Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Summer League Chat 7/9 vs. Seattle

Feel free to talk about the Knicks’ first summer league game.

189 comments on “Summer League Chat 7/9 vs. Seattle

  1. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Post author

    1Q thoughts:
    Morris – 2 blocks of Durant, one on a switch, the other from the weak side. Looks all around solid.

    Balkman – on Durant. So that means Chandler is taking the smaller guy. Can’t see who is taller between the 2. Bringing energy (NBA slang for steals and rebounds) and flew into the seats. Even brought the ball up the floor to setup the offense.

    Chandler – didn’t hesistate to take an 18 footer with a defender on him & nailed it. Can run the court (dunk off a Balkman steal).

    Nichols – took it to the hoop with his left. Pump fake & off he went.

    Off the second teamers Greene is the only one that caught my eye. Not athletic, but confident. Had a nice drive from the top of the key all the way to the hoop. Smart player – used a guys’ momentum to box him out on one defensive play.

  2. jon abbey

    I love Balkman so much. the more we get to see him and Lee together this year, the better. I realize pretty much everyone here thinks this, but it can’t be said enough.

  3. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Post author

    If anyone else is awake watching this: imagine a lineup of Chandler, Balkman, and Lee. Maybe throw in Nate & whoever at SG (or even Morris at C). Boy what an up tempo, athletic, swarming defense you could have. Certainly a running team.

  4. jon abbey

    heh, I saw some of that again the other day. such a blatant rip from Night of the Hunter (the love/hate thing), Spike has no shame.

  5. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Post author

    2Q Thoughts:
    Nate – Got posterized on a dunk by Seattle’s Green. He should have tried to take a charge, but Nate’s “energy” forced him to go for a block on a player a foot taller.

    Nichols – made another nice dunk in transition. Airballed his first 3 point attempt. Hence the dangers of judging a player on a small amount of plays. Nichols looks like the type of player that earns his keep in the paint, not from downtown.

    Balkman – Still going…

    Morris – Kinda looks like Tim Duncan with the unshaven look. So far has played solidly like Duncan. Just needs a bank shot.

    Second teamers. Again Greene impresses. Hit a 3. No one else does it for me. Berdiel is unimpressive. Tre Simmons missed a transition layup.

  6. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Post author

    David Lee halftime interview.
    He said that the leg “didn’t heal as quickly as he would want it to” but that “injuries are a part of the game.” They showed him working on his jumper and asked what he’s working on, and Lee said “his 15 footer and his ball handling skills.” I think that second part is key. Lee is a good passer, but if he’s able to get the ball on the floor, that would be a nice addition to his game.

    He also said that there’s the possibility he’ll play the 3 this year, so he’s preparing for anything.

    Good stuff.

  7. dan

    If someone could upload some of highlights I’d appreciate it. I live in VT and use a dish, so no MSG.

  8. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Post author

    3Q
    Morris was looking solid. But a bad quarter for him. He missed a reverse layup. Was stuffed on another attempt. Then was called for a traveling violation.

    Balkman – Still going… Definitely looks to be the Knicks summer MVP. Just all over the court & locking down Durant. Scary moment when he caught a knee to the nose.

    Chandler – Good pass while driving baseline. So far seems to be a heads up player.

    Greene – hit another 3. Too bad we’re stocked at the small forward spot. This guy would make a nice end of bench guy based on his play tonight. Is it a fluke? Good hustle. If he were just a tad more athletic.

  9. jon abbey

    Balkman and Chandler totally shut down Durant, who shot 4-19 and had no assists for the second straight game.

    the Fred Jones interview I thought was interesting, I didn’t realize Isiah drafted him at 14 in 2002, that makes me think it’s more likely he’ll stick around. I really wonder how we’re going to get down to 15 guys, I can’t believe Dolan will let Isiah buy out James with so many years left.

  10. Owen

    Missed the game. Can’t wait to watch the 60 minute version. Balkman must have played good, Durant had a winscore of -7. That guy needs to put on 15 pounds.

  11. Felix

    Chandler is much more polished than i thought, his D and recognition is very good, even gave a very nice open court lead pass to balkman for a dunk on a fast break. Showed hes not just a perimeter shooter, got some rebs and tips down low.

  12. Ben

    I think you can download games at nba.com for all you guys who missed it.

    Despite what alot of people have said I think that Chandler and Balkman are much different players, I do not understand people saying they are the same. I guess it is because they are both athletic wingmen but Chandler seems much more like a scorer while Balkman is a defender and energy guy.

    Great defense by all the starters tonight, especially Balkman, I think he is going to become a top tier nba defender.

  13. Jballa

    Brian Greene really impressed me. to bad he most likely wont get signed by the knicks due to the load of SF in the knicks. it’ll be nice to see him around the league. also chandler is pretty good as to what i thought he would be so far. he looks very determined and confident and ready for the future. but last but not least balkman is one hell of a athlete. he shut down Kevin Durant. Greene,Chandler and balkman earn my props so far.

  14. jon abbey

    no matter how similar or different Balkman and Chandler are, you can’t have too many athletic swingmen in today’s NBA. Balkman’s ball handling reminds me a bit of Anthony Mason, remember when he used to bring the ball up?

    and no one new is making this team unless we have a multi-player deal first, we have 17 guys for 15 spaces, regardless of positions.

  15. Felix

    Jon, We can do some small things like send morris to the D-league, cut dickau and cut nate (hes too turnover prone and didnt show like he grew up at all). we need 15 spaces, team would be like this
    Marbury/Collins
    Crawford/Jones/Nichols
    Richardson/Balkman/Jeffries/Chandler
    Randolph/Lee/Rose
    Curry/James
    Y does it feel like im missing someone?

    Nichols played the 2 tonite and played well, hes 6’8. imagine our backcourt if collins and nichols play together?

  16. jon abbey

    Morris isn’t going to the D-league, we only have him under contract for this season, and I’d think the chances of him resigning would go way down if we did that. Dickau being cut I could see, Nate I still think is making the team.

  17. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Post author

    Yeah Nate is not getting cut. He actually has decent trade value. You don’t cut guys that you can trade. He asked to join the team since he was playing pickup ball & wanted better competition. Say what you want about Nate, but not a lot of guys show that kind of commitment.

    Imagine if the NBA were a video game where each player had a certain amount of “skill points”. Take Balkman, reduce his ridiculously high speed, steals, rebounding, and blocked shots to an above average SF. Then take those “skill points” and put it all in shooting and “smoothness” and you have Chandler. So Chandler still has some athleticism, not to the extreme of Balkman, but can shoot and doesn’t look like he’s out of control in the half court set.

    As for Balkman, in my notes last night I wrote: “fuck Artest, this guy can play defense.” Maybe the grandest dilemma of Isiah for this upcoming season is not keeping Lee on the bench for 15-20 minutes, but rather not playing Balkman for 30 minutes a night. Just to wrap this up with what was said in the beginning, maybe the best is to move/cut Jeffries to make playing time for Renaldo.

  18. bmj320

    Chandler should be the starting sf in about a year. His game looked pretty smooth last night. I know its only one game but he showed some poise. I like Balkman’s hustle and energy but at the end of the day you need to knock down shots to win and he still hasn’t shown that he can shoot a lick. That bum Jeffries should be participating in the summer league.

  19. dave crockett

    “Just to wrap this up with what was said in the beginning, maybe the best is to move/cut Jeffries to make playing time for Renaldo.”

    :: Can’t wait to see the next game. I missed this one. Have I mentioned that I’d love to see NY pick up the pace? :)

    :: I suspect the only way to move Jeffries is to either a) pair him with one or both expiring deals, or b) pair him with a useful player like Nate and take back someone else’s headache. Jeffries isn’t like James–a player with no value–but who could/would take his deal I wonder?

  20. Caleb

    You can catch up on your viewing right here: http://www.nba.com/video/

    Of players we hadn’t seen before, Chandler looked great. Morris was impressive, too. Long arms and quick reactions on defense.

    Isaih might keep one extra shooter, but it’s hard to imagine both Nichols and Dickau sticking.

    We should be looking look for options to package any of our overpaid vets (James, Jeffries, Crawford, Rose, Q) with a young prospect (and maybe the two expiring contracts), in exchange for a veteran who can either block shots or solve our backcourt issues.

    If it were up to me, none of those guys would even be in the rotation, except for Q – and I’d be shocked if ever plays a full season again without getting hurt.

