Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Some thoughts on defense, toughness, and blue paint

Humor me for a second.

I’m a big fan of Michigan State basketball. Always have been. My dad — along with a good grip of my closest friends — went to MSU, I very nearly went there, and I spent the better part of my youth in a town just a shot down 1-96 from East Lansing.

From the mid 90s until well into the new millennium, I proudly called myself a fan of two teams who counted defense honor’s bloody badge: The Knicks and the Spartans. MSU in particular, like many of their Big Ten brethren, treated the craft in a manner that would make Tom Thibadeau blush. Famously, Tom Izzo — in an effort of emphasis — has even gone so far as to run actual football drills in practice. Defense, rebounding and, above all, toughness were and remain the standard issue garb for the green and white; the currency that purchased no less than six Final Four trips in the last dozen years.

Then, something weird happened. By the late 2000s, both my teams — first the Knicks, and then, more surprisingly, the Spartans — regressed somewhat from their toughness-uber-alles approach. The ‘Bockers, as we all know, were just awful at this point, and as such their precipice plummet could be chalked largely up to a mere dearth of talent.

But the Spartans had a different problem; a weirder fall from gladiator glory. After advancing to the National Championship game in 2009 (they were promptly bludgeoned by Ty Lawson, Tyler Hansbrough & Co.) Tom Izzo’s squad had suddenly turned prima donna. Two-way stud Chris Allan was constantly getting in trouble, Durrell Summers seemed unwilling to truly hone his undeniably monstrous abilities, while All Big-Ten floor general Kalin Lucas appeared burdened by the specter of champion Spartan points past. All the while, the grit, gristle and grizzle that had defined their perennial bracket razings had instead morphed into a strange sense of entitlement. After going a combined 59-16 in the two years previous, last year the experienced, Senior-laden Spartans struggled through a 19-15 campaign (including a 9-9 Big Ten run), losing close games they should’ve won, getting blown out in others, and leaving many in East Lansing wondering whether the glory days were fast coming to a close.

By March, a mere two years after their dance with the mighty ‘Heels — and one year removed from yet another Final Four loss to the hands of the Gordon Heyward-led Butler Bulldogs — that palpable dynamic came to a final, painful head when the Spartans were summarily ousted in the first round of the NCAA tournament UCLA. This despite rolling out a starting lineup which included no less than three of the previous two title-sniffing teams’ starters.

It’s not that they stopped playing defense; Izzo wouldn’t allow that. It’s that, when the chips were down, so went their inner fight. Personality had something to do with it, obviously. After all, no human being — no matter how talented or seemingly malleable — responds exactly the same to the same input or stimulus. In that sense, Izzo may have just had the wrong group of players for his nitty gritty system. But set against the template of recent Spartan teams, the core of Lucas, Summers, and Allen seemed particularly unresponsive to their admittedly pushing and prodding skipper. At the end of the day, they just didn’t want it bad enough.

Entering this year, with just one of those starters (Draymond Green) back in the fold, many took to preemptively chalking up 2012 as a rebuilding year for the always dangerous Spartans. And after two early losses to North Carolina (on a battle ship: awesome) and Duke, that wisdom seemed well-founded. Since then, the Spartans have rolled off 14 straight wins. Towards the end of Tuesday night’s barn-burner against Wisconsin — whom they hadn’t beaten in Madison in 11 years — Brad Nessler explained the Spartan surge thusly: “Last year, they had talent. This year, they have toughness.”

By now you’re probably asking yourself: What the &%#@ does all this naval-gazing have to do with the Knicks? For starters, this: Like the Spartans of a year ago, the 2012 Knicks already seem imbued with a similar sense of entitlement — a kind of caustic nonchalance borne out in a style of play as blase as a pair of horn-rimmed glasses or just-so scarf; a sense that success — victory — will be bequeathed, eventually and like Times Square clockwork.

Mind you, this is not an indictment of Amar’e and Melo’s — and to a lesser extent Chandler’s — media dynamic, or their fashion sense. After all, part of the allure of ballin’ Big Apple style comes with making the camera’s light your South Beach sunshine or Hollywood heat, in a time of year when breath turns to ice almost as quickly as a Garden’s scorn. Thing is, it’s been cold in the city these last few days — hella’ cold. And when the boos’ winds come howling out of 34th and 6th and meet Manhattan’s own frigid pulsings, there’s only so much shelter a concrete jungle can offer.

Even in the wake of Wednesday’s 118-110 home drubbing at the hands of the lowly Bob City — their second consecutive Garden loss to a perennial sub-.500 team — various reports had it that the attitude in the locker room reflected more a sense of cosmic misfortune than outright rage. “They’re a hot shooting team,” quipped Amar’e Stoudemire, as if to suggest the ‘Bockers had somehow been felled by Jimmy Chitwood and the Hickory Huskers. Perhaps more predictably, Mike D’Antoni reminded all in press room attendance that the other team in orange and blue is, after all, a professional basketball team, and sometimes, you know, professional basketball teams have good games.

And so on.

Even given the relative infancy of the season at hand, to Knick fans, reactions of this ilk reek of the patience preaching and nothing-to-see-here mantras force fed to us with forklifts for the better part of a decade. We’re tired of it. We don’t care if we’re “only” six games into the season. We don’t care that our newly constituted roster wasn’t afforded the requisite time to gel that exactly zero of the other NBA teams were given. Because it’s not just about poor execution and not knowing your teammates — that stuff, while at times infuriating, is at least somewhat understandable. But defense, rebounding, toughness — these things are basic, instinctual even. Sure, they require practice and time to hone and perfect. Just ask Tom Izzo and and his uniquely tasked equipment manager.

Employing these things, to my mind, requires little more than a willful flipping of a switch; a will to effort. Admittedly, that switch might be buried deeper in some than in others (you know who you are). And it’s not as if the Knicks have yet to collectively flip it: They’ve done so numerous times. Problem is, it’s tended to be at the behest of a crowd taken to flipping it for them, or a scoreboard too lopsided to ignore.

In short, toughness is a choice.

The Knicks didn’t just drop to 2-4 in the season; they didn’t merely fall victim to “hot hands” (when a larden Boris Diaw, Gerald Henderson, and Byron Mullins combine to go 28-36 from the floor, you’z got problemz); and they didn’t simply “have an off night.” Using these as excuses reflects a lack of accountability that has long permeated the organization; an accountability that no amount of Tyson Chandler can somehow magically conjur. Accountability might spread through raised voices and finger-pointing and showing of game film like forensic evidence to captured criminals. But it starts in the mirror.

