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Saturday, July 26, 2014

Stoudemire’s Triumphant Return

In an emotional homecoming for Amar’e Stoudemire, the Knicks trounced Phoenix 121-96. New York cruised to victory, and perhaps the only black mark on the night was Mozgov’s ejection during musora vremya. Raymond Felton managed the first triple double of his career, during a game where the Knicks led wire to wire.

The main focus of the night was Amar’e Stoudemire’s first return to Phoenix, after spending 8 years in the home uniform. In an attempt to minimize Stoudemire’s quickness, Suns coach Alvin Gentry chose Grant Hill to start at center. Although the 98 year old Hill played admirably, Stoudemire was able to score from both in & outside. It was an odd move considering Phoenix had Channing Frye, Marcin Gortat, and Robin Lopez available. Granted none of them would have deterred Stoudemire, but the three might have made the Knicks pay on the opposite end. Stoudemire’s weaknesses are rebounding and defense, and Phoenix failed to exploit them. By going with a small forward instead the Suns played right into his strengths. Hill ended the night hitting 3 of 10 for only 10 points.

In fact both teams seemed to play small, with the Knicks starting Toney Douglas and the Suns going with what could be seen as four guards (Nash, Carter, Childress, and Pietrus). New York hit more than half of their three pointers (17-33), led by Felton (5-10), Shawne Williams (4-9), and Toney Douglas (3-5). Landry Fields was a perfect 6-6 from the field for 14 points (for an eye popping 117% TS%) and also chipped in 10 rebounds.

Finally as for Mozgov’s flagrant 2 technical foul, I’m not sure it was warranted. It began when he and Lopez got physical boxing out away from the ball. After the play Mozgov ended up with the ball and Lopez reached in to slap it away. Mozgov put up his arm, most likely as a knee-jerk reaction to Lopez’s ingress. Lopez caught an elbow to the chin, and the referees stepped in immediately to eject the Knicks center. I didn’t see any intentional malice involved, other than two players getting caught in the heat of the action, and a wayward elbow finding a jaw. It deserved a technical, but not an immediate ejection in my opinion.

98 comments on “Stoudemire’s Triumphant Return

  1. David Crockett

    After not signing Amare, did PHO just get assets to move at the deadline or during the off-season?

    Because, you know, if Robin Lopez is available…

    Last night we hit our triples, and it’s almost that simple. If we’re rebounding too then we’re not losing. Phoenix, for their part, couldn’t throw it in the ocean. We played solid D, but Gortat looked like a 6’11″ Charlie Brown. Good grief.

    And, oh Anthony Randolph. Young fella. You’re getting the Jordan Hill treatment. But when Hill got in he played well enough to wear D’Antoni down as the season progressed. You, on the other hand, have committed two of the worst turnovers in the history of the sport in your last two appearances. I want to root for you. I want you to be on the floor, but you make it so difficult to stand up for you. (Not to mention lowering your trade value by the second.)

  2. d-mar

    Stoudemire’s wrong foot floaters like the one he put up along the baseline in the 2nd quarter are truly amazing, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a big man able to do that before. His athleticism is crazy.

    Re: the earlier discussion of Randolph’s demeanor on the bench – even when Walker was glued to the bench for long stretches of games, he was one of the first guys up after a timeout to enthusiastically high five his teammates. Randolph just has that sour look on his face and looks completely disinterested.

  3. ess-dog

    Looks like I missed a good old fashioned beat-down last night. For some reason I just assumed that this would be our let-down game but not this year, not on Amare and Ray’s watch.
    Felton, Fields and Amare were awesome.
    Re: Randolph, it’s so hard to judge him on those little snippets of time. Sounds like he had another bad turnover but it does seem that he’s being groomed as a wing instead of the “in the box” player that Amare and Turiaf are. Not sure if that maximizes his strengths and it’s hurting his confidence I think. Maybe he would work better for a team that is less reliant on the 3-ball and more on rebounding? He’s better as a roving, rebounding ball hawk, like Tyrus Thomas in Charlotte right now.
    He should really be Amare’s understudy – do what Amare does when Amare’s not in – but Turiaf does that better right now and contributes more to winning.
    But seriously, who wouldn’t want this guy?:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B8-UzMjWPAM&playnext=1&list=PL475A3B8F50AC53B7&index=60

    I disagree that he’s just athletic. He might not be as good as he thinks he is, but he has NBA skills. Unfortunately, he’s not a great man defender or shooter and those things are key to this system. But at 21, he could also improve those things drastically over the next couple years… I doubt we will wait that long though.

  4. Z

    d-mar: Re: the earlier discussion of Randolph’s demeanor on the bench – even when Walker was glued to the bench for long stretches of games, he was one of the first guys up after a timeout to enthusiastically high five his teammates. Randolph just has that sour look on his face and looks completely disinterested.  

    Even Eddy Curry was up high-fiving. Just saying.

  5. jaylamerique

    ess-dog: Looks like I missed a good old fashioned beat-down last night.For some reason I just assumed that this would be our let-down game but not this year, not on Amare and Ray’s watch.
    Felton, Fields and Amare were awesome.
    Re: Randolph, it’s so hard to judge him on those little snippets of time.Sounds like he had another bad turnover but it does seem that he’s being groomed as a wing instead of the “in the box” player that Amare and Turiaf are.Not sure if that maximizes his strengths and it’s hurting his confidence I think.Maybe he would work better for a team that is less reliant on the 3-ball and more on rebounding?He’s better as a roving, rebounding ball hawk, like Tyrus Thomas in Charlotte right now.
    He should really be Amare’s understudy – do what Amare does when Amare’s not in – but Turiaf does that better right now and contributes more to winning.
    But seriously, who wouldn’t want this guy?:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B8-UzMjWPAM&playnext=1&list=PL475A3B8F50AC53B7&index=60I disagree that he’s just athletic.He might not be as good as he thinks he is, but he has NBA skills.Unfortunately, he’s not a great man defender or shooter and those things are key to this system.But at 21, he could also improve those things drastically over the next couple years…I doubt we will wait that long though.  