    Obviously, the prospect we’d be willing to give up would depend on who comes back in the trade – from Collins on the low end (for someone like Steve Blake, in a sign and trade), to Balkman or even Lee on the high end (for an All-Star type player).

  21. Amanda

    Nate- I thought Nate played good. He passed the ball and wasn’t to out of control and was still able to score 19 points.

    Balkman- I love watch him play. He is so high energy and he ball control really comes in handy.

    Morris- I thought he played good. He had a couple of good blocks and it looked like he new what he was doing out there.

    Chandler/ Nichols- i thought the two of them played well together and both were very impressive.

  22. Mike

    Balkman: looked great, gave us what we’ve all come to expect: energy, hustle, dove into and over the Knicks bench to save a ball early. Got out on the break and threw down some dunks to finish, lcked up Durant and swatted away some of his shots.

    Randolph Morris: impressive, physical & tough down low, strong rebounds, showed a nice touch, didn’t finish a reverse around the basket and drew Clyde’s wrath (lol) but overall looked pretty good and like someone who could play a role in the frontcourt

    Nate: as usual – spectacular at times, out of control at others, made some plays that got you out of your seat (finishing a strong move down after being bear-hugged by a big, a stop-and-spin lay-up off a break, etc..), but also take some wild shots and ran faster than he could dribble, I’ve always liked his spirit and energy but wouldn’t mind seeing him and Jeffries packaged for someone that would fill a more defined role on the team

    Chandler: a nice surprise, looked very athletic and skilled, had heard a lot of comparisons to Trevor Ariza during Draft week but he seemed to be more polished on the offensive end and wasn’t strictly an athlete as I had expected, nice form on his jumper, good body control around the basket, made a nice pass to Morris coming down the lane, he seems to be the athletic type of 3 with an outside shot that many were looking for with Rashard Lewis – maybe one day

    Nichols: hit some shots as we were looking for, finished strong coming down the lane, still has a lot to prove but could have a spot if he’s hitting his shots

  23. Michael Zannettis

    I’d like to see the Knicks trade Collins, Jeffries, Jones, and Dickau for picks. Jones and Dickau both have small salaries this year, so if they could find a team that wants them for a 2nd-Round pick. Better than just cutting them.

    As for Collins and Jeffries, they seem the type of players–back-up point and perimeter defender–that contending teams need, but are luxuries for rebuilding teams.

    So based on where the Knicks are right now, and where they want to be a year from now, those are the players that should go. That’d get us under the roster limit.

    I’d honestly also listen to offers for Q-Rich. I know he’s one of our best shooters, on a team without many good shooters, but he’s not going to be part of the Knicks good years.

    This would be my rotation:

    PG: Marbury/Nate
    SG: Crawford/Q-Rich (until he’s traded or injured)
    SF: Balkman/Chandler
    PF: Randolph/Lee
    C: Curry/Morris

  24. Mike

    I’d rather have Balkman because his skillset is more unique and harder to find than Ariza’s.

  25. Will Hanza

    Nate- I love the athleticism, but it was kind of funny seeing Balkman at the point over Nate. When Nate did bring the ball up, his passing was erratic. He made a couple good fast breaks, but then pulled up for a clanking 3, which I didn’t like.

    I just don’t see room for Nate on this team.

    Balkman was a BEAST.

    Good to see Q-Rich around. Maybe he is our answer at the 3. He can play the 2 just fine, as well.

    Especially if Balkman and/or Lee are getting minutes at the 3.

    Anywhichway, this Knicks team is one of the more exciting ones we’ve had in years, so I am really looking forward to the season.

  26. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Post author

    How about:

    Bobcats receive Jared Jeffries
    Knicks receive nothing

    Maybe throw in Jones or Dickau. This way we can get a trade exception for $5M – $9M. And even though we’d be getting nothing in return, we’d still be getting the better part of the deal.

  27. Knicks fan in Taiwan

    To Dan in VT with a dish and no MSG, another option for those of us Knicks fans not residing in the States is either SopCast or TVUnetwork. Both are free P2P systems that broadcast live TV on the Internet. I was able to find Knicks games on one or the other about 75% of the time last season–if you don’t find the game at tip-off, check back every now and then because sometimes they are added to their program lists once the game has started.

  28. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Post author

    Right now, Balkman over Ariza because Balkman is a much better defender and rebounder. Even though Ariza is a better scorer, Renaldo turns the ball over less. They’re about a year apart in age so Ariza still has a little room there.

  29. Caleb

    I’d take Balkman.

    Nate is out of place as a point guard, but he’s probably the best shooting guard on the team – definitely the best value for the money, so I wouldn’t rush to get rid of him.

    Jones & Dickau make $6 million between them, expiring this year, which is a reasonably valuable trade asset. Jones, at least, can play tho.

    I wouldn’t base too much on one summer league game, but this would be my tentative lineup…

    Marbury @35 minutes

    Collins 15

    Robinson/Jones 30 (sort of an offense/defense platoon at SG)

    Richardson 25-30 (when he’s hurt, plenty of bodies to pick up the slack)

    Balkman 30

    Lee 35-40

    Randolph 35

    Curry 30

    Chandler & Morris will watch and learn – maybe earn time later in the year. Both looked great last night against rec-league competition.

    Crawford probably deserves better but I don’t see him as a role player on a team this deep. Maybe play some point if Collins’ knee goes south.

    Rose, JJ & JJ can play Yahtze on the bench.

    Dickau would only make the team as backup point, if we’re worried about Collins’ knee.

    Nichols – if we cut Dickau, and DN has a great summer league and camp, he might make it as the 15th man. Pat Riley used to keep a mad bomber at the end of the bench, to bring in when his Knicks got about 20 points down. never worked.

  30. luke

    I was surprised at how physically strong and how confident with his game chandler looked. He looks big enough that in a few years we might see him playing some 4. Also the energy with these young guys is so refreshing, its nice to see some hunger on the court.

  31. DMull

    What sucks is that we could really use a player like Nichols coming off the bench but he basically has to be sent to the D-League.

    I’d love to get rid of Jeffries but no one is taking him unless we take back another bad player with a bad contract…just stash him away deep on the bench for when we need a defensive spark.

    I have to believe Dickau gets cut. Steph, Mardy, Craw and Nate all play the point (some not so well..maybe all not so well). I just don’t see where he fits making the roster.

  32. Peter H.

    I thought Chandler and Nichols were the most impressive. Chandler especially as he showed a nice all around game.

    Balkman should really work on his jumpshot. He can out-energy inferior athletes in the summer league but he’s going to need that jumper during the regular season or he won’t progress much as a player.

  33. Henry

    Don’t sleep on this Nichols, as a matter of fact don’t sleep on all 3 of the rookies (Chandler & Morris).

    Chandler and Nicholas looked pretty good together, it may have help that Balkman was on the court with them but those three putting presser and then out on a break was something nice to see. That could be our quick line up along with Lee & Collins if our starter get off to a slow start.

    I’d love to attend a practice. I wouldn’t be supprise if the second string give the starters a game.

    But Chandler & Nichols have more than just athletic skills they actually can dribble with thier heads up (which Ariza couldn’t) and shoot (which neither Balkman, Ariza and Lee can).

  34. Bernard King

    Nichols – made another nice dunk in transition. Airballed his first 3 point attempt. Hence the dangers of judging a player on a small amount of plays. Nichols looks like the type of player that earns his keep in the paint, not from downtown.

    Well Mike, as a die hard Syracuse fan, I have watched every game that Nichols played at Syracuse. He is a serious gunner so dont be quick to judge him based on one airball. He is a player though that needs to get his confidence going and thats where he struggled at times in college.

    He is fairly physical, a solid rebounder and can defend a bit (he hustles). the only knock on Nichols in my opinion is that he isnt an elite athlete and may struggle at times if he is forced to create his own offense. But he will be a very good catch-and-shoot guy on the right team. His rebounding and game smarts will also be a plus.

    If his post-up game evolves he will be even more valuable but he wasnt asked to do that very much at Syracuse (which btw, I was screaming for Boeheim to start running post up plays for him since nobody else could play in the post there).

    I wouldnt think of Nichols as much more than a solid rotation player but he has some upside. Really came on strong his senior year.