So no, the Knicks didn’t just lose a game. Temporarily at least, they seem to have lost a fan base; one in many respects weened on an identity and sense of accountability whose decade-long waning might be chalked up to sheer generational divides, if one couldn’t so easily fix their gaze to any number of teams where that very practice was still the order of the day.

That’s not to say we won’t come back. Of course we will. Like a battered spouse who remembers too fondly past romance and hopes too highly for future thrills, we’ll come home — more than likely through a front door unlocked and slightly ajar. Friday at Washington, to be exact. We’ll be back and we’ll likely believe this will be the game they figure it out. Maybe not the offense; that indeed takes time, and on that front we owe them some semblance of patience. But the defense — that had better be there. You had thousands of very loyal, very angry people booing you very loudly Wednesday night. Consider yourself called out.

Need a little extra push? Your front line — deemed by many in the wake of the Chandler signing the best in the league — has spearheaded the following gems: 23rd in defensive efficiency, 26th in offensive rebounding rate, 22nd in defensive rebounding rate, and 28th in total rebounding rate.

This needs to stop.

For much of the 90s, opposing teams dreaded coming into the Garden floor’s blue paint. And with good reason. They dreaded it because the knew they weren’t just slashing for the best shot or exploiting an open seam. They were breaking and entering. They were trespassing. They were treading on soil they had no business treading on. They were fools who knew not the error of their ways, and they were treated as such: Brute justice, in the form of flailingly aimed limbs to arm, shoulder, legs and — if necessary — skull.

Today, the paint is orange, which is in someways befitting a team by their nature sunnier, brighter, and quicker to smile. But it’s still the paint; they’re still breaking and entering; they’re still trespassing; they’re still treading on soil they have no business treading on.

So stop them.

76 comments on “Some thoughts on defense, toughness, and blue paint

  1. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Never gonna happen. They’ve got who they’ve got. And if they don’t play tough defense and they don’t shoot efficiently, they’re going to lose.

  2. Nick C.

    Nice piece. There is only so much I can hold onto the “they sucked the first 10 games last year and turned out OK” as my hope. Also, once you mentioned “gel” I seem to remember endless posts if not actual threads on that very same topic post thread. Anyhew, you can only hope maybe just maybe I will start to see Carmelo put his hands in the air when the guy in front of him had the ball, Amare and TD will magically transform, and I won’t rewind the DVR to see HTF did that guy get so wide open to see Landry go the wrong way, follow the wrong guy or otherwise be originally guarding the guy who just drained a 3.

    On the plus side Shump Shump.

  3. mase

    the more you read about the defensive woes the more you have to questions the Amare vs. MElo lineup since both player exacerbate eachothers defensive deficiencies. Many sites will make you believe that its a shumpert/fields question but it isnt. If the Knicks played 3 guards they might be the most effective because it utilitizes Tyson’s strengths in the middle. My solution might be to play an A unit and B unit separating Melo and Amare on the different squads until they can learn to play together; It would be a learning curve for sure but a three guard line up with Tyson in the middle makes the most sense to me.

  4. Frank

    D’Antoni now saying that he is thinking about starting Shumpert. Hopefully that means Toney goes back to 6th man, where he belongs.

  5. cgreene

    Nice article. You can’t teach toughness though. Amare is as soft as a feather pillow. He plays like he’s afraid to get hurt. Never seen him hit the floor for a loose ball… ever. The team identity will revolve around efficient offense and defense in stretches or they will lose. Period. One other thing about Amare and I thought this last year even when he played well is that he has a very low bball IQ. So did Ewing but he had size and toughness and played hard on D.

  6. cgreene

    Also I agree with the idea of making Amare the sixth man. Starting BD, Shum, Fields, Melo, TC when BD is back. Bringing in Amare and TD off the bench.

  7. Frank

    @4 – I’ve been watching these games pretty closely and I’m not sure that Carmelo is one of our top 3 problems on defense. Problem #1 is Amare and his total cluelessness. Problem #2 is Amare and is total cluelessness. Problem #3 is the inability to keep guards out of the lane. Melo isn’t exactly Bruce Bowen out there but he hasn’t been glaringly awful as far I can tell.

    FWIW (not much considering the small sample), Melo’s PER-against at SF where he spends most of his time is 6.1. Pretty awesome.

    http://www.82games.com/1112/11NYK9.HTM#bypos

  8. Frank

    And re: Amare – the saving graces from last night were that he took the ball to the rim and really did a nice job on the boards. total rebound rate for him last night was 18.8 which is a good 50% above his usual 12-13ish. Doesn’t excuse his play in the overall team defense, but it was a bright spot.

    Maybe we should study last year’s Mavs defense and try and copy some stuff? Maybe more zone is the way to go so we can hide some of these guys.

  9. mase

    its not a blame game its a chemistry issue, Amare and Melo play the same game although at different speeds… its like oil and water at the moment on defense

  10. Rich

    Cavs fan here, and I just wanted to give some encouragement. If this teams ability to win now hinges on whether or not Baron Davis is engaged, I think you’re in the clear. People keep referring back to his Golden State days to find a good baron Davis, and I get it, because that’s the last time he was relevant. But let me inform you that his 20 something games with Cleveland last year was as good as he’s played in 4 years. He single-handedly beat the Heat (and the Knicks) and looked like one of the 10 best PGs in the NBA again. He’ll be motivated.

  11. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    Wow, if the Knicks could get Rick Carlisle…that would be pretty damn sweet. One of the reasons I wouldn’t get rid of D’Antoni is the whole “who else is better than him that’s available?” I mean, can you imagine firing D’Antoni and replacing him with, like, Woodson? Ugh. So ugh. However, Carlisle is a legitimately great coach. And he’s even a former Knick!!

  12. citizen

    @Brian:

    I thought the idea was that we would get Carlisle for next season when D’Antoni’s contract expires? Carlisle is still under contract so obviously we can’t poach him (yet)…

  13. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    Sorry, that’s what I meant. Outside of the Phil Jackson pipe dream, I didn’t see any better options available next season, either, so I was seriously beginning to have these fever dreams of a scenario where the Knicks fire D’Antoni sometime this season, promote Woodson and then keep him around for next season after they barely make the playoffs, thereby ensuring mediocrity for another season.