    Shouldn’t we focus more on the amount of seasons he’s been in the league rather than the age. After 3 seasons I’m expecting more from him. Has he add anything to his game or is he just getting by on athleticism? Those are the questions that he has yet to answer about his career

  6. tastycakes

    I still have a bad case of Isiahthomasitis, which means even in games like this, against middling opponents, I expect something to go badly or for the Knicks to not play quality ball for 4 quarters. To get the big lead early and then watch the other team slowly whittle it away and bring me to the verge of insanity (as Minnesota did to us on the road very early in this season).

    So this game, which I watched on my DVR at 4 in the morning last night, was immensely satisfying. Blowing out a team on the road? Exactly what I wanted to see.

    I feel bad for the Suns who were one of my favorite teams over the last half-decade with Nash at the helm. Looks like now the Knicks might be a team worth following if your franchise is down in the dumps. We’ll take your poor Kings fans, your tired Suns fans, your huddled masses of Warriors fans.

  7. Z-man

    The Suns are really, really awful. They are like the Knicks of 2-3 years ago, maybe even worse? Poor Nash, he’s not sniffing the playoffs with that junkpile.

  8. d-mar

    Z-man: The Suns are really, really awful.They are like the Knicks of 2-3 years ago, maybe even worse?Poor Nash, he’s not sniffing the playoffs with that junkpile.  

    Well, they’re pretty bad, but they do have a bunch of new faces to incorporate. I still think they’ll win some games and possibly sniff .500, as they do have some talent and VC will go off here and there. Plus, can Gortat really be as bad as he looked last night?

    But isn’t it nice to look down our noses at the other teams for once?

  9. ess-dog

    Z-man: http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/pcm_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=1&p1=leeda02&y1=2006&p2=fieldla01&y2=2011Fields has now played almost the identical amount of minutes as David Lee did his rookie year at the same age, and their stats are remarkably similar, especially considering that they play totally different positions.God bless you, Donnie!  

    Wow, it’s crazy that Fields is essentially the same defensive rebounder that David Lee is… what an amazing find by Donnie!

  10. daJudge

    Haven’t thought this for awhile—tomorrow’s game against the Lakers should be competitive. Also, despite the foul issues, I think Moz will be getting some burn soon. AR, not so much.

  11. JK47

    Nets fans are all geeked about this supposed 17-player trade that’s going to end up with Chauncey Billups, Rip Hamilton and Melo in New Jersey. Good luck with that, losers.

  12. ess-dog

    JK47: Nets fans are all geeked about this supposed 17-player trade that’s going to end up with Chauncey Billups, Rip Hamilton and Melo in New Jersey.Good luck with that, losers.  

    What are these things called “Nets fans” of which you speak?

  13. Z-man

    I don’t know if it’s my geriatric memory, but we have generally been competitive in LA even when we had bad teams, no?

  14. massive

    @18,

    Yeah, I think we were leading for the first 3 quarters the last time we played, then Pau Gasol was reminded that David Lee was guarding him…

  15. Z-man

    I just checked back, in last 10 games @ LA Lakers, we are 3-7 and the losses were mostly competitive. I feel really good about this game, Lakers are vulnerable due to injury and we are rolling. It would be a great win to get, confidence-wise.

  16. TheRant

    Z-man: I feel really good about this game, Lakers are vulnerable due to injury and we are rolling. It would be a great win to get, confidence-wise.

    Plus at some point we get to see Crazy Ron Ron shout “Queensbridge!”

  17. latke

    JK47: Nets fans are all geeked about this supposed 17-player trade that’s going to end up with Chauncey Billups, Rip Hamilton and Melo in New Jersey.Good luck with that, losers.

    I really hope that these are rumors being floated by the Nuggets in an attempt to bolster Carmelo’s value, because if they’re not, the Nets are heading for a world of pain. Hamilton, at this point in his career, is just as bad if not worse than Morrow, and he gets paid 3x as much. Chauncey might have another decent couple of years, but he is not going to be enough to take the nets anywhere, and I’m not sure if he’s any better at this point than Devin Harris. They will win 42-48 games, preventing them from improving through the lottery, and be capped out until probably Hamilton’s contract expires, at which point they’ll have to pay brook lopez.

    The one interesting thing about such a trade is that it would reunite ‘Melo with a couple of the players who were on the team that should have drafted him.

  18. RJ in Brooklyn

    the Suns are now truly awful. they went from bad to worse with the J-Rich trade. Vince Carter half-assing thru the J-Rich sets which used to get PHX tons of easy baskets is sad and not surprising. nicely done, Sarver – driving your franchise into the ground.

    z-man – what Laker injuries are you talking about?

  19. Thomas B.

    The thing you have to like about Fields off the court is that you never read about him getting into trouble. No traffic stops, no night club fights, no string of paternity suits. Just a humble hard working player. He is very much like David Lee. Honestly, it Fields not Amar’e that makes me not miss Lee as much as I thought I would.

  20. RJ in Brooklyn

    Thomas – we’re all excited about the pleasant, unexpected surprise that is Landry Fields. that said, replace Amare with Lee & the Knicks are still a lottery team.

  21. ess-dog

    latke:
    I really hope that these are rumors being floated by the Nuggets in an attempt to bolster Carmelo’s value, because if they’re not, the Nets are heading for a world of pain. Hamilton, at this point in his career, is just as bad if not worse than Morrow, and he gets paid 3x as much. Chauncey might have another decent couple of years, but he is not going to be enough to take the nets anywhere, and I’m not sure if he’s any better at this point than Devin Harris. They will win 42-48 games, preventing them from improving through the lottery, and be capped out until probably Hamilton’s contract expires, at which point they’ll have to pay brook lopez.The one interesting thing about such a trade is that it would reunite ‘Melo with a couple of the players who were on the team that should have drafted him.  

    Well at least they’ll have a product to put on the floor for 2 years until they get their draft picks again. Then they’ll need a new backcourt. I actually sorta like Melo/Humphries/Lopez if Lopez and Melo regain their top form. Hamilton is a bitter pill to swallow though.

