still worth it?

  19. adrenaline98

    Count Zero: @15 I swear if Isiah ever becomes President or GM of the Knicks again, I will switch to being a Nets fan. I have never switched allegiances on a team in my life, but this would be the one time I would have to do it. GRRRRRRRR….  (Quote)

    Was just about to post this.

  20. adrenaline98

    @19, Like I said in the other thread/topic, I think Melo’s talents would greatly benefit the Knicks because he wouldn’t be relied upon so heavily to score. He would have the CHOICE of focusing on other things, such as defense and other intangibles that he can’t do in Denver.

    He’s got one of the sweetest post up games in the league. Him and Amar’e doing inside out with Knicks shooters would be amazing. Add Paul in, I don’t see Melo chucking up 20-30 shots a night, half from long range to three pointers that he is doing now. He would have a lot more offensive options. I think he’d be a better fit in NY and his offensive efficiency would vastly improve.

    With Paul running the show, he not only could get Melo some great looks at the basket, but more important, he would subtract from Melo’s bad attempts.

  21. yehudi3000

    i dont think th knick gonna “give up for paul” bye signing melo.
    dont forget that turiaf, felton, gallo, randolph finish their contracts in 2011-2012

  22. adrenaline98

    Man I wish I can edit posts in these threads. Anyone have numbers they can pull up from the Olympic team when Melo was a great offensive contributor? I remember him being highly efficient when playing amongst other stars.

    He’d have the outside shooting and two other stars to play with if Paul comes along.

    Closest thing I could find was Sports-reference.com’s basic statistics and I don’t know how to compile them into advanced stats. I’d love to see how Wade, Bron, and (especially) Bosh performed when playing with each other.

  23. Mike Kurylo Post author

    gbaked:

    The Baseball Hot Stove is huge. The offseason is just about as big as the regular season. As much as I love basketball and the fun of the offseason, it is in no way as popular as the baseball offseason.  

    I wasn’t talking about the popularity as the timing. The slowest time for baseball is November -> March. Granted moves occur at that time, but there is no draft, and no spring training. Pitchers and catchers don’t report until February, and spring training games don’t start until March.

    For the NBA it’s not from June -> September as you would expect., but more from August -> October. So right when the season is completed there’s lots of goings on: draft, summer league, free agency/trades. Baseball only has one of those within close proximity to the end of the playoffs. Basketball has all three.

    MLB feels “complete” or “finished” in October. With the draft on the heels of the Finals, the NBA doesn’t have that same feel of an ending.

  24. ess-dog

    I’ve come out against Melo for the max before, but he does have 2 things going for him. One, his Win scores were exceptional in this year’s playoffs, so it’s possible that he can improve his efficiency. And two, if the road to Chris Paul runs through Melo, then it is worth pursuing.
    The key is having the cap space to be able to sign these guys as free agents outright. Then if you want to do a sign and trade, you are working from a position of power. It’s how we got so much back for Lee. We always had the threat of just re-signing him so GS had to give us what we wanted. This was Donnie’s genius maneuver this offseason.
    Ideally, we can get Melo as a free agent, maybe giving up a 1st or 2 2nds for him because he will insist on signing with us regardless of getting that final year, basically what LeBron did. Then, hopefully, we would just do the same with Chis Paul the next year, and not give up any real assets.
    Imagine a lineup:

    2011: Felton, Melo, Gallo, Amare, Randolph

    2012: Paul, Melo, Gallo, Amare, Randolph.

    Plus a talented bench that would have more experience. Of course we would wait until 2012 for this, but it could be worth it.

  25. danvt

    David Crockett: So, knees notwithstanding, if Chris Paul is worth the max, and if bringing in Melo significantly raises the odds of landing him, is Paul still worth it?

    Wow, Melo could be like Okafur? That’s what you’re saying? Geez, I really have drank the Kool-Aid here, it seems. However, I see a guy that’s equivalent to a five tool player in baseball. Melo can handle, shoot, and rebound (three tool player?). On the surface, you’d think, if he decided he wanted to, he could be a better rebounder and defender than Yoakim Noah. He’s just such a superior athlete.
    Assuming we’re getting Chris Paul in 2012. Of the players available next summer, who would you choose?