    Also, despite his lack of great athleticism, he really learned how to work off of picks and developed a nice one dribble move to his left to get off his shot (reminded me of Kiki Vandeweghe a bit).

    Syracuse was at its best when the offense flowed through Nichols.

    Just have patience with him, he is a very solid player that has room to grow. He just needs to get his confidence going. Once he sees that he can succeed on the NBA level he can turn into a fantastic off the bench shooter with some upside.

  35. Frank O.

    I really think the Knicks can find 40 minutes for Lee, especially if he plays both PF and SF.
    He will probably have more minutes than most. My only fear is whether he can take that pounding a full season.

  36. mase

    2 issues I would love to see fixed are the backcourt and the rotation. Since it sux thinking Jamal and Marbury will be tripping over eachother and getting beat on the perimeter simultaneously, something has to be done. perhaps start Q at the 2 and move Lee to start the 3 but thats not enough perimeter shooting, what to do?

    problem #2=chemistry, 8-man rotation is a good solution to help fix chemistry issues but that eliminates all the players we like to see play(whats the point in having them?);
    Chandler, Nichols will not see the light of day nor will 2nd yr players like collins, Morris.

  37. Henry

    Mase,

    You might be right about no daylight, but that would be ashame. Because these guys with Balkman and Lee will spark it up and the garden would love the energy.

    Besides I’m tried of the slow motion game we’re about to play with Eddie and Zach. Dump it down low everyone else stand around.

  38. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Post author

    BK – Just to clarify I wasn’t judging him on the one airball. I was just saying this is why I don’t judge people on a small sample. I really like bombers (Trent Tucker), so I’m looking forward to Nichols nailing a few from downtown.

    As for Chandler, I think although he may look sharp in summer, he could use a year of seasoning before we give him the starting job.

  39. Owen

    Off topic here, but Dave Berri has an extremely interesting post about the Knicks over at the Wages of Wins Journal. Its quite long but definitely worth a look. He definitely is apprehensive about what Randolph will mean for the Knicks if he takes minutes from DLee. Also, interesting stat, the Knicks were 21-22 when Lee played more than half the game, and 12-27 otherwise.

    http://dberri.wordpress.com/2007/07/10/rewarding-david-lee/

  40. Frank

    Watched a bunch of the game last night. No doubt Renaldo was the best player on the floor at least for that game. But I was a little distressed that he doesn’t look to be trying to expand his game at all. Did he take a single jumper? Wouldn’t that be what summer league is there for for a guy like RB? I know he’s trying to play in the flow but if the first in-game jumper he takes is during the regular season that wouldn’t be good.

    I think his ultimate role will be a Bruce Bowen-type guy that’s more active on the offensive/defensive boards — but what makes Bowen so much more valuable is that he sits in that corner and just kills you with 3s when you double Duncan or collapse on Parker. I think if Balkman can just learn a jumper we’re looking at an all-star in 2-3 years.

    Somehow I get the feeling our best lineup is going to look like this:

    PG: Stephon
    SG: Richardson
    SF: Balkman
    PF: Lee
    C: Randolph or Curry

    3 guys who can really fill it up, 2 guys that tip in all the misses. We’d have our 3 best perimeter defenders (maybe Mardy is better than Steph?) and 4 best rebounders at their positions (SG, SF, PF, and pseudo center Randolph) on the court at all times. And 3 guys in Stephon, Richardson, and whoever the center is that can go one-on-one if necessary up against the clock.

    8-9 man rotation would probably be best– so other than the six named above, my guess is we’d have Jamal as 1st guard off the bench, Jefferies as a defensive energy guy, and my guess is possibly Mardy as a steady backup defensive PG if that’s what’s needed vs. Nate if an offensive explosion is what’s needed. That’s already 10 players. Everyone else can go in my book– Chandler and Nichols should go to D-league, Morris will sit on end of bench, and everyone else should be bought out/traded.

    And by the way — for all the Isiah haters out there — look how much talent is on this team. Granted, it might be mismatched in some places. But– my guess is other than sucky Jerome James, just about every guy on this team would be welcomed as a valuable contributor on any other team, unlike the pre-Isiah Layden days of Shandon Anderson, Howard Eisley, Clarence Weatherspoon, Othella Harrington, Maurice Taylor — yes they were all there at the same time. At least our discussion is how to get all these guys minutes now, as opposed to the old discussion of how to keep Shandon Anderson off the court so he wouldn’t throw up any more 18 ft 3 point shots or play crappy defense for $7M/year.

  41. Bernard King

    Mike K, I hear you, but having had the opportunity to watch Nichols development the last 4 years, I figured I would add my 3 1/2 cents. Seemed to me that you havent seen him play all that often (perhaps for the first time last night).

    I will also add this — Syracuse fans (myself included) had very little expectations for him. He was the least heralded out of a very underachieving class of kids — Terrance Roberts, Watkins and Louie McCroskey all had way more pub coming in.

    The fact that Nichols became a star of sorts last season was a very very pleasant surprise. The point is, he isnt a “bandwagon” type player, but a player that really earned the respect of the Syracuse faithful and backed it up with great performance after great performance. He literally had no hype behind him at all.

    he hit some monster clutch shots last season (go back and see if you can find the Syracuse-Georgetown game at the Carrier dome where Nichols basically blew them off the court in the 2nd half). One of the great college BB performances of all last season.

    The flip side of this is that if he gets buried on the bench and doesnt get a lot of playing time, his confidence may suffer and you may not get to see the kind of player he can be. Summer league should be good for him.

  42. Bernard King

    I know this is a bit contrarian, but I will argue that Lee is best off as a 6th man type. I say this because he can be plugged in at any of the three positions upfront (the 3 or 5 situationally). He is not a player that really creates offense and seems to be able to adapt to whatever the offense is by doing what he does best – hustle and rebound and finish well in the lane and on the break.

    So I like having him on the bench to utilize in response to whatever the other team is doing. For example, if Randolph is hot and Curry is getting killed defensively, put in Lee. Randolph will get guarded by the better post defender and likely double teamed. Which is okay because Randolph will pass out of the post, draw coverage away and that frees up Lee to get easy shots on the baseline.

    Defensively, Lee can’t be worse than Curry at center and will certainly rebound better.

    Obviously he can spell Randolph too and will play well with Curry. When we need to go bigger, he can play the 3 spot too, especially when Randolph and Curry are both on the floor because we have plenty of offense then (and Q Rich can move to the 2 at times as well).

    I still see Lee getting 30 minutes nomatter what and his versatility is an advantage. He will be a lock for 6th man of the year if he stays healthy.

  43. knickhead

    bravo bravo those young boys are playing into our hearts. Balkman what had about 4or5 dunks showed great ball handling skills. Chandler look nba ready nice nifty move all game crashing the boards very hard and playing the passing lanes. last but not least Mr. Morris nice instincts around the hoop blocks , boards ,and post moves greatttttttttt

  44. jon abbey

    not sure what the point of making out proposed lineups without Crawford is. like him or not, he’s probably the odds on favorite to lead the team in minutes as of now.

    I think right now not only do we have too many bodies (17 for 15 spots, as has been noted a lot), but we have too many guys who should be getting minutes, which is a problem and why we really need to make a trade if possible. with this current roster, I’d go with something like this:

    Marbury-32
    Q-28
    Balkman-32
    Randolph-32
    Curry-32

    bench:

    Lee: 32
    Crawford: 32
    Collins: 10
    Chandler: 10
    Morris, Jones, Nate, JJ 1, JJ 2, Nichols: on the team, DNPs most games
    Dickau, Malik: gone

  45. jon abbey

    man, I almost never read that bozo Berri, but I decided to give the one Owen linked to above a shot. I stopped after he started his Francis analysis with this gem (entirely serious, by the way):

    “His time in New York was not entirely successful.”

    find a new idol, Owen.

  46. Ken "The Animal" Bannister

    Interesting WOW post. And I agree w/the fact that a loss of mpg for Lee would be criminal. Though I think he can still snag 35+ mpg next year (13 PF, 13 C [Lee can defend ALL of the backup C's in the league] and 10 SF)

    But he’s still laboring under the delusion that Francis was effective. Anyone who watched more than one game could clearly see that he was a blight. And if WOW can’t suss that out, well, then, there’s more analytical research to be done before WOW becomes the unified field theory of B-Ball stats…

  47. KnickerBlogger

    BK – great points. And yes last night was the first time I watched Nichols, at least with the intent to do so. Thanks for the fantastic breakdown on him. I’m hoping he doesn’t turn into our Matt Carroll (and be successful elsewhere). So far I like the guy. It was nice to see a guy touted as a shooter take it to the rack twice.