  22. Ben R

    RJ in Brooklyn: Thomas – we’re all excited about the pleasant, unexpected surprise that is Landry Fields. that said, replace Amare with Lee & the Knicks are still a lottery team.  (Quote)

    I don’t think that’s true. We are better with Amare over Lee, but this team has improved alot aside from just getting Amare. I think the additions of Felton and Fields, the improvement of Chandler and the subtraction of Duhon, McGrady, Harrington, and Hughes would have gotten us wins and put us on the same level as Indiana and we would be fighting with them for a 6th or 7th seed.

    I think Amare is a 5-10 win improvement over Lee but this team should win between 45-52 games so taking off 5-10 wins would put us in the around .500 category with Lee in my opinion, which would put us neck and neck with the Indiana’s and Milwaukee’s of the world.

  23. Aharon

    I think Shawne’s extra E may actually stand for “extremely effective” from beyond the arc. 56.8%! I mean, c’mon!

  24. Owen

    I am going to agree with Ben R. (unsurprising) The main difference in this team is Fields, Felton, and significant improvement from Chandler. Although i don’t think Amare is 5-10 wins better than Lee. That’s a lot of wins, probably more wins than Amare will account for this year. Obviously, it all comes down to how you feel about usage and scoring….

    On a totally different note, from the City Journal…

    “Washington Irving started the flood. He was the first professional author to make New York (or Gotham, as he dubbed it) his centerpiece. Elsewhere, he’s best remembered for countryside legends like Rip Van Winkle. But in New York, his pseudonym has even greater staying power: his satirical history of New York under Dutch rule was written by one Dietrich Knickerbocker. The Knicks of the NBA salute Irving every time they take to the boards.”

  25. cgreene

    Knicks now #10 in Hollinger world. Also they have higher SOS than Chicago and Atlanta.

    6-5 since the “hard” schedule started with 12 games left in the hell month of Jan where the should win 6 and could win 7. Should have a pretty clear picture of how close we are to elite after that run in terms of needing another max type player or tactical additions in the center and bench areas.

    I am sitting here bummed that the Knicks aren’t playing tonight.

  26. GAx

    That Suns post-game clip of interviews with Gentry, Hill, and Nash was eerily familiar. The hushed tones, I Don’t Knows, and general demeanor was something that was just automatic around here for years and years. I don’t wish that on anyone, but I have to say it feels nice, and a little weird, to be on the opposite end for once.

  27. Z-man

    @25 Laker injuries: Matt Barns is out, but I should have put it that they are not playing particularly well.

    @32 Amar’e vs. Lee, it could be argued that mar’e has a lot to do with the success of Fields, Felton and Chandler. Felton, for example, is playing significantly better than he ever did, Chandler just said himself that Amar’e opens up the corner 3, Fields is certainly benefitting from Amar’e's presence.

    Bill Russell used to scoff at the assertion that he only beat Wilt because he played with better players. To make a long story short, Bill said that he MADE them better players. Maybe it is coincidence that every player in the rotation seems to be having a career year, maybe it is just that they are getting older and better, but I think it is much more than a coincidence. I strongly believe that Amar’e has showed these guys how to win, and Felton wouldn’t be a top-10 PG with Lee as his go-to guy instead of Amar’e. When Amar’e called the team out when they were 3-7, they responded with one of the best streaks in over a decade. During that stretch, he carried the team on his back, and broke a 50 year old scoring record in the process (cons. 30+pt games.) Do you really think Lee, with his zero playoff games, his one appearance as an alternate on the All-Star team, his never having played on a team with even close to a winning record, could have done that?

    Amar’e is the talk of the league right now, and Lee is an afterthought on another losing team. To say that he isn’t the one primarily responsible for the success of the team thus far is a joke. I would bet the house that Landry, Raymond and Chandler would agree, not to mention D’Antoni.

  28. d-mar

    @30 and 32 wow, are we really dragging out the Amare vs. Lee comparisons again? 5-10 games in the win column difference? How many of the games that were close in the 4th quarter this year would we win without STAT, who is leading the league in 4th quarter scoring? I’m not sure we are a .500 team with Lee, we would be losing a lot of games down the stretch, and also don’t think we would win nearly as many road games either. Plus don’t forget all the open looks other guys get because of double downs.

    Amare’s value to this team is immeasurable and goes way beyond statistics, without him, I’m not even sure we’re better than Milwaukee, Philly or Indy.

  29. Ben R

    5-10 wins is alot of wins. I was being complimentary of Amare. On his production alone he is a small upgrade over Lee last year it is the effect on other players that causes the 5-10 win improvement. Amare is a big upgrade over Lee, but Felton + Fields is even more of an upgrade over Duhon + Hughes/McGrady. That’s all I was saying. It’s not a dig on Amare, he has been worth every penny and I do think he helps Chandler and Fields get open looks but Chandler has also gotten alot better at hitting those open looks.

    We had maybe the worst backcourt in the NBA last year. Last year Douglas was so much better than any of our other guards it was laughable. This year he is our third best guard and it’s not even close.

    We went from having a very good PF/C to having a great PF/C that is a nice upgrade but going from a very bad PG to a very good one and gaining a very good SG in the process is a much much bigger upgrade.

    Amare speaking up after the losing streak probably helped but D’Antoni changing the starting lineup and altering the gameplan helped more. Amare is a great player and a great leader but he is not the only reason we are better this year. I’m not comparing Amare vs Lee i’m Comparing Amare’s addition vs. the additions of Fields and Felton. I’d say it is close at bestbut it is our backcourt’s improvement than is the biggest difference.

  30. Z-man

    That’s a big range, too. Five wins means we would be 16-19. 10 wins means we would be 11-24. In that sense, I agree that 5-10 wins is a good range. In other words, the difference between being a winning team and a losing team, and perhaps a terrible team.

  31. Ben R

    I meant 5-10 wins over the course of the season. The difference between 45-52 wins (our team now) or 35-47 wins (our team with a very good PF like Lee last year instead of a great one like Amare).

  32. BigBlueAL

    If the Knicks had the 2010-2011 Lee instead of Amar’e they would be 10th in the East at best.

  33. Z-man

    I loved David, but he’s no Amar’e, not by a long shot, never will be. Amar’e will be a first ballot HOFer. I also think that Landry is basically the sme player as David, and at a position where he doesn’t clash with Amar’e.

    Other good news: We are 6 games up on Houston, making the first round pick swap moot.