  14. nicos

    Right now it’s everybody on D. Several times last night Amar’e went out to trap the P & R and there was absolutely no weakside rotation at all and Diaw was left wide open and that’s happened repeatedly this year- more often than not it’s been Melo but Fields has been guilty too. Melo has also been terrible getting back in transition- Fields is also awful in transition. Douglas has no clue in transition as well. I’d say the two unfixable guys are Amar’e- who’s okay one on one but is as clueless as anyone I’ve seen in any screen situation and an absolute horror show team defense wise- and Fields who’s lack of lateral quickness leaves him trailing every cut by two feet before he even gets to a screen. As someone pointed out in the last thread this compounded by neither Melo nor Amar’e hedging and slowing Field’s man up enough for Fields to catch up but still, if your two guard is basically giving guys free runs around the floor everyone is going to wind up out of position. In comparison, Shumpert continually moved his feet and beat his man to the spot- getting two steals and forcing a couple of turnovers in the process. Chandler’s head is clearly spinning as he seems unsure who’s going to need help next and has been ineffective as a result. Jeffries really will help when he’s back and hopefully BD will as well (though I think his days as a plus defender are behind him).

  15. Owen

    The Knicks organization, due to Dolan no doubt, has clearly made a decision to bet big on the entertainment value of players and a certain style of play. That’s why we brought in DAntoni, and brought both Amare and Carmelo into the fold. That’s why we have eschewed the thuggish brand of basketball that served us so well for a decade.

    The focus really isn’t on winning at MSG in my view, but on entertainment. They haven’t quite figured out that they really are the same thing.

  16. Frank

    Howard Beck just tweeted two awesome facts. here they are:

    1) Fun fact, Part 1: Knicks were 23rd or worse in defensive efficiency every season from 2004-5 through 2010-11, under four different coaches.

    2) Fun fact, Part 2: Believe it or not, the two seasons they ranked highest in def rating (23rd), were in 2008-9 and 2010-11, under D’Antoni.

    That’s with Larry Brown, Isiah, and Lenny Wilkens also.

    And you guys say D’Antoni doesn’t care about defense!!!

  17. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    Howard Beck just tweeted two awesome facts. here they are:

    1) Fun fact, Part 1: Knicks were 23rd or worse in defensive efficiency every season from 2004-5 through 2010-11, under four different coaches.

    2) Fun fact, Part 2: Believe it or not, the two seasons they ranked highest in def rating (23rd), were in 2008-9 and 2010-11, under D’Antoni.

    That’s with Larry Brown, Isiah, and Lenny Wilkens also.

    And you guys say D’Antoni doesn’t care about defense!!!

    I think I’d go with “depressing” over “awesome,” but yeah, that is definitely an interesting stat.

  18. Z-man

    Amare is playing poorly on both ends, just like he did the first few games last season, but he should return to all-star form unless his back is still hurt and he’s not telling anyone. If his back is sound, I’m not worried about him (maybe it’s his new goggles?)

    We are losing because we have the worst starting backcourt in the NBA, probably by far. Fields has been absolutely putrid on both ends. He is playing like the most offensively limited SG I have ever seen. He can’t dribble, pass, or shoot at anywhere near “guard” level. And, he’s a mediocre defender at best. He’s not even rebounding well any more. Seriously, what is he giving us right now? If he was a rookie playing like this, he wouldn’t be in the rotation on most teams, and might have been sent to the D-league by now. How long are those first 50 games last year going to carry him?

    TD’s O is as good as his 3-ball, and I am starting to accept that he is very overrated defensively; not to mention that he has zero PG instincts and doesn’t make anyone better.

    While our defense was bad yesterday, I still think that our fundamental problems right now are are on O, and starts with the poor passing and dribbling of our starting guards. The only guy who has been consistently able to dribble into the paint 1-on-1 is Melo, and he’s being doubled much of the time when he tries. Shump is going to help, but he’s still a rookie and at best will have good and bad stretches until he figures his game and niche out. Stoudemire is going to start hitting that 18-footer, which will open up his interior game. But as long as we play TD and Fields starter’s minutes, we are at a huge disadvantage in the backcourt against most teams.

  19. Frank

    @19 – needless to say, I agree completely with you.

    Last night we played 9 players. 7 players shot the ball more than once. 5 players had a TS of 59 or higher (Amare, Melo, Chandler, Shumpert, Walker). Two players who started in our backcourt had TS of 42.5 (Fields) and 38.2 on 17 shots! (Douglas).

    We have, by a considerable margin, the worst starting backcourt in the league, both offensively and defensively.

  20. cgreene

    Z-man:
    Amare is playing poorly on both ends, just like he did the first few games last season, but he should return to all-star form unless his back is still hurt and he’s not telling anyone. If his back is sound, I’m not worried about him (maybe it’s his new goggles?)

    We are losing because we have the worst starting backcourt in the NBA, probably by far.Fields has been absolutely putrid on both ends. He is playing like the most offensively limited SG I have ever seen. He can’t dribble, pass, or shoot at anywhere near “guard” level.And, he’s a mediocre defender at best. He’s not even rebounding well any more. Seriously, what is he giving us right now?If he was a rookie playing like this, he wouldn’t be in the rotation on most teams, and might have been sent to the D-league by now. How long are those first 50 games last year going to carry him?

    TD’s O is as good as his 3-ball, and I am starting to accept that he is very overrated defensively; not to mention that he has zero PG instincts and doesn’t make anyone better.

    While our defense was bad yesterday, I still think that our fundamental problems right now are are on O, and starts with the poor passing and dribbling of our starting guards. The only guy who has been consistently able to dribble into the paint 1-on-1 is Melo, and he’s being doubled much of the time when he tries.Shump is going to help, but he’s still a rookie and at best will have good and bad stretches until he figures his game and niche out. Stoudemire is going to start hitting that 18-footer, which will open up his interior game.But as long as we play TD and Fields starter’s minutes, we are at a huge disadvantage in the backcourt against most teams.

    what he said

  21. John Kenney (@JohnbKenney)

    Melo reminds me of a high school senior who has been on the varsity since freshman year and has forgotten what it’s like to scrap and claw your way for court time. I’ve seen this time and time again in high school sports. Shump-shump’s raw energy is the exact opposite- the talented frosh who will out hustle anyone for the win. And that’s our problem. To the senior, it doesn’t feel like laziness- “look at all these points I’m scoring!” But there’s no urgency to the game, no raw fire or determination.