  26. John Kenney

    @Mike- concerns about Melo’s 3pt shooting are very legitimate given Mike D’s system, but is it realistic to say we would be “mortgaging the future” to sign him? Correct me if I’m wrong, but it appears that we would be able to sign him to a max deal after this season without needing to clear any cap room by getting rid of our young players; we could then go over the cap retaining Gallo Randolph etc if they continue to improve. I understand cap flexibility would be gone, but I don’t think the future would be much affected, besides the fact that the draft picks we’re sending to Houston would be much lower.

  27. adrenaline98

    John Kenney: @Mike- concerns about Melo’s 3pt shooting are very legitimate given Mike D’s system, but is it realistic to say we would be “mortgaging the future” to sign him? Correct me if I’m wrong, but it appears that we would be able to sign him to a max deal after this season without needing to clear any cap room by getting rid of our young players; we could then go over the cap retaining Gallo Randolph etc if they continue to improve. I understand cap flexibility would be gone, but I don’t think the future would be much affected, besides the fact that the draft picks we’re sending to Houston would be much lower.  (Quote)

    You can only go over the cap to sign them if you don’t bring anyone else in. Gallo and Randolph take up about 9 million in cap room.

    Suppose the Knicks are at 51 out of 58 mil, and Gallo/Randolph’s contracts are up. They would still have a combined caphold of about $9 million (max is say 16 mil as an example). The Knicks would have to renounce their rights to free up the 9 mil for another max contract. After you renounce rights, you cannot go over the cap to sign them.

    However, suppose Randolph and Gallo both become stars. You can offer them both 12 mil a year and go over your cap you 51 + 24 = 75 mil as an example. But you wouldn’t be able to sign an FA.

  28. yehudi3000

    “2011: Felton, Melo, Gallo, Amare, Randolph

    2012: Paul, Melo, Gallo, Amare, Randolph.”

    the knicks have about 42.4 mil guaranteed (if they choose to keep gallo and randolph) for next year, its means that they can offer carmelo somthing like 15.5 mil for the first year.

    as for 2011-2012, if melo signs they’ll have about 38.5, with only stats, carmelo, and mozgov guaranteed ( if we wont have the option to cut him).
    its mean we can offer paul a max contract and have the other players close to min. if we get lucky and cut mozgov out we will be able to keep at least on of gallo/randoph.

    my best hope is that melo/paul will sign for a lesser contract like maimi’s players did, and meybe stats will take a pay-cut (can he do that?) this way we will have our dream team.

  29. Thomas B.

    [He] doesn’t have great efficiency. Last year Anthony was a tad above the league average with regards to true shooting percentage (54.8%) but the year before he was under it (53.2%). When Carmelo can’t drive to the hoop he ends up settling for a long jumper. According to Hoopdata, last year he attempted nearly the same amount of shots in the paint (7.9 fga/36) as from 16-23 feet (7.1 fga/36).

    Man I said the same about Anthony Randolph (poor shooter who takes as many shots beyond 16 feet–which he sucks at hitting–as he does at the rim) and posters dumped boiling oil on me. But Randolph can play some defense, rebound, and block a shot or two. Plus he won’t cost you 17 million dollars.

    By the time we can sign him he will be 27, three years past the age Dave Berri says a player peaks. I was against giving a max contract to a one dimensional voulume scorer named Joe Johnson at 29 and I don’t feel a whole lot better about doing the same for Anthony at 27. “Duh, but Thomas Amar’e Stoudemire is..” Thomas: “A better player than Anthony or Johnson.”

    Anthony does not bring enough to the table to get a max deal. We already have much better scoring options in terms of efficiency, and well rounded players who come much cheaper. Remember when people thought double double machine Zach Randolph was the dominant inside scorer we needed? 20/10 poison he was. Why do we still think a volume scorer is the key to winning? You don’t need a volume scorer, you need a good player.

    Carmelo’s WS/48 have never been near the star level of .200. For less money you could have Marc Gasol/Marcus Thornton or Jokiam Noah/A. Brooks. I’d rather have the younger cheaper players that are more well rounded. Than an overpriced one trick pony that doesnt connect on 55% of his tricks (45% if we are talking TS and we should). And has not produced enough to be a star. Read the book people, read Berri’s book.