  34. BigBlueAL

    One thing about Fields, after seeing that fadeaway he hit last night Im curious to see if he can become a 15-20 ppg scorer in the future. We have seen him drive and hit some nice floaters and finish at the basket while drawing a foul plus improve his 3pt shot as well.

    I think he still has loads of potential to further improve his offense. Hell he might not have to improve his offense just up his usage. Not bad for a role player. lol

  35. Z

    Last year the Knicks were 15-20 after 35 games, 6 games back of where we are now. So it’s not crazy to say that this years team with Lee rather than Amar’e wouldn’t be a whole lot worse in the standings.

    But more than just Ws and Ls, I think that if Walsh had just added Felton and Fields, brought back Lee, and let Harrington and Duhon walk, I don’t think there’d be a whole lot of buzz around the Knicks right now.

    PG Felton
    SG Fields
    SF Gallinari
    PF Chandler
    C Lee

    But, that .428 winning% after 35 games last year was to be the highest winning% they’d enjoy all year, and they ended up at .341, which I think a Felton, Fields, Lee, Gallo, and Chandler team would improve on, but .500 would be their stretch goal, which they’d have to do a lot of things right to achieve.

    I think Amar’e has made a very big difference to this team.

  36. Z-man

    The only PF I would trade Amar’e straight up for is Blake Griffin. That guy is a freak. Amar’e is just more fun to root for than Bosh or Boozer.

  37. daJudge

    Guys–please stop with D. Lee and Amare stuff. D. Lee did a great job for us within the context of that particular team. Loved him. No reason at all to be defensive. He improved every year, played with heart, and was a very decent guy. In fact, he made watching many of the sucky games palatable. However, I don’t think any of us would seriously argue he is even in the same tier as Amare. I don’t mean to be dismissive, but I find the argument so academic that it lacks relevance. Anyway, please tell me who you think the Knicks need at this point. I would be interested on your take. I will personally transmit this info to DW by telekinesis. Maybe not, but at least it will give me something to ponder tonight.

  38. ltmurray

    daJudge: Guys–please stop with D. Lee and Amare stuff.D. Lee did a great job for us within the context of that particular team.Loved him. No reason at all to be defensive.He improved every year, played with heart, and was a very decent guy.In fact, he made watching many of the sucky games palatable. However, I don’t think any of us would seriously argue he is even in the same tier as Amare.I don’t mean to be dismissive, but I find the argument so academic that it lacks relevance.Anyway, please tell me who you think the Knicks need at this point.I would be interested on your take.I will personally transmit this info to DW by telekinesis.Maybe not, but at least it will give me something to ponder tonight.  

    If the Knicks play every team like they played the Spurs and the Suns, they don’t need anybody.

  39. Thomas B.

    BigBlueAL: One thing about Fields, after seeing that fadeaway he hit last night Im curious to see if he can become a 15-20 ppg scorer in the future.We have seen him drive and hit some nice floaters and finish at the basket while drawing a foul plus improve his 3pt shot as well.

    Fields is a rookie so we don’t know what he’ll be when he reaches his peak but in order for him to become a 15-20 point scorer he will need to improve his ability to create offense for himself (12.5 USG-r) and he needs to get to the line more often ( 2.2/36 minutes) and he only hits 73% from the line. His TS% and eFG% are great (leads Knick starters). But he wont get near 20ppg unless he gets 5-6 more FGA per game. Now since he isnt great at creating his own offense, he needs to have 3-4 more scoring opportunities created for him. How is that going to happen? Again, who knows what he’ll be 3 years from now, but at his current numbers, it’s hard to see him getting to 20ppg. 15ppg is hard to imagine for me.

    I don’t even know why you need him to score 15-20. I’d be much happier if he kept the eFG% and the rebounding while he lowered the turnover rate a bit, raised the Ast-r a bit and shot better from the line. Not everyone needs to be a scorer to have value in the NBA. Read Stumbling on Wins if you have not already done so.

  40. Brian Cronin

    I don’t mean to be dismissive, but I find the argument so academic that it lacks relevance.

    “I don’t mean to be dismissive, so let me be dismissive.”

  41. Brian Cronin

    I don’t even know why you need him to score 15-20. I’d be much happier if he kept the eFG% and the rebounding while he lowered the turnover rate a bit, raised the Ast-r a bit and shot better from the line. Not everyone needs to be a scorer to have value in the NBA. Read Stumbling on Wins if you have not already done so.

    Yeah, I think that’s a fair position. Then again, this being his rookie year and all, who knows how he’ll develop the next couple of seasons?

  42. BigBlueAL

    Brian Cronin:
    Yeah, I think that’s a fair position. Then again, this being his rookie year and all, who knows how he’ll develop the next couple of seasons?  

    Thats my point, he is in his rookie season and I cant see why he cant eventually add a few points to his scoring average w/o having to force it or anything. I mean look at that fadeaway he made the other night, he looked freakin Kobesque. Now I know he cant do that all the time but like I said he has scored with some moves that you would think if he tried to do it more often he wouldnt kill his efficiency that much because he looks pretty smooth and natural doing it.

    I dont see him ever scoring 20 ppg but I see no reason why he couldnt settle into a 15 ppg player with pretty similar efficiency as he has right now. He doesnt have Chandler’s natural ability or athleticism so I again cant see him jumping to close to 20 ppg like Chandler has but 15 ppg seems like a realistic ceiling for him I would think.

  43. Brian Cronin

    I do think there’s something to be said, though, for the fact that Fields is less than a year younger than WC, so maybe his game is further developed than we think. I actually don’t know the answer to this – but typically speaking, do players develop more based on time in a professional league or by their age?

    To wit, who should be more developed – a 23 year old in his second year or a 21 year old in his third?

  44. Brian Cronin

    I just read an article where Billups says if he gets traded to the Nets, he wants them to cut him so he can decide where to play.

    While obviously that’s a fine thing for a guy to ask for…

    A. Is it something you’d take seriously if you’re the Nets?

    and

    B. Doesn’t that run counter to the whole point of acquiring Billups along with Melo? “We’re getting Billups, too, to show you we’re committed to putting a good, veteran team together. Oh, but Billups won’t actually be playing on the team.”