  22. njasdjdh

    nicos:
    Right now it’s everybody on D.Several times last night Amar’e went out to trap the P & R and there was absolutely no weakside rotation at all and Diaw was left wide open and that’s happened repeatedly this year- more often than not it’s been Melo but Fields has been guilty too.Melo has also been terrible getting back in transition- Fields is also awful in transition.Douglas has no clue in transition as well.I’d say the two unfixable guys are Amar’e- who’s okay one on one but is as clueless as anyone I’ve seen in any screen situation and an absolute horror show team defense wise- and Fields who’s lack of lateral quickness leaves him trailing every cut by two feet before he even gets to a screen.As someone pointed out in the last thread this compounded by neither Melo nor Amar’e hedging and slowing Field’s man up enough for Fields to catch up but still, if your two guard is basically giving guys free runs around the floor everyone is going to wind up out of position.In comparison, Shumpert continually moved his feet and beat his man to the spot- getting two steals and forcing a couple of turnovers in the process.Chandler’s head is clearly spinning as he seems unsure who’s going to need help next and has been ineffective as a result.Jeffries really will help when he’s back and hopefully BD will as well (though I think his days as a plus defender are behind him).

    I don’t know who you are, but you so perfectly captured everything I see when I watch this team I had to show this post some love.

  23. SJK

    As a Knicks and Stanford fan living in Palo Alto, I’ve always had an affinity for Landry. However, I agree that he just isn’t well suited as a starting NBA 2-guard. He’d be better served coming off the bench as a 3. Of course that leaves the guard position even thinner than it already is until Baron comes back. Starting Shump in place of Landry gives us more toughness and defense in the starting line up. Perhaps Landry can return to his pre-trade level of play on the second unit.

    D’Antoni could also move Douglas to the second unit and start Shump at point, but I think Douglas is the lesser of the two evils. Furthermore, I’m not sure Shump is ready to be a starting point guard. We’re pretty much stuck at that position until Baron comes back. I have to say though, I like our guard rotation at paper if completely healthy. TD off the bench could assume a sort of Jason Terry lite role as he’ll no longer have to focus on distributing.

    Basically, I think this team needs a jolt of energy. Let’s see what Shump can do.

  24. Frank

    We’ve all talked a lot about signing K-Mart when he comes back from China, but given that our backcourt seems to be the big problem, how about JR Smith instead? Although K-Mart would give us some much-needed defensive toughness. He and Chandler would be great together.

  25. Robert Silverman (@BobSaietta)

    While I agree that Shumpert’s been the Knicks’ best guard by a leaps and bounds, I think benching Landry would be a mistake.

    One, if you take Shump off the 2nd unit, once again, there’s no scoring punch at all.

    Two, playing w/Stat and Melo there’s going to be way more pressure on Shumpert to get them the ball, not create for himself. Alas, creating for himself is what made him so attractive in the first place.

    Three, the who starts thing doesn’t really matter. It’s who finishes. And right now, that’s clearly going to be Shumpert.

    Four, I don’t think Landry Fields is a lost cause. I think benching him at this point would utterly obliterate whatever confidence he has. IF we ever want to see the pre-trade Landry again, keep him in the starting lineup and let him figure out how to rediscover his game.

    Five, you could bench Douglas, but for all of Shump’s success, I’ve seen little evidence he’s a point guard. He’s a bigger, stronger, better-defending Jamal Crawford — a two that can make a decent pass. Toney’s no Steve Nash, but he has more of a shot of running a decent pick n’ roll than Shump does.

    Besides, Baron Davis will save the Knicks’ season, discover a clean source of totally renewable energy, solve the crisis in the Middle East, and convince dogs and cats to get along – just like he did in GS in ’07.

  26. SJK

    @27, good point. The thing to do is probably to wait until Baron comes back healthy. At that point, we’ll have a better sense of what this team is. If Landry still hasn’t picked it up by then, it’s time for him to go to the bench. My concern with Landry is that he just does not seem well suited to play in a half court iso-style offense.

  27. latke

    I commented a lot about this last year in regard to the Heat. THey had the very same sense of entitlement, and the media storm crashed down on them to the point that they really and truly panicked. Wade and James, who previously had only been above average defenders transformed themselves into all-nba caliber wing defenders. Their offense came along as the season continued, but a lot of their offensive improvement was a result of their newfound dedication to defense and the transition opportunities it afforded.

    Wade and James, like Melo and STAT, are redundant players. ‘Melo refuses to play off the ball, and STAT is merely average off the ball. Combined, they can be a solid offense IMO, but my opinion is this team will either continue to be mediocre or else we will have a moment like the Heat did last year where STAT and Carmelo’s pride faces a true threat, where they see their legacy at stake and they panic to a degree that they make an effort to play defense.

  28. JK47

    @28

    “Landry Fields, 12th best player in the NBA” should be immediately spoken any time anybody says the words “Dave Berri.” Landry is living, breathing proof that Berri is a hack.

  29. citizen

    Frank:
    We’ve all talked a lot about signing K-Mart when he comes back from China, but given that our backcourt seems to be the big problem, how about JR Smith instead?Although K-Mart would give us some much-needed defensive toughness.He and Chandler would be great together.

    Problem is JR Smith is another chucker who doesn’t play defense?

    Chuckers 1-3 in no particular order
    (JR Smith)
    Melo
    Douglas
    Baron
    Shumper
    Balkman (yes, Balkman)

    That leaves Walker, Fields, and the corpse of Mike Bibby for our non-chuckers on the wing and at the point. They wouldn’t get much time if everyone else was healthy and we signed Smith. How many shots do we have to go around?

  30. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    A question – while Melo has definitely been having an excellent offensive season, no doubt about it, does anyone think he would do worse if they did not play an ISO style? Is Melo really only comfortable playing ISO? We know STAT can’t play ISO (well, he can’t play ISO and be worth his while), we know that Fields can’t play ISO and we know that Chandler is ill-suited for ISO, but can Melo not play a SSOL style of ball? That seems hard to believe, but I dunno, I guess it could be true. Obviously, we don’t want to reduce his efficiency, but I just find it hard to believe that it would be reduced if they went to a SSOL-esque offense (I mean later, of course, as obviously you can’t run SSOL when your point guards are terrible).

  31. Shad0wF0x

    Watching that Nuggets game, at the very least SSOL is very fun to watch. Melo’s stats will be higher as well in SSOL so I don’t understand (other than the lack of a Ty Lawson, Nash or even Raymond) why they wouldn’t play in that style.