  30. ess-dog

    Put down that Kool-Aid Thomas – it’s spiked!!!
    Just kidding.
    Of course I agree with you and Berri to a degree, but again, if Melo delivers Paul, you have to think about it.
    And you have to figure that the only way a team (besides Golden State) lets a young player like Thorton, Brooks or Noah walk is if that player is actually closer to average than to a “star”.
    I would love to believe we have 2 stars in waiting with Randolph and Gallo, but realistically, I know the odds are against that happening to even one much less both.
    Long story short – it’s tricky collecting “young talent” when you have so few draft picks. The plan pretty much calls for hoping marquee free agents want to play in New York.

  31. Z-man

    Mike K,
    I have expressed concerns about your similarity-score methodology since you unveiled this metric, mainly in that the results are only useful in a very general sense, and that the indications you draw are a bit subjective. Melo vs. Stat is another example of this. In Stat’s case, you refer to the HOFers on his list, but fail to mention that the most similar player-season (Kevin McHale) is actually LESS similar to Amar’e than the least similar player on Melo’s list is to Melo (Purvis Short.) I also noticed that the players that come up similar to Melo are all from the years 1979-1989, with 7 of them between 1982-1985. That’s just too weird.

    As I have said before, the problems I see arise from two main issues. First, the use of one year’s stats do not provide for whether a certain player is a generic guy having a career year or a HOFer having a particularly bad year. Second, the same-age thing totally discounts time in the league, or the effect of an injury in that year on a player that would otherwise be similar.

    I am wondering where Z-scores would interpret how Paul Pierce measures up to the 25 yo Melo as a similar player at ages 24, 25, and 26 for Pierce. When they were both 25:

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/pcm_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=0&p1=piercpa01&y1=2003&p2=anthoca01&y2=2010

    Their stats are remarkably similar in a number of areas. Both are high usage small forwards and similar scorers/rebounders whose PERs are roughly the same. Melo is the better overall shooter while Pierce is the better 3-point shooter. Pierce is clearly the better defender and passer, Melo was the better ball handler.

    However, if you compare Melo at age 25 to Pierce at age 26, the trends are similar, but that was a down season for Pierce. Melo clearly looks like superior player:

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/pcm_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=0&p1=piercpa01&y1=2004&p2=anthoca01&y2=2010

  32. Mulligan

    I do dig Melo, inefficient though it may be, it’s fun to watch the myriad ways he can put the ball through the rim.

    That said, if I could pick a 2011 player to sign, it would easily be Joakim Noah. Dude’s a hard worker, a born leader and has a skill set that would thrive next to STAT. Dude’s an under rated passer and ball handler. Plus, he’s way more New York than Melo.

    On kind of a related note, I have to say I love the signing of quality locker room guys. Mason, Turiaf and Felton are, from what I’ve read, some of the most well-liked guys in the league. It’ll be nice to have a locker room with some positive vibes instead of the weirdness of the past few years. I also think that’ll fit better with D’Antoni’s general disposition. As long as I tune out this Zeke drama, I’m feeling pretty good about this season.

  33. Thomas B.

    Mulligan:

    No, Thomas B. is Yoda! ;)  

    (Quote)

    For my ally is the Stats,
    and a powerful ally it is.
    Nerds create it, make it grow.
    Its information surrounds us and binds us.
    Advanced numbers are they,
    not this raw data.
    You must feel the Stats around you.

  34. Mike Kurylo Post author

    Z-man: Mike K,
    I have expressed concerns about your similarity-score methodology since you unveiled this metric, mainly in that the results are only useful in a very general sense, and that the indications you draw are a bit subjective.

    Yes the players in Amar’e's list are less similar to the ones in Carmelo’s. However one thing this indicates is that there aren’t mediocre players very similar to Amar’e. I think that’s important. For instance maybe for Carmelo there are lots of Hall of Famers within a same size net used for Stoudemire. BUT there are lots of average/good players in between, that are closer. That means something. It is significant that there are lots of non-great players in between Carmelo and some of the great players.

    To put this in an analogy. Let’s say that you’re going to buy a plot of land during the Gold Rush. You go somewhere and there are lots of plots of lands nearby, but the ones around it are average/good, but none are worth the investment. Ten-20 miles away in each direction some people have struck gold, but there are lots of claims in between them and you, most of which have not.

    Now you go into a remote area, and ask someone about the land. They say there isn’t anyone mining for gold with 10 miles. But 10 miles to the north someone got rich, 10 miles to the south someone got rich, 15 miles to east someone got rich, and 20 miles to the west someone got rich. Which plot of land do you buy?