    Do you think maybe Billups dislikes Melo?

  45. BigBlueAL

    I think Billups like every other player in the NBA dislikes the Nets not Melo. lol

    One other thing about Fields and his scoring, he did remember lead the Pac-10 in scoring at 22 ppg his senior season in college. I dont care how weak the Pac-10 supposedly was, thats not easy to do. We might take for granted that Fields is a smart player who knows his role but I think he has a little more of a scorer’s mentality in him than we have seen so far.

  46. Brian Cronin

    But how could he have a problem with the Nets if he’s arriving with Melo and likely one other good veteran?

    Seems weird. I guess he just really, really, really likes Denver.

  47. Thomas B.

    Ah the fade away. The one that came at 10:15 in the 4th or 35 minutes after the Suns gave up. You know that was his only unassisted FG of the night right? Think about how many times Fields scores that are unassisted and not a put back. This isnt a knock on Fields, but maybe he isnt built to be a 15, 17, or 20 ppg player. I dont think we need that and I wonder why people value points so much when it is possessions and efficiency are what win you games.

    I’d rather have a guard score 11 with 8 boards and a high eFG% than have a guard score 17 with 2 boards and a low eFG% (ahem Jamal Crawford).

    I guess I don’t understand, why does he need to get to 15ppg? How does that help the Knicks more than having him lower his turnover rate and raise the assist rate? Maybe on some other team he would need to do that, but this team needs rebounding and defense not more points.

    Fans overvalue scoring so when you have a player that is contributing to wins better (.122 WS/48) than a player who scores more points–for example Carmelo Anthony but gives you fewer wins (.104) fans still want to get more scoring out of the first player to legitimize him as a good player. Or are you taking this from some other angle?

  48. Brian Cronin

    I agree that Fields could very well be better suited to his current role and he can help a lot without scoring (like when the Lakers won the title last year, Lamar Odom averaged 10.8 points a game).

    That said, I just don’t know if his skills won’t develop over the next few years. He is a very good player even if they don’t, but he’s still young enough that he might very well develop new skills that see him efficiently scoring more points per game than he is now (perhaps up to 15 a game).

  49. Thomas B.

    I’m not saying he cant, I just don’t know if he needs to become a go to scorer. He is efficient enough that if they ran 2-3 more plays for him he could get 14 a game.

  50. RJ in Brooklyn

    that fadeaway was pretty sweet though. and while Fields’ scoring isn’t needed, if you can lead a premier D1 conference in scoring with opponents game planning to stop you, you know some things about creating offense.

    I’d like to see Rautins getting some more run.

  51. Thomas B.

    yes that one unassisted fade away that i haven’t seen until the 35th game of the season was pretty sweet.

    Or you were just good at finishing. Hard to compare ncaa scoring to nba scoring.

  52. jon abbey

    BigBlueAL: I think Billups like every other player in the NBA dislikes the Nets not Melo.lolOne other thing about Fields and his scoring, he did remember lead the Pac-10 in scoring at 22 ppg his senior season in college.I dont care how weak the Pac-10 supposedly was, thats not easy to do.  

    Toney Douglas led the ACC in scoring his senior year, it doesn’t really mean that much in the pros.

  53. BigBlueAL

    Im all for efficiency but being so efficient while scoring 10 ppg if your playing 32 mpg is really that valuable?? Of course everyone knows how great his rebounding is and I understand that is more valuable for this current team than his scoring and is what helps make him as valuable as he is.

    Im just saying I believe he could be almost as efficient, if not as efficient, as he is now and increase his scoring by 4 or 5 ppg. How could you not want that?? I shouldnt have mentioned in my initial comment that he could be a 15-20 ppg player because I certainly dont believe that he will ever be a 20 ppg scorer while be as efficient as he is now which is why I ammended that in my further comments and said I think he could average 15 ppg with the same efficiency.

    I totally, 100% understand where you are coming from Thomas so dont get me wrong, all I really meant was that I think he can average around 5 more ppg w/o hurting his efficiency. I didnt say it meaning that is what this team needs to take the next step or whatever. I was just really commenting about him as a player individually not what is necessarily needed from him to make this team better.

    Im beginning to regret saying what I said about Fields, has lead to a debate I really wasnt trying to start lol.

  54. BigBlueAL

    Well, TD did score 30 pts in a game this season showing his scoring prowess :-)

    Actually TD has been by far the most frustrating player to watch this season. Didnt Kurt Thomas lead all of college in scoring his senior season in college?? Eddie House I think scored over 60 in a game at Arizona St too. OK completely disregard my comment about Fields and his leading the Pac-10 in scoring as a sign he can score in the NBA, it really is meaningless.

  55. BigBlueAL

    Its late as hell right now, I really need to go to sleep before I say anything else stupid lol.

  56. Thomas B.

    BBA,

    I’m not trying to say that you are wrong I’m just trying to understand why scoring is where you place your focus in Fields’ development. I wouldn’t mind if he killed two birds with one stone, say by improving at the line–something few rookies get so there is hope for that coming.

    I’m not saying it has to be more scoring in place of the rebounding. I get the best of both worlds desire here. But as a 22 year-old rookie the guy is already a significantly above average NBA player in terms of Win Shares and WS/48.

    Even if he only improves slightly by the time he hits his peak (usually between 24 and 26) he could have a WS/48 of around 0.150 which is really good. I’d think he have to have a significant bump in scoring volume with moderate declines in turnovers while maintaining his other stats to get past the star level of (.200). But even if his ceiling is .150 that really is nothing to complain about. Keep in mind the productivity vs. cost that we are getting from him. He is the best value in the NBA right now. I’ll take that as is.

    The guy is an above average player for about 1/11th the average NBA salary. Compare that to Carmelo Anthony who makes 3 times the average NBA salary But has a career WS/48 nearly the same as Fields’ rookie year (0.122 vs 0.124).