  32. nicos

    Tough to play ssol when you’ve got 4 guys in the starting line-up who are very deliberate passers at best. And even Melo isn’t the quickest decision maker, though I’d say he’s probably at least average for a three. I do think Melo would basically live at the rim in ssol- he regularly blows by single coverage as it is- think of how effective he would be getting the ball before the defense had a chance to set itself. And while I do think he settles for iso’s way too much, they’re really only accounting for less than 15% of the plays being run while he’s in the game so it’s tough to blame all of the offensive woes on that (someone posted in a previous thread that iso’s account for 36% of his possessions and as his usage is 34%…). The fact that TD and Fields sometimes sit and stare at Melo is more on them than it is on Melo. I don’t think Fields and TD will continue to play this poorly but even at their best it’s not a very good ssol backcourt.

  33. Shad0wF0x

    What amazes me is that I bought into the entire Rudy Fernandez and José Calderón can’t play D thing. That doesn’t seem to matter now as our defensive players (short of Shump) can’t play D. I’d rather have the shooting and passing ability of the Spanish guys right now.

  34. JK47

    If we’re going to bring in one of the guys from China it definitely needs to be K-Mart. Jorts, Balkman and Jeffries are all pretty awful players, three guys who make better human victory cigar mascot type players than regular rotation guys. I mean, I love Jorts, Jeffrightened and Balkman in their own way, but these guys are dreck.

    Once we’re healthy we’ll have Baron Davis, Shumpert, TD and Fields to split the backcourt minutes, with Bill Walker in the mix as a 2/3 swingman. TD, should he ever regain his shot, is a suitable 6th man and Fields can be a good situational player with the right matchups, so I don’t think we need to add a middling guard like JR Smith.

  35. Shad0wF0x

    I’m hoping K-Mart has enough defensive ability left in him so that there will be less Boris Diaw incidents in the future.

  36. ruruland

    A lifelong Nuggets fan, I’ve watched probably 98 percent of Melo’s games in the NBA. As sort of an aside, I understand the advanced metrics and have looked at them for some time. Here’s the deal. Melo does have a lot of bad habits defensively, and I can give you a few theories as to why they exist, as I have had this discussion countless times on Nuggets boards going back years. He can be very poor (lazy) getting back in transition. Overall, that’s always been his biggest weakness as a basketball player. When he was a rookie in the league playing under Jeff Bzdelik, there were times when he never passed the half-court line. Intermittently throughout his career, whether through the prodding of coaches after embarassing film sessions, or via internal motivation, he’s shown commitment to sprinting back. The problem, however, is that Melo tends to pick up a lot of fouls when he gets back early, especially against smaller guards. He is not a Lebron or Wade who can get back in transition and out-jump an incoming ball-handler by a foot at the rim— and avoid fouls. When Melo gets back, he swipes at the ball. He was always far too valuable in Denver to be sitting on the bench with foul trouble, and I’m quite sure that’s part of the issue. In the half-court, Melo has some terrible tendencies that you’ve all witnessed. He’s a really big 3 (u understand this when you meet him), and takes a lot out of him to move that 250 pounds laterally throughout the game. He struggles following through cross screens. He has low awarness for backside ball movement, and his peripheral vision isn’t great, plus he has a low attention span and focus issues. When he is in low energy mode, as we’ve seen the last three or so games, he plays a foot or two off the ball and allows for passing angles at the rim. He also has a tendency to switch on virtually everything. Many of these bad habits solidified during the Iverson years, which set back his career arc — It’s taken him longer to…

  37. ruruland

    reach certain platueas in his career. But, you would be seriously unwise to label Melo as a player incapable of playing very good defense. Outside of the Iverson years, he has had long stretches of very good defense. He’s always been a very solid ball-defender, and when motivated, he has had hundreds of possessions that I’ve personally witnessed where he was a GREAT man defender. When he was the MVP (IMO) in the first half of 2009-2010, there was a game against the Phoenix Suns, where in the 4th quarter he denied Amare the ball on 2-3 straight possesions by rooting him out of his spot, denied consecutive Steve Nash penetrations to the rim, and created a turnover that changed the complexion of the game. It was as good as anything you’ll see from any of the other fantastic defenders in the league.
    When he dealt with elbow and wrist injuries in 2008, at the behest of Chauncey Billups and a change in culture, he was a fantastic defender for 80-90 percent of the season. That carried through much of the playoffs and into the next season, where as I mentioned he was putting together an MVP year at the beggining of 2009 where he was a consumate, complete basketball player. he lapsed last year in Denver because of all the things going on there. In NY, it took some time for him to get back to some of his better habits, but I think you saw stretches at the end of the year where he was great– the games against New Jersey and Orlando come to mind– must win games for the Knicks. He has not had the focus or energy on defense to start the year (outside of the Boston game) but I’d expect that to change so long as some of his offensive load/burden decreases at some point..

  38. ruruland

    Shad0wF0x: I’m hoping K-Mart has enough defensive ability left in him so that there will be less Boris Diaw incidents in the future.

    K-Mart is one of the grittiest players in the league and has a history of getting into the heads of guys like Diaw. While an average rebounder, he still has fantastic lateral ability and strength for his size. He’d be the ideal defensive compliment to Chandler, and might be the nastiest defender in basketball. He struggles against big post guys like Gasol, but is very good in p/r as a hedger, can guard smaller players on the wing.. He has a history of changing games by shutting down or making it very difficult on the Bosh’s, Dirks of the league….He would bring a tough, nasty, gritty elements that the team misses, and was the undisputed leader of the Knuggets last year. He’d be a great pick, but so would JR.

  39. ruruland

    JK47: If we’re going to bring in one of the guys from China it definitely needs to be K-Mart. Jorts, Balkman and Jeffries are all pretty awful players, three guys who make better human victory cigar mascot type players than regular rotation guys. I mean, I love Jorts, Jeffrightened and Balkman in their own way, but these guys are dreck.Once we’re healthy we’ll have Baron Davis, Shumpert, TD and Fields to split the backcourt minutes, with Bill Walker in the mix as a 2/3 swingman. TD, should he ever regain his shot, is a suitable 6th man and Fields can be a good situational player with the right matchups, so I don’t think we need to add a middling guard like JR Smith.

    Any team that gets JR Smith would be a huge coup. He was always underutlized in Denver due to a personal quarrel with his head coach. He’s probably one of the 15-20 most talented players in basketball……. I’ll be back to expound on junior…

  40. Ben R

    ruruland – I agree that Melo can be a good defender.