    As for expanding the list to +/-1 year I’m still not 100% sure on the results being as accurate. It could be nit-picky to stick to the same age, but opening it up to a 3 year span seems a bit more like manipulating the data than not. Why not +/-2 years? Why not only look a year ahead for youngsters and a year back for vets? Who is to say that this isn’t a bigger can of worms.

  35. Mike Kurylo Post author

    As for Pierce/Carmelo the Z-score is .174, 20th.

    BTW McHale/Stoudemire’s similarity is .134. Carmelo’s closest HOF worthy is Pierce at .174 (unless you think Vince Carter [.157] will make it).

    Here are their similarities for +/- 1year

    z-Sum FLName Age Year Tm PER
    0 Carmelo Anthony 25 2010 DEN 22.2
    0.075 John Long 25 1982 DET 17.4
    0.075 Xavier McDaniel 25 1989 SEA 18.6
    0.082 Dominique Wilkins 26 1986 ATL 23.3
    0.091 Dominique Wilkins 25 1985 ATL 20.9
    0.094 Kelly Tripucka 25 1985 DET 16.7
    0.094 Kelly Tripucka 24 1984 DET 16.8
    0.098 Mark Aguirre 25 1985 DAL 21.3
    0.105 David Thompson 25 1980 DEN 19
    0.105 Eddie Johnson 25 1985 KCK 16.2
    0.111 Billy Ray Bates 25 1982 POR 17.8
    0.112 Xavier McDaniel 26 1990 SEA 17.9
    0.112 Purvis Short 26 1984 GSW 16.9
    0.115 Danny Granger 26 2010 IND 19.8
    0.118 Xavier McDaniel 24 1988 SEA 18.2
    0.119 Bernard King 26 1983 NYK 20.3
    0.119 Junior Bridgeman 25 1979 MIL 18.8
    0.127 Purvis Short 25 1983 GSW 17.6
    0.13 World B. Free 26 1980 SDC 22.7
    0.133 Eddie Johnson 24 1984 KCK 16.6
    0.136 Eddie Johnson 26 1986 SAC 15.8
    0.139 Mitch Richmond 25 1991 GSW 17.8
    0.141 World B. Free 25 1979 SDC 22.1
    0.142 Richard Hamilton 24 2003 DET 18.7

    z-Sum FLName Age Year Tm PER
    0 Amare Stoudemire 27 2010 PHO 22.6
    0.112 Chris Gatling 28 1996 TOT 19.9
    0.113 Rik Smits 28 1995 IND 19.5
    0.132 Bill Cartwright 26 1984 NYK 18.5
    0.134 Kevin McHale 27 1985 BOS 20.7
    0.149 Kevin McHale 26 1984 BOS 20
    0.18 Carl Landry 26 2010 TOT 19
    0.194 Calvin Natt 26 1983 POR 19
    0.204 Shaquille O’Neal 26 1999 LAL 30.5
    0.205 Mitch Kupchak 26 1981 WSB 16.6
    0.206 Rik Smits 27 1994 IND 19.7
    0.209 Mike Gminski 26 1986 NJN 19
    0.214 Darryl Dawkins 28 1985 NJN 14.5
    0.217 Yao Ming 28 2009 HOU 22.7
    0.218 Danny Schayes 28 1988 DEN 18.4
    0.219 Cedric Ceballos 26 1996 LAL 22.1
    0.235 Karl Malone 27 1991 UTA 24.8
    0.236 Andres Nocioni 27 2007 CHI 15.6
    0.238 Corliss Williamson 28 2002 DET 20
    0.239 Kenny Carr 28 1984 POR 17.3
    0.243 Alonzo Mourning 27 1998 MIA 22.4
    0.246 Dino Radja 26 1994 BOS 18.2
    0.247 Buck Williams 27 1988 NJN 18.2
    0.258 Armen Gilliam 27 1992 PHI 18
    0.261 Chris Gatling 26 1994 GSW 18.7

  36. Mike Kurylo Post author

    One though, combining multiple seasons might bring their own set of issues as well. What if I decide to use 3 seasons worth of data. For a player just hitting their stride, the average will not capture the true essense of a player. For a veteran on their downside it will contain data from their better years.