  57. Thomas B.

    BBA,

    I’m sure with a few more shots per game Landry can score 15ppg. I don’t doubt that. He really just needs 2-3 more trips to the line and to create one more shot for himself a game to do it. On the other hand, Shawne Williams could drop 25 a night if he took 20 shots (15 of them from three) each night. :-)

  58. daJudge

    Just some numbers—-
    Lakers, 2009-2010–Odom, 5th leading scorer, 11 ppg.;

    Lakers, 2008-2009—Fisher, 5th leading scorer, 10 ppg;

    2008-09 Cavs, 5th leading scorer, Varejo, 9 ppg;

    1969-70 Knicks, 5th leading scorer, Cassie, 11.5 ppg; B.T.A.T. (best team all time)

    2009-2010 Celts, 5th leading scorer, Perkins, 10ppg

    2010-2011 Knicks ppg
    Stat-26
    Raymond-18
    Ill Wil- 18
    Gallo- 15
    Fields-10
    TDDWTDD-9.4
    Extra E-6.5 and rising

  59. Mulligan

    Brian Cronin: I do think there’s something to be said, though, for the fact that Fields is less than a year younger than WC, so maybe his game is further developed than we think. I actually don’t know the answer to this – but typically speaking, do players develop more based on time in a professional league or by their age?
    To wit, who should be more developed – a 23 year old in his second year or a 21 year old in his third?  

    I couldn’t find it, but didn’t Mike K do a post on answering exactly this question? I think it was over the summer. Maybe about solving the Anthony Randolph enigma? Ring a bell for anybody?

  60. danvt

    Me Happy!

    On the Mozgov ejection: I imagine that the Russian leagues are a little like 70′s American style or football or something. Big guys are allowed to let off a little steam. New rules in the NBA must be among the difficult things he has to acclimate to. Nice to see some toughness from the man though.

    On Lee: When the list of the top 25 K’s came out I didn’t find myself thinking of Lee or Nate (and I noticed the conspicuous absence of Marbury). I liked those guys, but, when the great plays all happen other than in winning moments late in games you can only feel so much. Just not a lot of W’s on those guys resumes. Michael Ray Richardson won some games. Bernard King won a lot of games. Bill Cartwright played on playoff teams. Ewing, Oakley, Starks, Sprewell all were winners. 21-14 is like a dream come true at this point.

  61. danvt

    BigBlueAL: One thing about Fields, after seeing that fadeaway he hit last night Im curious to see if he can become a 15-20 ppg scorer in the future.

    What a move. Just to remind everyone that he’s more than just a “glue guy”.

  62. danvt

    I think talk about Fields “the scorer” is relevant in that it goes to the argument that we’re fine without another high volume wing. In Chandler, Fields, and Gallo we have a great core that, I’ve become convinced, we should not break up for Melo. The fact that Fields has upside in terms of scoring bolsters that argument. He may be a guy who, over time, could be that “second gun” that people in the media seem to think we need (though I think most posters here know better).

  63. jaylamerique

    Mulligan:
    I couldn’t find it, but didn’t Mike K do a post on answering exactly this question? I think it was over the summer. Maybe about solving the Anthony Randolph enigma? Ring a bell for anybody?  

    I always figured years were more important than age. In the NBA you have so much more free time and practice time to develop your game.

  64. Z-man

    It is virtually impossible that Landry Fields will not become a better scorer. He just won’t let well enough alone. The guy is a hungry, smart perfectionist. He is very much like Lee in that he will quietly work on his game and his body in the off-season. He is not like Lee in that he was a dominant go-to player in college and knows how that feels. He may not become LeBron or Wade, but he is not going to top out at this level. I think the comparisons to Bradley and Havlicek are valid, not that he will be a HOFer, but that he will do whatever he needs to do to help the team win. At some point, he may need to increase his usage and score more. You can bet that he will work his ass off to be in a position to do that. So can he be a 15-20ppg scorer at some point? Absolutely. Will he? It will depend on what the team needs.

  65. d-mar

    Regarding another guy named Randolph, namely Z-Bo, I just don’t know what to think of this guy. Every time I check a box score, he’s got 25 and 15, 28 and 17, last night vs. OKC he pulled down 9 offensive rebounds! But there’s no way I’d want him on my team, and I’m not sure why? We saw him first hand in NY, and there’s some intangible quality on the negative side – maybe it’s that he makes his teammates worse or something? Anyway, the guy keeps putting up ridiculous numbers night after night, and will probably make the All Star team for the 2nd year in a row.

    Is Bob McAdoo a fair comparison?

  66. GHenman

    jaylamerique: I always figured years were more important than age. In the NBA you have so much more free time and practice time to develop your game.  (Quote)

    I think he will physically mature over the next few years. Some added muscle would definitely improve his play on both ends of the floor.

  67. JK47

    The guy is an above average player for about 1/11th the average NBA salary. Compare that to Carmelo Anthony who makes 3 times the average NBA salary But has a career WS/48 nearly the same as Fields’ rookie year (0.122 vs 0.124).

    But WS/48 has massive, massive shortcomings. Low-usage players like Landry Fields get overrated by WS/48 and high-usage players like Carmelo Anthony get underrated.

    Sure, Landry Fields is more “efficient” than Carmelo Anthony if you just look at TS%, rebounds and turnovers. But the Nuggets ask an awful lot more out of Anthony than the Knicks ask out of Fields. They run the offense through Melo. The opposing team draws up game plans to stop Melo. When the game becomes a half-court game and the Nuggets need somebody to create his own shot, they go to Melo. That pretty fadeaway Landry hit against Phoenix that everybody on here is gushing about? Carmelo takes hundreds of shots like that every season.

    One of the end results of all of this activity is that low usage guys like Landry Fields (and his equivalent in Denver, Arron Afflalo) get easier opportunities because the opposing defenses aren’t focusing on them so much. Their “efficiency” isn’t killed because they’re forced to make fadeaway jumpers over Kevin Durant five times every game. WS/48 makes no attempt to adjust for this, so you get ridiculous statistical anomalies like Tyson Chandler being rated as way better than Kevin Durant and James Jones outscoring Amar’e Stoudemire.

    I kind of hate WS/48.