  48. DMull

    I found the Berri article to be very interesting. The point that while Randolph is an upgrade from Frye, but could still hurt the team if he takes away minutes from Lee is both insightful and imo makes a lot of sense.

    However, I wish Berri would have addressed it a little further…he seemed to assume that Lee’s minutes would be cut but didn’t account for two facts: a) the possibility of Isiah playing Randolph and Curry less minutes per game than last year (which would give Lee more minutes presumably) and b) the fact that Lee has experience playing Small Forward and could potentially see increased playing time there this year.

    The second point especially interests me, because I would like to see if he has any insight on Lee’s value at SF (especially assuming a frontcourt of Lee, Randolph and Curry at one time)…he talks about positional adjustments and it would seem that if Lee could continue his production at the SF position that Berri would value him even higher(because I think C and PF post the highest win score averages)?

    Interesting nonetheless…but a little incomplete, which he admits.

  49. Owen

    Ken – It’s hard to look at Francis without seeing the max contract and churlish behaviour, and without comparing him to the player he was in college and at the start of his career. Still, I think the numbers have something to offer here. If you don’t think Francis was effective, you have to at least say that Crawford was even less so. Francis’ TS% was a full five points higher (!) and he was better than him in other areas as well, most notably, rebounds, but also, steals, blocks, and assists. Crawford only had a slight edge in TO.s, a large lead in PF, and and 3 points more scored per 40. Francis’ on/off court was also much better.

    But anyway, Francis is gone.

    I definitely agree (as does Berri) that the WOW isn’t the final word in basketball stats. But say what you will about Berri, his prescription, similar to Frank’s, seems to make some sense. Play Steph, Lee, Balkman, Q, and Randolph as much as possible.

    Dmull – Vis a vis Lee at the small forward, you are correct. He would be even more valuable if he offered the same production as a small forward. But can he do it? That’s the million dollar question, since clearly that is where things are headed. I don’t think so. If he really is playing as a true small forward, away from the basket, with a bigger ball handling role, it would almost certainly cause his rebounds to drop a lot and his turnovers to rise. I mean if you have Curry on one block and Randolph on the other, where the hell does he go anyway.

    I don’t really have any idea, it’s going to be interesting to see how it shakes out. I am sure Isaiah has it all figured out already…

  50. Ben

    I 100% agree that Balkman should be our starting SF next year.

    We definatly need to move Jeffries. Not because he is not good, I actually think he is a pretty good player and had a down year for us, but because with Q healthy, Balkman’s development, spot minutes for Lee at the three and great insurance in Chandler, Nichols and even Jones we have no room for him and he is too talented and highly paid to simply rot on the bench.

    I would try to trade him back to Washington, they wanted to keep him last year. I would do a Jeffries for either Thomas or Haywood. Their contracts are equally bad and Washington needs to move one of them because they got into fistfights twice last year. Also getting one of them would allow us to buy out James and still retain some size at the end of the bench, plus we might even be able to move them for an expiring at the deadline. I would not play them much but it would give us good depth for injuries and foul trouble.

    On top of that I would try to trade Dickau to the Bobcats for a 2nd rounder, seems like a great fit for Charlotte. They have no back up PG and need all the shooters they can get.

    That would give us 14 on the roster and allow us to either sign Greene for the end of the bench or have an open spot for midseason flexability.

  51. jon abbey

    “The point that while Randolph is an upgrade from Frye, but could still hurt the team if he takes away minutes from Lee is both insightful and imo makes a lot of sense.”

    you needed to read an article to know this? how could any Knick fan not think this the second they heard that trade? “insightful”? huh.

    the other major way it should help (besides the obvious upgrade from Frye) is it will take some pressure off Curry to be the sole interior threat, allowing him to at least try to play harder on D because getting into foul trouble isn’t as big of an issue with Randolph around also. of course, Berri’s superficial (I believe the word you were looking for instead of “insightful”) analysis doesn’t address that.

    I’ve always had an irrational love of Brendan Haywood, I’d love to see a swap of him and Jeffries.

  52. DMull

    Right Jon, no one would have possibly thought, wow, Frye (who was awful last year) is gone and we get the very productive Randolph in his place – great trade.

    Trust me, I realized and have expressed my fear that Lee’s minutes might be cut by the trade (which if you read my comment you’d also see how I’m somewhat skeptical of Berri’s conclusion)…but to act as if no one thought of the trade as “Randolph for Frye, great trade!” is false. It’s interesting that you could possibly upgrade the overall talent on the roster and still end up with less productivity. I think that’s a pretty insightful conclusion, but maybe I’m just an idiot.

    and btw your comment…

    “man, I almost never read that bozo Berri, but I decided to give the one Owen linked to above a shot. I stopped after he started his Francis analysis with this gem (entirely serious, by the way):

    ?His time in New York was not entirely successful.?

    find a new idol, Owen.”

    is pretty weak. I really don’t see how that’s reason to disregard the article. Yeah, it’s probably a bit of an understatement, but it has almost nothing to do with the overall message of his post. If you’re that closed-minded that you can get past a very mild statement such as “His time in New York was not entirely successful” than I don’t know what to tell you.

    And no, I wasn’t looking for the word “superficial” but thanks. In fact, I’d say the Berri post was the antithesis of superficial…perhaps even too far to the opposite end of the spectrum whereas it ignores the obvious talent upgrade and claims that we might actually be worse off despite getting the more talented player.

    Like I said, I think the post needs a lot more to really solidify it (as I said, Berri even said as much), but I personally found it interesting and insightful (even if I remain unconvinced of its conclusion).

  53. z-man

    All you guys are Way over the top with Lee and Balkman. I love Lee’s strengths (athleticism, smarts, nose for the ball) and work ethic; I love Balkman’s energy, defense and intangibles. They are fun to root for, as is Nate. At this stage, though, they are more trade bait for complete players than building blocks for a championship team.

    I hate Isiah all the way back to the Bulls walk-off, but agree with Frank that he has given us both fun, workmanlike young guys to root for and real trade bait (e.g Channing Frye) Good GMs know when guys have reached peak value and unload them on lousy GMs. Isiah missed the boat with Frye for Lamar Odom, but rec overed somewhat with Zach. He needs to do the same with Lee, Nate, Renaldo, etc. I guess the hardest part is predicting which one of these guys has the most upside. My guess is that Balkman and Lee will never be solid offensive players and are similar enough to make one of them expendable. PLEASE don’t compare either of them talent-wise (O included!) to Artest. Artest can carry a team on either or both ends on any given night. If you don’t want him because he’s a head case, then don’t take him for anyone; but to say we want him but not for Lee is crazy.

    I have a problem with Eddy having Shaq’s game in a 6-10 can’t jump body. Because he up to now can’t hit an open 15 footer, long defenders lay off of him and either block his shots or draw charges or foul due to FT woes. I saw signs of a shot developing in the last few games last year, culminating in that ridiculous 3-pointer. Until he can square up, having Lee and Balkman on the floor with him is not a formula for offensive success. Really, guys, this is why we are even looking seriously at chandler and nichols, isn’t it?

    I wouldn’t get too hyped up about Mardy until the Knicks are in a real playoff push. Fred Jones is probably better right now than he will ever be. We are so used to looking at lousy passing that Mardy looks good in comparison, especially in the garbage time that was the end of the season. My gut feeling on him is that he’s a dime a dozen and may have his peak trade value now.

    I have always enjoyed rooting for overachieving workmanlike so I will enjoy this team even without any more moves. But if you want a serious contender any time soon, some of these fan faves gotta go for some studs before they lose their value.

  54. Owen

    z-man – Balkman, for the money, is certainly better than artest. He costs us almost nothing, and doesn’t have a personality disorder. And various bits of evidence, from his league leading eFG differential, to his performance last night against Durant, suggests he may be headed towards being the same kind of defensive impact player

    Lee was the second most efficient offensive player in the league last year after Steve Nash, with a TS% of 65%. And he was the leading rebounder in the league (rebound rate anyway) with Tyson Chandler. And he is an excellent passer who committed half as many turnovers per 40 as Eddy Curry. His impact on the defensive numbers was positive. And he costs about a million per year.