  37. Z-man

    All good points, Mike, and I appreciate the thoughtful, detailed response. It may be that the formula itself is curious in the way it values each of its components, but I will refrain from further criticism unless I can come up with something better (I do believe the +/- 1 year is much more telling, especially when the same guys come up multiple times. Clearly it is effective in getting a lot of high volume shooters having pretty good years to compare with Melo at 25yo.

    What’s interesting is that PER somewhat rewards high volume but inefficient scorers, yet your similarity scores somehow bring guys with huge differences in PER into the fold. Long and Short, and Tripucka and Eddie Johnson are examples of guys that don’t seem to belong on a list with Melo and Wilkins, or Aguirre, Bernard, or X-Man in their few but impressive prime years.

    Amar’e's season was similar to Shaq in a year he posted a PER of 30.5 (he only played half a season, but stats were pretty consistent with other prime years) and to Mitch Kupchak in a year he posted a PER of 16.6, indicating that Shaq and Kupchak were very similar as well. That’s quite a range. Is PER really that grossly flawed?

    Anyway, I think that the worst case for Melo is X-Man (he stops developing and flames out quickly as he gets older) and the best case is a ‘Nique-Aguirre hybrid (has the talent to modify his game in the right situation.) I, for one, think he is an OK gamble w/o CP3 and a very smart move if we get Paul.

  38. Z-man

    I also found it interesting that the only two contemporaries that came up via the +/- 1 yr chart for Melo are Hamilton and Granger (I guess Pierce and Carter are also reasonably close since they were in the top 20 of the 25yo season comparison.) Granger had a strong season last year, but he’s not a max player in my book. Hamilton was a really good piece for the Pistons in his prime, but also not worth the max. If the similarity scores are valid in assessing a player’s value, this doesn’t help his case for being a max player.

  39. DS

    Now ESPN is hinting that Walsh might get pushed out by March: http://espn.go.com/blog/new-york/knicks/post/_/id/258/dolan-must-decide-on-walshs-future-by-april-1

    #1 I hope ESPN is just speculating in suggesting that Dolan is still high on Isiah and low on Walsh and is trying to make a story out of a clause in Walsh’s contract rather than using legit sources.
    #2 I can understand everyone freaking out until we’ve been assured that Isiah won’t ever, EVER be GM/President again. But honestly, if he’s ONLY making recruiting trips to FA’s like CP3 and/or gets to weigh in but can be overruled on draft choices, AND you can somehow avoid a power struggle while involving him, I think he could even (gulp) be helpful.

  40. SeeWhyDee77

    Fellow Knick fans…put on ur knee high rubber boots..shit’s about to get deep-unless there’s a way to get Dolan out. Why can’t we have an owner like Cuban? Lol..Dolan is becoming the Al Davis of basketball. Naw, I can’t even say Al Davis becuz Davis was instrumental in changing the NFL for the better. This is ridiculous. Yes, Zeke has his skill set. I get that. But the way Dolan is handling the love triangle between himself, Walsh and Zeke literally makes me sick to my stomach. I just read Sheridan’s article that DS just posted an I can’t stop shuddering. Why can’t Jimmy D see that Walsh has made the team worlds better while giving us cap flexibility? Something Zeke couldn’t do. Maybe Zeke wasn’t the ringleader of the circus atmosphere of a few years ago after all. It has become painfully clear that Dolan is comfortable in the kind of chaos that can destroy an organization. If sheridan’s article is remotely true, then nothing good can come out of this. I look forward to seeing awkward interviews of Walsh and nights of D’Antoni coaching uncomfortably and without confidence. Which will lead to epic fail on the court. I hope i’m wrong, but this does not smell right. Please oh please Jimmy D-don’t turn Madison Square into the Garden of rotten fruit!! Walsh has done a better job than any of us expected (even tho he swung and missed on Lebron)-please respect that Jimmy D…

  41. gbaked

    Mike Kurylo: MLB feels “complete” or “finished” in October.

    @24

    Fair enough. I dont agree, as soon as the WS is over, baseball goes into FA frenzy which generally last right up to pitchers and catcher… but I see what you are saying. Kinda a matter of perspective I guess.