  68. GHenman

    d-mar: Regarding another guy named Randolph, namely Z-Bo, I just don’t know what to think of this guy. Every time I check a box score, he’s got 25 and 15, 28 and 17, last night vs. OKC he pulled down 9 offensive rebounds! But there’s no way I’d want him on my team, and I’m not sure why? We saw him first hand in NY, and there’s some intangible quality on the negative side – maybe it’s that he makes his teammates worse or something? Anyway, the guy keeps putting up ridiculous numbers night after night, and will probably make the All Star team for the 2nd year in a row.Is Bob McAdoo a fair comparison?  (Quote)

    I don’t think his ability is anywhere near McAdoo. I also think his rebounding numbers are inflated because he gets alot of put backs after missing his own two foot shots.

  69. phil

    Have to leave a comment about Felton I’m probably 1 of the few who knew he was gonna have a big impact on the knicks like this. why did I know cuz he played for one of the most overated coaches in NBA history LARRY BROWN. This guy cuffed up Felton for years with his slow boring basketball. This guy is playing with a chip on his shoulder and is basically sayin 4get about Chris Paul n Deron in 2 yrs I’m here 2 stay. With landry F great solid young player good pick by Donnie but please do not compare him 2 melo. As much as I like him he can get traded in a second for mello and some pieces just not too much pieces

  70. Thomas B.

    JK47: But WS/48 has massive, massive shortcomings.Low-usage players like Landry Fields get overrated by WS/48 and high-usage players like Carmelo Anthony get underrated.Sure, Landry Fields is more “efficient” than Carmelo Anthony if you just look at TS%, rebounds and turnovers.

    Um no. WS/48 has a shortcoming but it is not what you have offered. WS/48 does not ding high usage players, it dings high usage combined with low efficiency. the top 5 players in USG-r with their WS/48
    Bryant 34.9 W0.180
    Anthony 32.8 0.104
    Wade 31.6 0.231
    Durant 31.6 0.170
    James 31.3 0.235

    By your logic, every person on this list should have an average WS/48 because they are asked an awful lot more out of than the Knicks ask out of Fields. They run the offense through these players. The opposing team draws up game plans to stop these players. When the game becomes a half-court game and the team need somebody to create his own shot, they go to these players. So why is Anthony the only one that sucks in WS/48 so much? Anthony has the lowest TS% of the bunch. Bryant is at .542 which aint great but Anthony is much lower than that at .522. And i think I am comparing apples to apples here because this is a list of players that slide between the 2 and 3 spots.

    It is not Anthony’s usage that is a problem it is his efficiency. Anthony has never been very efficient and for that reason I don’t want him. Low efficiency hurts a team and that is reflected in his WS/48. Read stumbling on wins please. Shouldnt it matter that Fields makes 16.5 million dollars less than Anthony? Better production, lower price, more cap room, five years younger. How does an Anthony v. Fields argument even exist? Hands down Fields wins.

  71. JK47

    @84

    I’m not comparing Melo to Kobe, Wade, Durant or James. Those guys are better than Melo.

    I’m comparing Melo to a low-usage guy like Landry Fields. Low-usage, high-efficiency players can score very high in WS/48, to the point where it really overstates their value. See: Tyson Chandler, James Jones, Chris Andersen, etc.

    Now, I like Landry quite a lot and think he’s a nice player. But there is value in Melo’s game. For all of Melo’s supposed shortcomings, the Nuggets tend to be a pretty good offensive team, despite Melo being surrounded with guys we don’t think of as particularly great offensive players. The Nuggets have the #5 offense this year, they were #3 the year before that and #7 the year before that. If you take him off the team, are they going to vault up to the #1 offense in the NBA? I don’t think so.

    If you put Melo on a team where he’s the #5 option on offense, he’d be pretty efficient too. Of course Landry is a very nice fit here and his contract is very appealing, but to say he’s more “productive” than Carmelo Anthony is not true in my book, just as it’s not true that James Jones is more “productive” than Amar’e Stoudemire.

  72. latke

    RE Melo/WS: Like all of these player rating stats, Win Score comes up short in accounting for the distribution of player skills. It’s much easier to sign a 40% 3pt shooter who has no other skills than to sign a player who can score on his own. If you put Landry Fields or James Jones in Carmelo Anthony’s shoes on offense, had them take all the same shots with all the same defense, they would be far worse and WS would show that.

    There are two sides to this story. On the one hand, you have players who think too highly of their scoring ability and take difficult shots when easier ones are available. On the other, you have players who, because of their teammates, are put into a position where those low-efficiency shots really are the team’s best option. These player ratings have a difficult time telling the difference between the two.

    In ‘Melo’s case, it seems to me that it’s a combination of the two. In the 7 games he’s missed this season, the team has had a slightly higher TS% (.578 vs. .567), and went 3-4 against average competition. He hasn’t seemed to matter all that much, at least this season, but IMO there is the definite likelihood that ‘Melo’s head is not entirely in the game this season, and if he was on a team that he liked, with teammates that had proven they could win without him, he would choose his shots more carefully and dedicate himself more on the defensive end (as he has in previous seasons with Denver).

    IMO being able to score on your own becomes more important against tough defenses, especially defenses that have game after game to adjust to your offense (i.e. the playoffs). There are going to be more plays where the offensive cannot produce a shot that a player like Landry Fields can make, but that a player like Anthony could make. I still feel like because of the $s he’d cost, he’s not worth it, but I do believe that replacing Fields or Gallo with Anthony would lead to more playoff success.

  73. d-mar

    Looks like the NJ-Detroit-Denver deal is getting legs. Reports say Melo wants to make sure the Nets have a competitive roster before he signs an extension. Let’s see, a starting lineup of Melo, Lopez, Hamilton, Billups (who has asked to opt out of his contract if the deal happens) and Humphries? If it wasn’t for the upcoming CBA expiration, the Nets would have absolutely no chance in this, it’s the only thing that may motivate Melo and his agent to get something done sooner rather than later.

  74. JK47

    That proposed lineup of Billups-Hamilton-Melo-Humphries-Lopez sucks the big one in my opinion.

    Melo would essentially just be joining the current Nets team– considering Billups’ age he’s probably a downgrade from Devin Harris, and Rip Hamilton is basically just an older and more expensive Anthony Morrow. Brook Lopez is playing like complete doo-doo.

    If Melo thinks that team is a winner, more power to him. That proposed team does not look like a threat to me whatsoever.