    Why we would want to let either of these players go for Artest?

    You may be right about Lee and Balkman. But I hope you are not, because if you are I don’t know why I will be watching the Knicks next year…

  55. jon abbey

    “It?s interesting that you could possibly upgrade the overall talent on the roster and still end up with less productivity. ”

    this is the story of Isiah’s tenure here, dude. virtually every move he’s made has upgraded the overall talent level, it has yet to translate to actual wins. with all due respect, if you need a guy who clearly doesn’t follow the team very carefully to tell you that, maybe you should be paying closer attention yourself.

    “I?d say the Berri post was the antithesis of superficial?perhaps even too far to the opposite end of the spectrum whereas it ignores the obvious talent upgrade and claims that we might actually be worse off despite getting the more talented player.”

    how many people have written that just on this site in the few weeks since then?

  56. Adam F

    Wow, i was literally waiting to make that exact point z-man (in the eventual Lee report card). Sometimes i think the statistical analysis on this site – which don’t get me wrong fascinates me – can gets in the way of what you can see with two eyes. Lee is a nice player, and is the type of player that every very good team should want/need. But Artest is the type of player that makes you that very good team. He can guard anybody, and while he’s not the most efficient offensive player, hed instantly be the best perimeter force on the knicks – both offensively and defensively.

    I know he has issues, and I LOVE Dlee and everything he brings to the table. But whats his upside? A 12-10 guy with mediocre defense and nice energy? And you don’t want to trade him for artest?. Imagine a lineup of Steph, Q, Artest, Randolph, and Curry. With Crawford coming off the bench for instant O, and balkman for instant energy. That team is the best team in the east, hands down.

  57. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Post author

    While I like Berri’s work, and I think it may be possible that he’s hit upon some intriguing ideas, I just can’t buy the absolutism in his approach. For instance look at what he says about Francis:

    “In fact, Francis has typically been more productive than Marbury, Crawford, or Robinson.”

    “Not only have they lost one of the best backcourt performers in Steve Francis…”

    Is it really a fact that Francis is the most productive Knick guard? Let’s throw out Jamal & Collins for this one. Granted Francis does rebound well (although Nate is comparable) and has the highest TS%. But Nate & Marbury beat him in eFG & Francis turns over the ball much more often than either. I understand that Berri’s approach doesn’t value scoring quantity, but Marbury & Robinson beat Francis in that area as well. According to 82games, Francis was also behind Marbury & Robinson in +/- as well. Considering they all play the same position for the same team, that does mean something.

    Granted it’s possible that Francis was the most productive, but certainly there are reasonable arguments for the contrary.

    Maybe it’s not so much with his ideas, as his writing. If he had said “By my calculations Francis has been as or more productive than Marbury, Crawford, or Robinson” then the article would be so much more enjoyable. But by writing in such absolute terms, the reader is forced to either side with or against Berri. If I reject that Francis is the most productive Knick (and I do), then do I have to reject the rest of the article, since they have the same basis in numbers? I don’t, since I agree with just about everything else he says. Ultimately I’m dissatisfied in the end.

    So my problem isn’t so much with the WOW numbers or stats, but rather the meaning behind them. I see them as another tool to evaluate players, but not an absolute measurement.

  58. jon abbey

    “But whats his upside? A 12-10 guy with mediocre defense and nice energy?”

    huh? he averaged 13.6 ppg and 9 boards last year, in 28 minutes per, and he still hasn’t even played a full season. I’d answer this by saying that his upside is potentially 20 ppg and 14 or 15 boards in 35 minutes, above average D, superb passing for a big man, and far and away the highest basketball IQ of anyone on the Knicks, a borderline All-Star year in and year out, the guy we saw at the All-Star break last year.

    I don’t think he needs those raw numbers to be a huge part of a title-contending team, though. I don’t think he’s untradeable (as I said last year, Chris Paul or Deron Williams would get it done in a shot for me, maybe even Raymond Felton), but not for Artest.

  59. Adam F

    “he averaged 13.6 ppg and 9 boards last year”

    according to basketball-reference.com he averaged 10.7 and 10.4, but thats not the point.

    i can’t really make a great argument because i have no stats to back this up, so take this as you will. In watching him play, i see some similarites to Oakley, in that they are both fan favorites that always give 100%, great rebounders, and great team players, that are crucial to championship contenders.

    you and i both know that we’re not at that level yet where we need that piece. Acquiring artest brings us closer to that level, and then balkman can (hopefully) replace some of what we lost with lee.

    also, for me the character is not much of an issue, isiah has a way to relate to these players (maybe because he’s a bit of a character himself) and manages to calm them a little bit. part of that, i imagine, is because these guys grew up loving isiah, and therefore respect him too much to have these huge character lapses.

  60. Brian Cronin

    I am on the fence, but ultimately would be okay with trading Lee for Jermaine O’Neal.

    Likewise, if the Knicks could get someone of the same caliber as Jermaine O’Neal (like the aforementioned Williams and Paul), then sure.

    But trading him for Artest is absurd, ESPECIALLY considering that Balkman basically is the same type of player as Artest (just not as good). If you want to trade Balkman for Artest, I’d still disagree, but at least you’d be in the ballpark.

    The Kings would be doing cartwheels if the Knicks were ever dumb enough to give them Lee for Artest.

    Pre-melee Artest? Sure, I’d trade for THAT player.

    Not this one.

    Not for a guy who averaged, in his SECOND YEAR, 10.7 points and 10.4 rebounds in LESS THAN 30 MINUTES A GAME.

  61. Brian Cronin

    By the way, ANOTHER thing that irks me about the theory that we are overrating Lee and Balkman based on their statistics, with the terrificly condescending “gets in the way of what you can see with two eyes” stuff – is that people “watching the game with two eyes” LOVE David Lee and Renaldo Balkman!!

    They’re probably the two most popular Knicks right now (well, Lee is clearly #1 – there is a tough fight for #2 between Marbury, Curry, Balkman and Nate), so people “watching the game with two eyes” are AGREEING with the statistics.

  62. Jonah

    Lee is definately a nice player, but to say that you wouldn’t trade him for Artest seems a little ridiculous, if the Knicks got Artest they’d have a shutdown defender, and a pretty nice scorer at the position the knicks are thinnest at, while trading from arguably the position they have the most surplus at.

    If Lee was black, do you think Knicks fans would be as crazy for him?

  63. thepalerider

    “If Lee was black, do you think Knicks fans would be as crazy for him?”

    Yes Knick fans root for players with passion. We rooted for Oakley and Starks more than anything. Lee’s race has nothing to do with why he’s the fan favorite.

    Also what has Artest done since the brawl? He has issues every where he goes. Why would we trade a 2nd year player avging a double double for a declining nutjob who would rather produce music then play ball?

  64. Michael Zannettis

    While the race card is an interesting theory, when we consider the evidence it doesn’t seem to carry much weight. The most popular athletes in New York today, Derek Jeter and Jose Reyes, are half-black and hispanic, respectively.

    John Starks, Latrell Sprewell, and Charles Oakley were all popular in their days. Michael Strahan and Tiki Barber, before the divorce scandal and retirement, were the toast of the town.

    Curtis Martin did OK for himself. And, of course, we LOVE Renaldo Blackman who is black and has dreadlocks. Nate and Frye were fan favorites in their rookie seasons. Remember when Marcus Camby was the man?

    New Yorkers simply like good performers who play hard. Regardless of their skin color.

  65. jon abbey

    “If Lee was black, do you think Knicks fans would be as crazy for him?”

    I was going to bring this up before. I can only really speak for myself: I pretty intensely hate the game of almost every American Caucasian in the league, now and since I’ve been following it. Lee transcends that too.

  66. Ben

    There are alot of problems with getting Artest for this team:

    First – He has some mental issues that could potentially derail and seriously injure this young team.

    Second – He has a tendancy to freelance on offense much like Crawford and he wants to be a focal part of the offense which would not happen in New York. I think he actually would not be much better(maybe even worse) than Balkman or Jeffries on offense and definatly worse than Q because even though he can hit a jumper his insistance on being the focus would take shots away from Zach and Eddy two much more efficient players.

    Third – I heard rumblings that his knees were starting to give him problems.