    TD is also a player that can be a good defender. Right now he is pressuring the ball too much which only works if you have good defenders behind you to help on screens and when you get beaten. We don’t have those things. When Toney pressures he often gets screened at the 3 pt line and the PG has a clear lane to the basket because the screener’s defender is either too slow (Landry, Amare), too lazy (Melo, Amare), or too hesitant to leave the paint (Chandler, Amare) to hedge and give Toney the time to catch up. I blame Toney for not adjusting but I think in the right situation he can and will be a good defender for us.

    I think we will be okay with Melo and Douglas and honestly I think Fields will be passable at the 3. Walker and Amare on the other hand are just plain bad defenders and I haven’t seen anything to counter this notion. With Walker it’s probably okay because his role is 9th, 10th man anyway as a shooter off the bench in short spurts. With Amare I don’t really know what to do other than move him.

  41. Robert Silverman (@BobSaietta)

    You don’t need 5 plus defenders on the floor to be a better than average or even good defensive team. Look at Dallas last year – Kidd, Terry, and Nowitzi are all considered below average. Their only starters known for defense were Chandler and Marion (and Marion’s not what he was in Phoenix). In Boston, Pierce and Allen weren’t good until Garnett showed up.

    It’s system/coaching w/defense. And so we’re kinda screwed

  42. Z-man

    Robert Silverman (@BobSaietta): Four, I don’t think Landry Fields is a lost cause. I think benching him at this point would utterly obliterate whatever confidence he has. IF we ever want to see the pre-trade Landry again, keep him in the starting lineup and let him figure out how to rediscover his game

    Robert, I don’t think he is a “lost cause” but rather that he is a very limited role player who should play 15-20 mpg in a situation suited to his strengths and that masks his weaknesses. Right now, that isn’t the case, he’s being way overutilized and his weaknesses are causing problems for the other players. Maybe he gets it together, but if he can’t hit the open corner 3, what else can he do besides pick up garbage buckets? We already have Chandler in that role (or Jeffries or Balkman). Except in rare instances of defensive specialists, e.g. Bruce Bowen, shooting guards MUST have an offensive strength…even Bowen could hit the corner 3. Fields is neither a defensive specialist nor does he have any discernable guard-level offensive skill. I’d rather find a D-leager, like a Von Wafer or Matt Carroll-type guy to fill the role we have available now.

  43. Z-man

    That said, I really like Landry and would love nothing more than for him to snap out of it. This is the pro’s though, and not a middle school travel team. If you need your confidence to be pampered by sticking with you even when you absolutely suck, you are not worth paying to see.

  44. Robert Silverman (@BobSaietta)

    Z-man: Robert, I don’t think he is a “lost cause” but rather that he is a very limited role player who should play 15-20 mpg in a situation suited to his strengths and that masks his weaknesses.Right now, that isn’t the case, he’s being way overutilized and his weaknesses are causing problems for the other players.Maybe he gets it together, but if he can’t hit the open corner 3, what else can he do besides pick up garbage buckets? We already have Chandler in that role (or Jeffries or Balkman).Except in rare instances of defensive specialists, e.g. Bruce Bowen, shooting guards MUST have an offensive strength…even Bowen could hit the corner 3.Fields is neither a defensive specialist nor does he have any discernable guard-level offensive skill.I’d rather find a D-leager, like a Von Wafer or Matt Carroll-type guy to fill the role we have available now.

    He’s better in an up-tempo, motion offense. That said, I think he will start hitting the corner 3 — he certainly could last season and you don’t forget how to shoot.

  45. cgreene

    the twitter is all atwitter with talks of Stat for D12. Ken Berger from CBS specifically. D12 and Chandler is slightly redundant no?

  46. Z-man

    @47 Hitting the corner 3 would help, but it wouldn’t make him good. Lots of players can thrive in up-tempo (e.g. Balkman) but frankly, Landry hasn’t done much in transition when the opportunities have been there (TD has been putrid!) Bottom line is, if we are to go deep into the playoffs, we better have a good halfcourt game, and if Landry can’t adapt to that, more reason to limit his minutes.

  47. Z-man

    Not to mention that up-tempo is fed by good perimeter D, and the LF-TD backcourt isn’t providing that. Teams are breaking us down on the PnR and via guard penetration, and Landry isn’t helping there.

  48. jon abbey

    comparing a college program to a NBA program is kind of silly, no one in the league plays like that 90’s Knicks team anymore, they legislated it out. is there any Charles Oakley in the entire league anymore? Anthony Mason?

    JK47:
    @28

    “Landry Fields, 12th best player in the NBA” should be immediately spoken any time anybody says the words “Dave Berri.”Landry is living, breathing proof that Berri is a hack.

    just one example, but certainly a great one.

    what about starting Shump Shump at PG and moving Toney to 6th man where he should be anyway? then when Baron is here, Shump Shump can move to SG, Toney can stay as 6th man, and Fields can sit next to Jerome Jordan and cuddle.

  49. Shad0wF0x

    Which makes Michael Jordan all the more terrifying. If he can score like that back in the 90s….

  50. Robert Silverman (@BobSaietta)

    Z-man, you seem to have completely forgotten the 1/2 season when Landry was considered the best rookie not named Griffin or possibly Wall. He has the ability to be a solid+ starter. He’s off to a lousy start and struggled in the 2nd half last year but that doesn’t shove the 50 games he succeeded into the memory hole.

    You don’t like him as a player, I get that. But your argument is specious at best

  51. Jim Cavan (@JPCavan) Post author

    Clearly our defensive struggles have just as much to do with sieves on the perimeter as lack of toughness on the interior. This was meant to be a rant — nothing more, nothing less.

    That said, I don’t think Landry should be given up entirely for dead. But nor do I think he’s best suited as a starter right now. I’d actually be in favor of trying out Shump as the starting two, and giving him a few chances in that role to run the point. Bring Fields off the bench at either the 2 or the 3, depending on match ups / foul trouble / etc.

    jon abbey: comparing a college program to a NBA program is kind of silly, no one in the league plays like that 90?s Knicks team anymore, they legislated it out. is there any Charles Oakley in the entire league anymore? Anthony Mason?

    There’s a difference between out-and-out comparisons, and parallels. I was merely aiming for the latter. Clearly it’s a far different, more offense-friendly game than it was in the 90s. But that doesn’t preclude good defenses from being able to swing games, divisions, conferences, or a playoff series. Suggesting they clobber people was written as hyperbole for the sake of hyperbole.