    If you look at metsblog site stats (http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/metsblog.com) you can see there is a spike around the turn of the year and slightly before, which would be the dead time you talked about. Chatter and musings on the baseball blogs actually rise during the offseason. There are the winter GM meeting, not to mention the Winter leagues that take place. Plus, with a Major League roster of 25 and about 7 Minor league teams for each Major League team… there is much more personal movement then in basketball. There is also the Rule 5 draft, arbitration, Fans at the level of commentators here (very involved) almost look forward to the offseason more then the regular season. http://baseball.about.com/od/seasonstructur1/a/0809calendar.htm

    But I digress from the main point of the article… (at least its not about IT).

  42. Mike Kurylo Post author

    @46 – That is a nice calendar. Perhaps I’m underselling the MLB offseason a bit. Maybe as a basketball blogger I’m more sensitive to the NBA’s schedule (“yes hun, the Finals just ended and the season is over. But I still have to blog because the draft is next week, and then there is free agency, and summer league…”)

    @42/43 – I do appreciate the input. No method is good without a healthy dose of criticism. Perhaps one day when I have a lot of free time on my hand I’ll go back and tinker with adding multiple years (although I’ll have to figure out what to do with rookies, players with missing seasons, etc.)

    As for PER fluctuating – that doesn’t bother me because the criteria I’m looking at and the criteria Hollinger is looking at are different. I value efficiency much more than PER, and there are probably other more subtle differences as well. Actually I think I use PER as one of the fields (a small portion of the formula to get a player’s general worth). At least in one of the versions I did.

  43. JK47

    I like efficient players too, and I love stats-based analysis, and the inefficiency of a guy like, say, Jamal Crawford, drove me
    nuts.

    But basketball stats can’t be looked at in a vacuum. Let’s compare ‘Melo to his teammate Nene. When you look at Nene’s eFG% and TS% compared to ‘Melo’s it’s obvious that Nene is more efficient. Yet the Nuggets don’t run their offense through Nene– of course, they run it through ‘Melo. Nene gets loads of easy buckets because of his proximity to the hoop. He is efficient because most of
    his shots are easy shots. But you can’t have a putback or a dunk on every single posession. Somebody has to take the difficult shots. Somebody has to take the long jumpers. Somebody has to shoot with the clock winding down.

    Now, the truly monster players in the league– MeBron, Wade and Durant– also have this burden, and they do the job far more efficiently than ‘Melo. But comparing ‘Melo to Kelly Tripucka and Dino Radja is absurd. Those guys didn’t have the burden of taking every difficult shot and they didn’t have to deal with the opposing team’s best defensive wings every time they touched the ball.

  44. danvt

    SeeWhyDee77: I just read Sheridan’s article that DS just posted an I can’t stop shuddering.

    Me too. Also, have you checked out Bill Rhoden’s stuff, in the Times, on Isiah, lately. Two days in a row he prints soft articles and he rips on fans like us who wanted him out. Isiah has some types of intelligence, yes, and his basketball talent in his prime is unquestioned, yes, and young stud basketball players are honored to meet him, yes, but beneath that beatific, Michael Jackson, soft spoken charm, lies a person with a dictatorial temperament. His run was characterized by meanness and impatience.

    On an even simpler level, does Art Howe get to come back to the Mets? Let’s bring back Ed Sherrod as a consultant! How about Campy Russell? Those guys had better NYK runs than IT, record-wise I’m quite sure, and no 11 million dollar lawsuits! Should we get Melo? Get Rory Sparrow on the phone, quick.

    It does kind of remind you of when the Yanks had a rift between their folks in NY and Tampa.

    Gene Michael has been a powerful unspoken voice in the Yanks success for years and has been a de facto GM. He doesn’t have a major title and is, thus, able to stay away from the media. Sheridan is right in that it doesn’t matter what your title is, it’s your proximity and sway with the decision makers that makes all the difference. I can’t see this ending well if it’s really true.

    Hopefully, it’s just a slow news cycle and people are trying to help Isiah rehabilitate his image, but Knick fans are looking more like Cub fans by the day. I’m worried we’ll never win until the Dolan’s sell.

  45. JK47

    For what it’s worth, my eyes and the stats both tell me that ‘Melo is quite similar to a blast from our past, Bernard King.