    Fourth – I think his defense has lost a step or two. I do not know if it is age or effort but he did not help Sacramento’s defense much last year. In fact, they were a bad defensive team with him on the court and weren’t much worse (only 1.5 pts per 100 pos) when he was off the court. If he was truly a dominant defender his presence would have made more of an impact than it did especially on a poor defensive team.

    Fifth – If we really want him he has said he would come here next year for the mle, and we would not have to spend any of our young assets to get him. Most of our team is young and will only be better next year anyway.

    Sixth – We have a potentially dominant defender already in Balkman. Unlike Artest in Sacramento the Knicks were substantually better 9.2 pts per 100 pos when Balkman was on the court, and the Knicks with Balkman on the court were a much better defensive team than Sacramento with Artest, even though Sacramento was overall a better defensive team.

    All these things together not only make me question whether we should trade Lee or Balkman for Artest it makes me question whether we should get him at all, even for free.

  67. Z

    “I have always enjoyed rooting for overachieving workmanlike so I will enjoy this team even without any more moves. But if you want a serious contender any time soon, some of these fan faves gotta go for some studs before they lose their value.”

    For the record, and even though I agree with a lot of what he said, z-man is not me. He raises an interesting point here, though:

    How many people out there think that the Knicks are one player away from being able to beat the Spurs, Suns, or Mavs in a 7 game series? If the answer is one, and his name is Artest, then you have to trade Lee or Balkman or both.

    If, however, adding a new player (who’s actually available) would only make this team get to the playoffs, then it is very myopic to trade Lee or Balkman, or any of the other young guys unless the goods recieved have a nice long shelf life.

    Artest is certainly better than Balkman. Randolph is better than Frye. But just because the team improves for next year, doesn’t really mean the trades are good ones.

    Just because Knick brass doesn’t have a long term plan doesn’t mean the fans can’t dream of one.

  68. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Post author

    “PLEASE don?t compare either of them talent-wise (O included!) to Artest. Artest can carry a team on either or both ends on any given night. If you don?t want him because he?s a head case, then don?t take him for anyone; but to say we want him but not for Lee is crazy.”

    If we trade our young players with potential before they realize it for overrated veterans, then we might as well resign our fate to the 80s Yankees. McGriff, Buhner, McGee, Tewksbury, Drabek, Leiter. We traded away half an All Star team. Why would we want to trade two of our best young players for a guy that’s about to join his 4th team before he hits 30, with one year left on his contract, that had issues with our coach/GM in the past?

    If that’s not enough, Artest wanted to take a year off to promote a crappy album and that’s not even the craziest thing he’s ever done. Sure he can carry a team now and then, but with Bibby, Miller, Shareef, and a rising Kevin Martin, the Kings only won 33 games last year. If the Knicks can get him for spare parts, I’d take him. But with Artest, the risk way outweighs the reward for New York to give up anything substantial for him.

  69. Seth

    And, too add to what KB said, we don’t need Artest to “carry” anything. The last thing we need is another player who dominates the ball.

  70. Frank

    Re: Ben’s comments about Artest above:

    “Fourth – I think his defense has lost a step or two. I do not know if it is age or effort but he did not help Sacramento?s defense much last year. In fact, they were a bad defensive team with him on the court and weren?t much worse (only 1.5 pts per 100 pos) when he was off the court. If he was truly a dominant defender his presence would have made more of an impact than it did especially on a poor defensive team.”

    I am relatively new to this board and I think it’s great — but what I do have a problem with (and which happens a fair amount as far as I have seen) is statements like this where you use a stat that is confounded by so many things (such as game tempo, other players on the court, etc.) to “clinch” a point that you’re trying to make. Artest is a dominant defender and to say he’s not because the team allowed just 1.5 points per 100 poss less is just ridiculous.

    Let’s take a look at the NBA all-defense team last year (figures in differential of opponents pts allowed per 100 possessions when the player in question is on the court… stats courtesy of 82games.com)

    Duncan: fantastic at -6.5
    Bowen: ridiculous at -9.6
    Kobe: -0.7
    Raja Bell: -3.6
    Marcus Camby ie. Defensive POY: +2.1

    Second team all-defense:

    Ben Wallace: +2.4
    Kirk Hinrich: +1.9
    Jason Kidd: +0.9
    Tayshaun Prince: +2.4
    Garnett: -5.7

    So let’s see — out of the 10 best defensive players in the game last year, fully 50% had their teams give up MORE points when they were on the court than when they were off. Can this possibly be a useful stat when discussing how good a defender someone is? Granted, Duncan’s and Bowen’s #s are ridiculous but perhaps that is the result of being on the floor at the same time much of the time. As has been noted many times on this board when talking about the Knicks perimeter D, it’s much easier to be a good defender when you have good defenders around/behind you. In fact, on SA’s best 5-man units, the top 12 all have TD and BB on the court. And not a single one of the top 20 have Bowen on the court without TD. And the 1st one that has Duncan and not Bowen is #17.

    So in summary I’d say that Artest is still a great defender but it sure was easier to see that when Jermaine O’Neal was behind him as opposed to Shareef and Brad Miller. Unfortunately the Knicks would have Curry and Randolph behind him… but that doesn’t mean it’d be a bad thing to have Artest on the team.

    And Jonah and Adam F. — good to hear a little bit of realism in the David Lee love-fest. I’m with you guys — a great complementary player for a team that’s 1 piece away. We are not 1 piece away.

  71. Frank

    actually re: my post above — please ignore my point about SA’s best 5 man units — I just realized I’m not sure how to interpret those stats.

  72. Caleb

    +/- is a good tool, but shouldn’t be a conversation-stopper. As Frank points out, the numbers have a lot to do with on-court combinations (e.g. if you’re next to Tim Duncan, your # will be good). Also, a player with a good backup (e.g. Jermaine O’Neal, backed up by Jeff Foster) will not have as impressive a +/- rating as a player whose backup is terrible.

    That said, I don’t put too much stock in the the all-defense voting. It seems to favor players who are already famous, and seems to lag behind the actual performance on the court.

    re: Artest – don’t underestimate the impact of the hand-checking rules that went into effect two years ago. Under the old rules, he could be a lot more physical on the perimeter; in general the new rules provide an advantage to quickness, rather than brute strength.

    That said, he’s still a good defender. His main on-court problem is that he came to see himself as a great offensive player. Now he’s a ball hog. Besides all that, I’m not breaking any news when I say he’s unbalanced and probably has a 50-50 chance of making it through a given season without a total breakdown. For that reason alone, he’s not worth a major asset in a trade.

    re: David Lee, he’s not a “complementary” player, and his value isn’t based on “potential.” Owen has already listed the stats – the bottom line is that the Knicks were a .500 team with DL, and without him (early season when he wasn’t playing big minutes, and late season when he was injured) – were on pace to win about 25 games.

  73. Ted Nelson

    “That team is the best team in the east, hands down.”

    Marbury, Q, Artest, Randolph, and Curry? When was the last time any of those guys weer in the playoffs? Q and Artest 3 years ago?

    In what way do these guys complement each other?

    “also, for me the character is not much of an issue”
    Artest’s character has ruined the last two teams he’s been on. The Knicks are already ruined and, yes, there is a probability that Artest behaves himself and plays at an All-NBA level (something he did for all of about 1 season, 4 seasons ago). But, as KB points out, how much is that possibility worth? Do you give up a very promising, and already productive young player to take that chance?

    Frank:
    The all-defense teams are not the end all and be all of who is a great defender. Neither is defensive plus-minus: as you allude to it’s contingent on some things.
    Maybe it is the all-defense teams that are flawed and not the stat that tells you how much better a team is defensively when a player is on the court. That stat needs to be interpreted, but at least it’s a fact.
    Just because Artest has a reputation as a great defender and has been a great defender in the past doesn’t mean he was one last year. Just like a bunch of people voting for Camby as the league’s top defender doesn’t make it true.

    On David Lee:

    Saying that David Lee is Tim Duncan would obviously be wrong. While some people may come across as if they’re saying that, I don’t think it’s what they mean.
    However, saying that David Lee is a hustling role player is about as false as saying he’s Tim Duncan. He’s already extremely productive on offense and the boards.
    A guy with all the talent in the world to create his own shot and hit jumpers is of no value unless he uses his skills efficiently in the flow of the offense.

  74. Ted Nelson

    Frank:

    Also, there is a stat called adjusted +/- which takes into account the other players on the court.