    … So if D’Antoni’s hints are to be taken seriously, does Shumpert start in the place of Douglas, or Fields tomorrow? Fields, right?

  52. daJudge

    Robert, what do you think Landry does well (or at least average) as a starting two? Both ends and not citing first half of last year. After that, same question with Landry as a three. Same question with Douglass at the one. I like both guys, but I have a serious problem answering that question.

  53. jon abbey

    I like Douglas a lot more than Fields, although I wish his basketball IQ was higher, but whoever said above that if they replace Fields with Shumpert in the starting lineup, they won’t have much offense off the bench (Walker?) is right, which is why I personally lean towards starting Shumpert and Fields for now. I doubt D’Antoni will do this, though.

  54. SJK

    This is completely hypothetical but what if we could trade STAT for Kevin Love. That would be one Stoudemire trade I’d endorse

  55. D.

    Haaah what a day its been as a Knick, the watercooler arguement wasn’t pretty at all, thought i’d come buy to salvage more excuses for tomorrow. On the bright side?? Well there is no brighy side. So i have decided from this day on, like i did with English Football team Arsenal, i renounce all my expectations for this Knicks team. I will not dream of them beating the Heat or the other elite teams or will i dream of me me flying back to NY for the parade after we win the Championship. However, i will cheer with all my heart and half my mind and stay positive just to salvage the rest of blood pressure. So until happy thoughts return, Go NY, Go NY, GO! And like i have always said, Fire D’antoni and let Melo be Melo.

  56. nicos

    If you’re going to start Shumpert I’d lean towards benching Fields- I see Shump as a two who can play some point so give him the best possible chance for success and play him in that role. I’m still hopeful that Fields will regain his shooting touch, esp. from three. And while I’m not sure he’ll ever duplicate his offensive rebounding numbers from last year I do think his defensive rebound numbers should improve. That said, as those are the only things he brings to the table- subpar passer, ballhandler, and defender- I don’t have a problem cutting his minutes until he at least starts knocking down shots consistently.

  57. njasdjdh

    SJK:
    This is completely hypothetical but what if we could trade STAT for Kevin Love. That would be one Stoudemire trade I’d endorse

    I actually did this in my NBA 2K11 franchise between the ’10-’11 and ’11-’12 seasons. Traded him on draft night to the Wolves and got Love and the Wolves 1st rounder, which I ended up using on Valencucias. I just can’t play with Amar’e in that game at all. This was a totally relevant response by the way.

  58. massive

    I think both Landry Fields and Amar’e Stoudemire are players who are best utilized with a good distributor on offense, and they’re struggling because there are no Amar’e P&Rs being called, and there’s no Landry slashing to the basket this season either. Amar’e and Landry Fields need a motion offense to be effective, but so far this season there’s been a lot of ball-watching. Baron Davis, hopefully, is the answer to our offensive woes.

    Just looking back to last season, Amar’e and Felton were pretty good, and Amar’e was looked to as an early MVP candidate. Landry Fields also won EC Rookie of the Month once or twice (if my memory recalls). What made us fall off a bit of a cliff was Felton regressing to mean in terms of his scoring efficiency. I would attribute Felton’s scoring efficiency getting worse to him having to be our 2nd scoring option. This year, with Baron Davis, he’d be the 3rd scoring option behind two high usage players. If we could get Baron Davis to at least replicate what Felton was doing, I’m sure all of this doom and gloom surrounding Fields and Stoudemire will come to a halt.

  59. Z-man

    Robert Silverman (@BobSaietta): You don’t like him as a player, I get that. But your argument is specious at best

    Specious? Really? Have you watched the last 40 Knick games? Have you looked at his advanced stats for those games? First, it may be possible that the league figured Landry’s game out and he does not have the talent/skill to counter-adjust at this point. A huge factor in being successful in professional sports is having an ability to make adjustments. Landry caught everyone by surprise last year and was in a setup that was perfect for him. When he tailed off (more like nose-dived) the biggest excuses were 1) the Melo trade and 2) the rookie wall. The Melo trade is a reality and is not going away. The rookie wall is no longer valid after 6 months off. Bottom line is, the expectations are higher for the team and for him, and he is not responding or developing or adjusting. He is being outplayed at SG by Bill Walker, who is also very limited.

    Again, I don’t dislike the guy and as a diehard fan I am praying that he gets better. Right now, though, he absolutely sucks, by both the eye-test and any statistical measure. He is only playing because we don’t have any depth at the SG position right now. Until then, if he doesn’t get better he’s gonna cost us in the W-L department.

  60. BigBlueAL

    Just looked up Felton’s stats for this season since I was curious, his shooting has been horrible. TS% below 50%.

  61. Shad0wF0x

    It’s kinda fun watching a bunch of ex-Knicks on one team though. A good looking team at that.

  62. iserp

    After this recent Knicks streak, i have some thoughts to share…

    I am a Spanish fan here, and started looking at the NBA after a season i heard that John Hollinger was pushing for Jose Calderon to be an all-star. I googled for some blogs into advanced statistics to know a little more, and i arrived at Knickerblogger. I am not sure why i kept coming here (even when the blog transmuted itself into a forum and then reverted back)… but there was something about this site that made me into a Knicks fan. Perhaps, the lively atmosphere with really high hopes, mixed with and uncertain future where every path was possible caught my attention.

    The fact is that, as a Spanish citizen, i am mainly a football (soccer) fan. And i am actually a Barça fan, which are playing some of the best football i’ve seen in my life (i am not old enough to have seen late 80s Milan AC… which lots of people say they were memorable). What does all this have to with the knicks? Well…, i have always likened the Knicks to the Atletico the Madrid football team. That team was really popular in the 60s, when they were the only team capable to match with the dictatorial regime-supported Real Madrid team; however, since then, they have been always riding the coattails of their former popularity, and haven’t been able to match their success. Every other year, they sign some of the most famous stars, and start every season with very high expectations: to be the 3rd team in Spain or better. But every season, reality comes crushing in, with very high casualties: coaches, players, GMs, whatever… If you look into which players and coaches took part in this team, you’ll find some of the most successful ones: winners of the Golden Boot, Champions League, Domestic league champions or perhaps world champions. But every year is the same, an overhaul in the roster, and high expectations… again… just to fail every year.