  46. KnicksFaninNH

    This is kind of an older article. But it was a fascinating look at Isiah Thomas coach vs. GM.

    http://www.cosellout.com/2007/12/19/isiah-the-coach-the-death-by-white-chocolate-theory/

    In the end I think that Dolan is a nut and a cancer. Isiah *is* one of the best drafters of talent in the past 15 years. But the whole sexual harassment case and the fact that he had a really hard time being a reasonable coach for the Knicks puts things in a different light. I don’t think after the sexual harassment thing you can really put this guy as your #1 face on an NBA team. (Not withstanding Kobe Bryant who is not part of management.)

    However…want to do an interesting what if? What if we had never traded for Zack Randolf? How different would the team have been? Remember Curry was actually a productive center before Randolf came aboard.

    Honestly Larry Brown whom everyone thought would be a savior did his absolute WORST coaching job ever. (42 different starting line ups?).

    Anyway, Donnie Walsh has done a seriously solid job getting us out of the morass AND brought excitement back to the Knicks again. I would hate to see him go.

  47. danvt

    JK47: For what it’s worth, my eyes and the stats both tell me that ‘Melo is quite similar to a blast from our past, Bernard King.

    I’m with that. King is probably my all time favorite Knick and I think Carmelo could have that kind of impact. I know I’m not worthy, but it seems to me that putting him in our starting five instead of Gallo or Randolph gets us ten more wins this season.

  48. JK47

    It’s been debated here ad nauseam, but Isiah’s reputation as “draft genius” was made an awfully long time ago– from 1995 to 1997, when he drafted Damon Stoudamire, Marcus Camby and Tracy McGrady in consecutive years. His draft record with the Knicks is David Lee and that’s pretty much it. Trevor Ariza and Channing Frye
    are useful players, but Isiah gave both of them away for
    nothing, which to me negates the “genius” of having drafted them. Wilson Chandler is okay for a late first rounder and pretty much everybody else sucked.

    Isiah’s skills as a talent evaluator are putrid. This is a guy who believed that Stephon Marbury and Steve Francis could
    coexist in the backcourt, that Eddy Curry and his 6.5 RPG was a legitimate NBA center and that the perfect frontcourt mate to Curry would be Zach Randolph. Let’s never forget that Isiah gave us a starting five of Stephon Marbury, Jamal Crawford, Quentin Richardson, Zach Randolph and Eddy Curry– the most ill-fitted and impossible to root for team that I have ever seen.

  49. Frank O.

    I have to say, no matter how well Walsh and D’Antoni do, there will always be Dolan.
    I’m not sure I knew of a Knicks fan that wasn’t at least a little relieved to see the Knicks make some sound moves this off season.
    And yet, Dolan couldn’t help F up the Karma with this Isiah deal.
    The conflict of interest is pretty obvious, so I suspect the league will strike it down. But Dolan is an extraordinary idiot. The arrogance.

  50. TheRant

    @44

    >> But honestly, if he’s ONLY making recruiting trips to FA’s like CP3
    >> and/or gets to weigh in but can be overruled on draft choices,
    >> AND you can somehow avoid a power struggle while involving
    >> him, I think he could even (gulp) be helpful. DS

    DS, I’m not certain your note is adequately appreciative of what it’s like to work in a large organization. Especially one, like the Knicks, with an idiot at the very top.

    Of course Isaiah may very well be a good judge of basketball talent. But even hiring him *just* to scout talent can have an effect on the morale of the overall group. If it rocks the apple cart and upsets Walsh, D’Antoni, and others, it might be foolish indeed.

    There are times when the boss of a large organization might even want people to be nervous. But this isn’t one of them. Rebuilding a club with a salary cap takes time and patience. But most of all, it takes a steady hand.

    I think most on this list feel that Marbury, Crawford, and Zach Randolph were all capable players, but capable players that were making too much money, and who weren’t going to get us to another level.

    But trading them took patience and confidence. If you think you might lose your job due to someone whispering in your boss’ ear, you are less likely to do such things.

    Look at Pat Riley. To any Knick fan he’s an evil genius. He seems to have had a diabolical plan all along, and hoped (but didn’t know for certain) it would work out. Do you think he could have traded Beasley away, or given away first round picks, without the certainty of his plan panning out, if Mickey Arison was hosting Isaiah on his boat every time Riley called him to report in? I’m guessing he would have been unsure.

    Plain and simple, Isaiah needs a restraining order. And James Dolan needs a terrible boating accident.

    Rant out.