  75. Brian Cronin

    So long as the Nets don’t get the Pistons’ pick, I would like that Nets-Nugget-Pistons deal for everyone involved (this is provided, of course, that you believe that Melo is a superstar who you desperately need to acquire for relevance – obviously there is a debate over that, but we should presume that is how the Nets view Melo).

    The Pistons shouldn’t have to give up a good first round pick just to dump Hamilton when it is the Nets who are desperate for quality veterans to surround Melo.

    Here’s two things I don’t get about the deal…

    1. Why would Melo be happy with Billups and Hamilton as the veteran core? Those guys are surely getting close to their last years of efficiency, right?

    2. What to make of the statement from Billups’ agent about how he would refuse to report to the Nets if traded to them?

  76. Z-man

    Z-man: The only PF I would trade Amar’e straight up for is Blake Griffin.That guy is a freak.Amar’e is just more fun to root for than Bosh or Boozer.  

    On cue, Blake just destroyed David Lee today. Lee fouled out in 25 minutes with 8 pts and 3 rebounds.

  77. daJudge

    I love Melo, but IMO, he doesn’t really fill a need. I think he is an awesome player and a winner. I’m not going to harp on his negatives at all. Also, he wants to play here, which is cool. If we had a great Center and were deficient at the 3, I would love to have Melo. I personally believe he is a max, or close to max, free agent. I think he can carry a team and has demonstrated this in college and the pro’s, with the caveat that his play offs haven’t been so great. But, really, do we need another 3 not named LeBron or Durrant (I’m not even sure about Durant)? Let’s keep the core guys and wait until we can fill a real need with our DW flexibility. This team definitely has real needs if it is to improve. I think DW knows this and will pursue those players who will move the team forward.

  78. daJudge

    On another issue, this NJ thing looks doomed to failure, even if it goes. You can’t get some one to specifically perform a personal services contract and it already looks like Chauncey wants nothing to do with this mess. Wow.

  79. RJ in Brooklyn

    I think we’ve stretched the envelope a bit with some of these comparisions…Landry to Havlicek & Bradley…Z-Randolph to Bob McAdoo. McAdoo being left off the 50 greatest team was an absolute joke.

    the more I consider it the more I think Melo’s not a good fit. he’s not a good shooter, especially from 3, and isn’t much of a defender. we need depth at PG, rebounding, and guys who do little things/dirty work. this NJ scenario is worse than what Melo has in Denver.

  80. ess-dog

    RJ in Brooklyn:the more I consider it the more I think Melo’s not a good fit. he’s not a good shooter, especially from 3, and isn’t much of a defender. we need depth at PG, rebounding, and guys who do little things/dirty work. this NJ scenario is worse than what Melo has in Denver.  

    If Gallo can develop a midrange and back-to-the-basket game then we definitely don’t need him.

  81. Thomas B.

    Of course Landry is a very nice fit here and his contract is very appealing, but to say he’s more “productive” than Carmelo Anthony is not true in my book, just as it’s not true that James Jones is more “productive” than Amar’e Stoudemire.  

    I don’t know what your “book” is. My book is Stumbling on Wins. I dont think WS/48 are perfect, they give big penalties to folks that miss alot of shots. But blown scoring chances should be a hit. And with Melo’s 525 TS%–well below average–he should take a hit. You cant say its system or place in the offense. I gave you examples of players that have high usg but the also are efficient scorers so they have a higher WS/48.

    Melo had some good years but this year he is not contributing to wins the way his contemporaries are. This year Fields is doing a better job than Melo at contributing to wins. Doesnt it make sense that players with near identical usg but far better efficiency are deemed to be better contributors. It is more than just raw points or the clutch shot you remember. So tell me what system is best? PER, Win Shares, raw data, advanced stats, or just your own view of what makes a player good? So every now and then melo drops 44 so you can ignore the fact that he is at or below average in just about ever other category? Perhaps your book is “Through Iverson coated glasses: How raw scoring out put makes everything else a non-factor.”
    Tell me, how do you use numbers to evaluate Melo and Fields. You really should get a copy of Stumbling on Wins from your local library.

  82. JK47

    @95

    Well, for starters, there is this:

    PER
    Carmelo Anthony 20.8
    Landry Fields 14.8

    But I’m not going to say that PER is the definitive stat, just like WS/48 is not the definitive stat. They both have their shortcomings. PER tends to overrate volume scorers, while WS/48 tends to overrate role players on good teams. There is no statistical formula that is “the truth.”

    There are more Win Shares to go around when a team wins lots of games, so a dude like James Jones can rack up crazy Win Shares numbers despite doing little more than standing at the three point line and draining open jumpers after the defenses have collapsed on LeBron and Wade. That is an obvious flaw of the system. James Jones is not a more valuable player than Amar’e Stoudemire in any universe that I’m aware of.

    I’m well aware of how the Win Shares concept works, being an old school baseball sabermetrics geek from way back in the 80′s. It works better in baseball, in my opinion, for reasons that are kind of arcane… But in short, basketball is a more dynamic game than baseball and less quantifiable by statistics. There are more aspects of basketball that do not show up in the box score.

    And I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again– the Nuggets are one of the best offensive teams in the league, despite the supposed crappiness of the guy who is the centerpiece of that offense. If the Nuggets were a poor or even average offensive team I might buy the argument that Melo’s play is actually a detriment, but the fact is that they’re #5 in the NBA in offensive rating. Either Billups, Nene, Afflalo and JR Smith are freaking awesome offensive players or Melo ain’t that bad.

  83. Brian Cronin

    Either Billups, Nene, Afflalo and JR Smith are freaking awesome offensive players or Melo ain’t that bad.

    Billups and Nene are awesome offensive players (and Afflalo and Lawson have been good this year on offense, too, especially Afflalo). JR Smith is not that good, that is true, but there is a ton of offensive talent on Denver (Nene is having a re-donk-you-lus season so far).

  84. Brian Cronin

    When I made my comment, I was just going off of what I had looked up awhile back. I just checked the Nuggets’ stats to see if things had changed any.

    Have you seen the TS% for Nene, Billups and Afflalo?!?!?

    .687 for Nene!!!!
    .626 for Bullups!!!
    624 for Afflalo!!!

    Holy crap!!!

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