  75. DMull

    KB –

    I agree with that. It is annoying when Berri doesn’t allow that sometimes the numbers don’t tell the whole story (especially just his numbers).

    Jon –

    Yeah, you’re correct.

  76. Ted Nelson

    “Francis has produced 71.7 wins in his eight year career with a 0.161 WP48. Virtually every season he has been above average. In fact, Francis has typically been more productive than Marbury, Crawford, or Robinson.”

    I don’t really have an opinion on Berri either way, and I do see how his writing focuses exclusively on WOW. However, if you read these three sentences together it seems he was referring to Francis on his career, not as a Knick.

    Also, I think Portland aquired Francis with the idea of cutting him. Effectively shaving two years off Randolph’s deal while replacing him with a guy who’s comparable in some ways in Channing Frye.

  77. Owen

    lol, (with a note about Lee)

    Ted – He was referring to Francis’ career overall. Let’s put this Francis thing to rest. Francis in 2005-6 played a lot of minutes in Orlando and New York and was a .97, or a hair below average. Marbury was a .92, or a hair worse than Francis. Crawford was .109, by far his best showing as a pro, and therefore above average and better than Francis that year.

    This year, the performance of Marbury and Crawford fell off. Marbury (whose career average is roughly .120 I think) dropped to .063, while Crawford plummeted to .033. Francis, in limited minutes, was a .136, above average but below his career average of .161.

    Those are the numbers. They don’t say to me that Francis is god’s gift to basketball. I dont think Berri think’s that either. But I don’t think it should be too controversial to say that
    A. Francis has been better in his career than Marbury and Crawford.
    B. He was at least as good as them, and probably better, as a Knick.

    But for those of you who are happy to see him go, I can’t quibble. The odds of him returning to the form he showed in Houston seem very low, so our upside risk is capped. And he was a cancer.

    But it would be nice if Crawford could play like he did for Larry Brown again now that Francis is gone.

  78. Owen

    I think the heat is getting to my brain. I stand by A and B, but the numbers I posted are wrong.

    05-06
    Crawford was a .109
    Marbury was a .092
    Francis was a .069 (in 659 minutes as a Knick)

    06-07
    Crawford was a .019
    Marbury was a .070
    Francis was a .136

    Anyway…

  79. jon abbey

    “Also, I think Portland aquired Francis with the idea of cutting him. Effectively shaving two years off Randolph?s deal while replacing him with a guy who?s comparable in some ways in Channing Frye.”

    well, sure, but if he wasn’t close to worthless at this point, they would have tried to let him make the team at least, since they have to pay him anyway.

    Owen, sometimes the numbers lie.

  80. jon abbey

    here’s a more accurate Francis comment, with zero numbers to back it up, from Bill Simmons’ chat today:

    J.R. (Falls Church, VA): Is Steve Francis really the point guard the clippers need? They don’t really need his scoring and he brings too many other flaws that can potentially hurt the team more than help it. Besides, they could resign Hart or pick up Brevin Knight for considerably less moeny and Cassell will be healthy next year.

    SportsNation Bill Simmons: (12:46 PM ET ) I don’t think Steve Francis works in any sentence that involves the words “Is Steve Francis really the point guard (fill in the team) needs?” Put a fork in him.

  81. Adam F

    ?That team is the best team in the east, hands down.?

    I got a little carried away there, sorry.

    Some interesting points about how Artest may have declined a bit, i didn’t even think about the effect of the new rules on him.

    Brian Cronin – I think when you talk about how even people watching the game love him, that love needs to be qualified. I love him as a hustle, energy player, thats a great rebounder and is really fun to root for. He’s definately a fan favorite. BUT, the fact that I love him doesn’t mean that we don’t overrate him BECAUSE he is such a fan favorite. He remains a complimentary piece – he’s a guy that we love because he’s an overachiever, not because hes very talented, or could ever really lead a team. Thats not to say that sometimes hard work isn’t better than talent, its just that we’re treating Lee like he’s a franchise player. That, he is not.

    And all the stuff about how we are a .500 team with him and then much worse without him – his injury coincided with crawfords, and a couple of other injuries if my memory serves me right. I know crawford isn’t an efficient player AT ALL, but he has a nice bond with Curry, and his absence was definately part of the reason we struggled down the stretch.

    Let me just end this by saying: I LOVE DAVID LEE. But an old saying goes that good gms never fall in love with their assets. So as knick fans don’t let your love for David Lee blind you to his limitations.

  82. Z

    You can’t overrate a fan favorite. The game is played for the fans. They love players for a reason. The overrated players are the guys that fans don’t love that are made “untouchable” anyway.

  83. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Post author

    Owen,

    If Berri said B the way you just did, I wouldn’t have an issue with it. But even with A, the Knicks didn’t not receive the “career” of Francis, just this less productive version. So I don’t see the relevance in the confines of that article. If the Knicks signed Vin Baker (again) or Shawn Kemp I have the feeling Berri wouldn’t mention who they were typically more productive than.

    Again from my perspective it’s bad writing at the least. Something I’m guilty of frequently. But if Berri continuously errs on the side of stating things absolutely or stating weak facts that seem to enhance his opinion…

  84. Owen

    Berri’s style could use some work…

    They posted something about David Lee on True Hoop. Made me chuckle. Apparently he has some off court talents as well.

    “David Lee is here in Las Vegas, by the way, accompanied by a young woman who for a time yesterday was noticeably keeping some scouts and GMs from focusing on the game.”

  85. Brian Cronin

    Adam, my point about how Lee is such a fan favorite was simply to point out that Lee is judged very favorably by the fans who see him, who usually don’t follow stats at all (note how Nate Robinson is a fan favorite, too).

    He’s judged very favorably by the scouts who see him.

    He’s judged very favorably by the announcers.

    He’s judged very favorably by his statistics.

    You get enough of these things together, and it really just is time to say, “Yeah, David Lee is just a really good player.”

    Certainly doesn’t mean he’s untouchable – but I think there is some significant hesitation among many people to allow that Lee is a really good player, and I don’t get it.

    The stats say he is. You look at the guy play, he looks like a great player. Pretty much every other team wants to trade for him. The announcers talk about how much they dig the guy. He goes to the Rookie/Sophomore Game and the Sophomores choose, out of everybody, to make him the focal point of their offense.

    He’s just a really good player. And the way the Knicks handle him is going to be a scary thing this season.

  86. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Post author

    I’d take anything Bill Simmons says, especially about anyone that wore a Knick uniform, with a huge grain of salt.

    An example of Simmons analysis:
    “Three months from now, Knicks fans will be dealing with the fact that taking Renaldo Balkman at No. 20 over Rajon Rondo, as crazy as this sounds, was the single biggest mistake of Isiah?s entire tenure, the one misfire that will end up haunting that franchise for the next decade. And that?s saying something. But Balkman/Rondo will trump everything else Isiah inflicted. Just you wait. That?s all I?m saying for now.”

    Yup hit the nail squarely on that one. For all the slack you give Hollinger…

  87. jon abbey

    yeah, that was terrible, but he admitted he was wrong a few months later, unlike Greg Anthony, who was so over the top about the Balkman pick it was absurd, and who as far as I know, has yet to apologize for his stupidity. someone should dig up those quotes.

    in general, as a diehard Yankee/Knick/Jets fan, I find Simmons to be pretty fair in terms of bias. that post was just him falling in love with Rondo, he’s made fun of himself for it multiple times since.

  88. KD

    Simmons has been doing it for a while. People inside the C’s send him stuff to relay — “wait until you see this guy, I can’t believe he fell this far, this guy is going to be great …” — and Simmons runs with it. He did the same thing with Delonte West in 2004. Can’t blame the guy, he’s a Celtics fan and has never claimed to be an objective scribe, but you can see the pattern.

  89. Owen

    I like Bill Simmons. Wild hyperbole is part of his job. To cut him some slack, it’s not like Rajon Rondo is a terrible player. He probably was one of the top five rookies last year, and Celtics fans are probably just as happy to have him as we are to have Balkman.

    Neither Isaiah nor Knicks fans should regret passing on Rondo. But I think there are a lot of teams that would rather have Rondo or Balkman than what they got in the first round.

  90. Brian Cronin

    While I thought Isiah went over board ripping Greg Anthony, boy was Greg Anthony a tool regarding Balkman.