  63. iserp

    In that sense, i really admire Dallas Mavericks. They’ve been playing with Dirk Nowitzki (13 years veteran), Jason Kidd (3 years veteran), JJ Barea (5 years veteran) and Jason Terry (7 years veteran)… and you could call Shawn Marion, Caron Butler and Tyson Chandler newcomers (which aren’t exactly rookies). Don’t forget that Rick Carlisle was with that team since 2008, too.

    The fact is that great teams have been built from a great core adding some pieces and letting every one in the team to come together. We have 4 good years from Carmelo, Amare and Tyson… don’t start chopping heads already! In the next 4 years, some are going to be good, and some are going to be bad. Amare and Melo are good enogh to figure it out given enough time… not in 6 games, and perhaps not in 66. We have to find some backcourt starting players, and some frontcourt depth… it will come; and this condensed schedule is some of the worst for an upcoming team with little depth. I ask for patience… and patience means one or two years. The core is built, and it is a good core; with some luck, we will have a good stretch towards the end of the year, if everyone is healthy (big if), and Davis can give some good PG minutes (bigger if); but if not, i wouldn’t worry.

    If i could have a word with the current team members, i would ask them not to think in winning now, but try to make the right play. Melo isos are perhaps the most efficient play the team is capable to do right now, but if we start involving all the team, we can do better. So i would ask Melo to forget about winning now (even if that means going out of the playoffs) but to grow a team culture, to win later, when it matters most.

    But that’s 2 or 3 years away, and i am not sure Knicks fans (or perhaps Dolan) are ready to wait that much.

  64. iserp

    And perhaps i shouldn’t write in English, because i am not a native speaker, and i am drunk right now…. but give me another 3 or 4 years and i will write as Churchill spoke to his troops…, but just for knicks fans … when we are about to win a championship, and nobody cares because everyone is damn happy, ;-)

  65. iserp

    No one is in Atletico right now, xD, however…

    Carmelo should be Aguero, because he is really good, the team depends on him, and when the team loses, all the blame goes to him.

    Torres should be Gallinari. He was there when he was very young, he did really well, but in the end he departed to go to a better team (although he ultimately failed)

    PS: I hope Torres comes back to his old self… but he’s had a bad streak of injuries and i am not sure he’s gonna recover…

  66. KRS1

    Interesting article, a lil lengthy to say the least and all just to say that the knicks have no fire in their belly. I came across comments where the idea of melo and amare not on the floor at the same time, i think and believe will be the most effective. Of course you leave them in at the end of games out of general principle but you need to have a defensive unit around both of those guys while they pour in buckets. This team in my opinion cant keep their head coach, one, because what made him look like a genius was the fact he had steve nash to be a constant source of offensive influx , amare as well, and was always the highest scoring team in the league well at least one of them, while shawn marion was a defensive stud and multiple role players kept them advancing constantly in the playoffs. I guess i’m saying the only way this team will be able to compete with teams in the playoffs is if they all of a sudden gain steve nash rights. which isnt too far fetched but hey anything can happen. This coach needs a player like nash to run this team and set up players like melo, amare and chandler. Nash aint outta gas just yet
    I hope knick fans realize that by the time baron davis will be effective will be playoff time and might make a splash. BD is legit when it comes to playoff hunger but until then this team will never know how to play defense because their coach has no idea how to teach it. I dont even think larry brown could save this team but haha actually jeff van gundy doesnt seem like a terrible idea either.

  67. latke

    iserp: If i could have a word with the current team members, i would ask them not to think in winning now, but try to make the right play. Melo isos are perhaps the most efficient play the team is capable to do right now, but if we start involving all the team, we can do better. So i would ask Melo to forget about winning now (even if that means going out of the playoffs) but to grow a team culture, to win later, when it matters most.

    This is the kind of stuff that coaches talk about all the time, but few walk the walk. Phil Jackson is the best example of a guy who followed through on his talk. My favorite part about Jackson was his patience. When the bench players struggled, he wouldn’t take them out and sometimes wouldn’t even call time outs as long as they were making good plays. Missed shots, if they were good ones, were never an issue.

    D’Antoni is very different in this respect in that he has a propensity for playing his starters heavy minutes (lacking trust in bench players) and throwing guys in the doghouse for small mistakes. It’s one of my biggest problems with MDA. It’s a long season, and to be a contender, not only will the Knicks have to have Amare and Chandler healthy and rested (which they have no chance of being if they continue to play the minutes they’re playing), but you have to have key guys from the bench who are prepared to contribute. If those guys don’t get minutes — if MDA pulls them whenever they struggle — they’re not going to develop. Sure, they may not develop anyway, but at least if you give them a chance, even if the knicks lose more games as a result, you have a chance of having the depth to compete for a title.

  68. chrisk06811

    Hi Jim. Your stuff is always great, and I usually totally agree, but I don’t have time to read it right now. So, I guess what I want to say is: SHUMP SHUMP

  69. Caleb

    daJudge:
    Robert, what do you think Landry does well (or at least average) as a starting two?Both ends and not citing first half of last year.After that, same question with Landry as a three.Same question with Douglass at the one.I like both guys, but I have a serious problem answering that question.

    Last year even with the late year slump, Landry led all NBA 2-guards in rebounding, hit 40 percent of his 3s and had a TS% over 60.

    He might never match that, but he could do a lot worse and still be a solid player.

    I do think he fits better as a 3, given his size and lack of quickness.

    He might not be a 35 minutes a night guy when all is said and done, but I expect him to be a pretty valuable piece wherever he lands.

  70. Caleb

    Some small-ish corrections on Landry’s rookie season.

    Mike Miller had a slightly better rebound rate, but Landry was a close 2nd and played more than twice as many minutes.

    He shot 39.3 percent on 3s.

    His TS% was 59.8, 6th among 2-guards.

  71. Frank

    This took a little math but FWIW re: Landry Fields:

    Pre-2011 All-star break (54 games) = TS 62%, 7.8 reb/36
    Post-2011 All-star break (38 games) = TS 51.4%, 5 reb/36.

    We are rapidly approaching the point at which his pre-All-star game #s start to look a little bit like an outlier, especially considering very few analysts (for what THAT’S worth) thought he was capable of it.

    I think Bill Walker should be getting most of Landry’s minutes. He’s also a very good rebounder for the guard position, plays better man-to-man defense than Landry, and has 3 years in the league with 58+ TS. Sure he’s a low-basketball-IQ guy, but all we want out of the 2 guard spot in this offense is the ability to hit the 3 and to not be a total sieve on defense.

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