  51. DS

    @54 – Isiah cannot be a GM, that’s for sure; he inherited a poorly performing lineup with the highest payroll in the NBA. He tried for a bold, quick turnaround and he became like the gambler who starts to lose money and then makes increasingly impulsive bets to recover his money.

    And for the record, I don’t think it’s a smart idea to add Zeke back to the mix.

    BUT if Dolan wants to let Isiah rebuild his rep. by letting him schmooze Chris Paul on a recruiting trip or by calling attention to a prospect like Wilson Chandler and he keeps Walsh and/or D’Antoni in place to keep him in check, then we can prob. take our fingers of the panic button. It seems like a high risk low reward move for us as Knicks fans; but we also shouldn’t unquestioningly swallow the dramatic spin ESPN is putting on this story either.

  52. DS

    @56 – Rant,

    If it were up to me, the Knicks would have a restraining order on the man.

    I’m prob. putting to fine a point on the story. The main thing I’m trying to say is that, I just think Isiah will have a role more similar to Allan Houston’s this time around and I’m getting annoyed at the ESPN “here we go again”; “he’s baaack” slant suggesting that Isiah will be able to execute trades similar to the ones he did when he was GM.

    Houston is Dolan’s golfing buddy, hence that ridiculous $100 million contract, and Walsh has had free reign anyway.

    Zeke’s power hungry, he doesn’t deserve this role but I’m not just going to assume this move opens the floodgates to another Marbury/Curry era.

  53. Mulligan

    Man, I’m just thinking about the Warriors and their decade and a half of misery with Chris Cohan. I don’t know the details of that situation, but I would be stunned if that organization was crazier than our beloved Knickerbockers.

    Anyone know the history of owners being forced to sell their teams in professional sports?

  54. KnicksFaninNH

    This pretty much sums up my feelings on the whole Isiah thing

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/432454-the-case-for-isiah

    JK47 you can say what you will, but the man according to ESPN is the #2 drafter in the last 20 years. It was in the mid-level exceptions, actually trading away draft picks and unbalanced roster creation that he was terrible. The Steve Francis trade was pushed by Larry Brown. Everyone at the time scratched their head, but Brown wanted that move.

    And yes the starting line-up you mentioned never gelled mostly because the talent all needed the ball. Isiah the coach should have started Curry, Lee, Jeffries/Balkman, Crawford and Marbury. That was actually a line-up that was playing .500 basketball the previous season. (Would have been interesting w/ Zach off the bench). Q-Rich by this time was a shadow of his former self because of injuries. But if you read the article I previously posted it shows that after game 5 the whole team chemistry thing fell apart. Due mostly to poor coaching/management by Thomas.

    Anyway… Isiah can be useful, but I certainly don’t think he can be a GM or President of a basketball team. Too much of a mess.

  55. KnickfaninNJ

    JK47,

    I would also like to comment on Isiah’s drafting. It’s true that not every pick Isiah made turned out to be a star. But I think you are overestimating the success of the typical GM drafter. A lot of draft picks end up contributing nothing much to the NBA. Some draft picks don’t even make the teams they are drafted for. I am sure you can think of many past Knick draft picks by previous GMs that were say “quite” disappointing. But basically all of Isiah’s draft picks ended up being valued players in some role or other on some team in the NBA. Even Balkman is valued by the Nuggets and would probably get more playing time if they didn’t also have Anderson. As fans, we always want more from the draft, but this sort of performance is actually much better than average.

  56. Ted Nelson

    Isiah is definitely not a bad drafter. He’s a good drafter. However, he’s not some sort of draft genius either.

    Obviously, forgetting about trades that never happened since as fans we don’t know what was on the table at what time, you can only draft from the talent available on the board when your name is called. When you look at the players Isiah could have realistically been expected to pick and passed on as Knicks GM, he had a couple of major misses: Frye over Bynum and Balkman/Collins over Rondo. Put Rondo and Bynum alone on the Knicks and they’re currently one of the best young teams in the NBA.

    He also had some hits in Lee, Ariza, and arguably Nate Robinson. His draft record overall was solid, but passing on All-Star talent for mediocrity is what dooms franchises for years. That has to go right up there with all the ridiculous trades, signings, and management decisions Isiah made as dooming his tenure. Had he simply drafted Bynum and Rondo I bet we might be willing to forgive most of Isiah’s other mistakes.

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