  91. z-man

    I’m disapointed that no one responded to my comments about Eddy Curry. To those who responded about DLee and RBalk, let me say the following.

    Basketball games are so often decided in the last two minutes. How many games are won or lost because role players that are left open make a big 15-18 footer when left open in crunch time? Think about the following role-player types: Charles Oakley, Horace Grant, Robert Horry, John Salley, etc., etc… How do you feel when in the last two minutes David’s or Renaldo’s man drops off to double-team Eddy in the post or Stephan on the drive and leaves them open for a jumper? Will you ever feel confident with them taking that shot? It’s all about making shots in crunch time first…Rodman, a notorious non-shooter, was only as effective as he was because of the dependability of all four players around him to hit that big shot on any of the championship teams he was on. Same with Ben Wallace. That’s why I was really hot on Rashard Lewis.

    I agree that I’d rather root for David Lee and Balkman than Artest any time, but that’s only because I am not consumed with “yankee-itis” i.e. pedigree is more important than likeability. To be honest, I would even have trouble rooting for Kobe in a knick uniform due to his ego/character issues. My main point is that Lee and Balkman at this point are the best trade-bait we have, if not for Artest than for guys that can defend AND shoot (KG, anyone?).

  92. Z

    This may stretch your memory z-man, and I should give an example from less than 16 months ago, but his rookie year Lee did hit an 18 footer to win the game in the exact scenario you outline.

    But ancient history aside, Lee did win games in crunch time by tipping in drives by Stephon and others that were missed. I feel very confident with him on the court crashing from the weak side with the game on the line.

    Also, I really do think Lee will develop a dependable 15-18 footer.

    Not to beat a dead horse here– I know you realize Lee is a good player, but you have not convinced me we should trade either he or Balkman for Artest. For Garnet, I would trade either or both of them. Kobe too. They are more than just good players who can help win a few more games next year. They are compelling athletes that make any team infinitely for attractive to the basketball marketplace in any city.

    ps– from what I know of him, Randolph, who will likely be on the court at crunch time has a very good 15-18 footer, leaving Lee free to get under the basket. Am I wrong?

  93. z-man

    Z- I do not recall the scenario you allude to, but i will go so far as to agree to this: Lee is a gym rat who is dedicated to developing his game e.g. free throw shooting much improved in year 2. I am not a big believer in clutch shooting being a quick fix, however. I reiterate that I LOVE watching Lee. Can you imagine the asset he would be for established teams like Spurs or Pistons or Mavs or Suns? But the truth is, a year after we drafted Lee late, we drafted Renaldo late. This tels me that these types are always available in late round 1 or round 2 for the discerning eye (Isiah deserves credit here.) He’s not Tony Parker though, (a truly untouchable rd 2 pick) so if we trade him, we can get another one of these type of player next year. Right now, other teams with weak-minded GMs are drooling over Lee and Balkman. As much as I love watching their brand of all-out hustle basketball, I am not confident that their trade value will ever exceed what it is right now.

    Notice how our fellow bloggers are already drooling over Nichols and Chandler. If Lee and Balkman were the real deal, would this be the case?

  94. Brian Cronin

    Being impressed with Nichols and Chandler has nothing to do with good Balkman or Lee are, it just has to do with the fact that Isaiah seems really good at drafting talented players.

    The man is practically a magician with the draft.

    Who’s been his biggest bust as a draft pick so far? I’m sure he’s had one – I just can’t think of one offhand.

    And Z-Man, the instance Z (Gotta love the internet – getting to read a debate between Z-Man and Z :)) is referring to was last year, during the Knick’s awesome winning streak after the New Year, David Lee hit an outside shot with about 40 seconds left and the game tied against the Sonics.

    It was an ugly looking shot, but very satisfying.

  95. Z

    Good memory Brian– it was the Sonics (I went back to make sure my mind hadn’t made this one up):

    From the AP, January 2006:

    “Stephon Marbury had 23 points and a season-high 15 assists, the final one setting up rookie David Lee for the tiebreaking basket with 21 seconds left, and the Knicks beat the Seattle SuperSonics 120-116 Sunday for their season-high third straight win.

    With the game tied at 113 after Ray Allen’s miss, the Knicks ran the shot clock down before Marbury found Lee in the corner for a jumper.

    ‘My man really has to make a decision whether to give Stephon a layup, because Stephon’s going to usually 80 percent of the time get by his man, or step up and give me that jump shot,’ Lee said.”

    Not a great rebuttal to z-man’s claims, but it did happen. Lee certainly had his hand in more wins this past year with tips, rebounds, etc… but this one did actually involve a mid-range jump shot!

  96. Ted Nelson

    Jon:

    Did you really say that Bill Simmons is not biased?????

    Z-Man:

    The role players you’ve mentioned played around guys like MJ, Shaq, Kobe, Pippen, etc. When the Knicks have someone even close to that level lets start talking about winning championships and franchise players vs role players.

    For now, I’m more concerned about getting to the playoffs and having a team that has some understanding of the game of basketball rather than playing like they’re on a playground or in a video game.

    I have no idea what you are trying to say about clutch shooting. In your first post you seem to say it is the single most important thing to winning basketball games. Then in post two you say it’s “not a quick fix????”

    Interestingly enough Tony Parker, the last pick in the first round just like Lee, also came into the league with a weak J. 27 guys were picked ahead of him not because everyone knew he was a future All-Star and Finals MVP, but because there were some questions about his game. He answered those questions, time will tell if David Lee can do the same.
    Also, Lee is not some unathletic or unskilled “hustle” player. This guy was a bigtime recruit out of high school who, for what it’s worth, won the McD’s dunk contest.

    Is Lee more valuable in San Antonio??? I really don’t think so. They already have a championship team. The Knicks are a lotto team sorely in need of some intelligent, well-rounded players.

    I don’t really agree with the your definition of “franchise players” vs. “role players.” The real “franchise players” are pretty rare, and a lot of the role players on championship teams could easily be “franchise players” on lottery teams. Someone like Robert Horry is known for his last second shooting, but he is also an excellent defender and passer. If he had choosen a different path or been placed in a different situation I have to believe he could have easily been a better “franchise player” than someone like Randolph or Curry. Often it seems that guys who put up points on bad teams (Marbury, Crawford, Curry, Randolph) are automatically deemed “franchise players.”

    While basketball is fairly unique among major team sports in that one player can have have a fair amount of influence on their team’s success, I think it’s dangerous to look at things in terms of “franchise players” surrounded by role players, because it leads one away from thinking in terms of building a team where all the pieces play a role and towards the star culture that is today’s NBA.

    We may never know, but is KG really so much worse than TD? Or is it that TD plays on such a well constructed team and for such a well run organization?

  97. Ted Nelson

    What I meant to say at one point in there was more that being a high volume scorer seems to translate in NBA language to being a “franchise player.”

  98. Ted Nelson

    Also Z-man, going for the three-peat here, I’m not sure why you’re so adament on comparing Lee and Balkman? There are some similarities–both strong rebounders for their positions, apparently lack a consistent J, team players who don’t force the issue on offense, and both try hard (on most teams I think that would be expected, somehow on the Knicks it’s unique)–but I think that’s about where the comparison ends. It’s kind of like saying Robert Horry and Bruce Bowen are the same player. Both are strong defenders, passer, and somewhat profficient three-point shooters, but they both play their own roles on the Spurs.

  99. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Post author

    “Basketball games are so often decided in the last two minutes. How many games are won or lost because role players that are left open make a big 15-18 footer when left open in crunch time? Think about the following role-player types: Charles Oakley, Horace Grant, Robert Horry, John Salley, etc., etc? How do you feel when in the last two minutes David?s or Renaldo?s man drops off to double-team Eddy in the post or Stephan on the drive and leaves them open for a jumper? Will you ever feel confident with them taking that shot? It?s all about making shots in crunch time first?Rodman, a notorious non-shooter, was only as effective as he was because of the dependability of all four players around him to hit that big shot on any of the championship teams he was on. Same with Ben Wallace.”

    First off, I think your two examples counter your argument. Wallace and Rodman won plenty of games and championships without a jump shot. Second what would I do if I were Balkman and my man doubled up on Curry? I would do what my 5th grade basketball coach told me. Cut to the hoop. At worst I force someone else to cover me and free up a teammate. At best Curry hits me with a pass for an easy dunk.

    Finally you’ve restricted your argument to one scenario. What about the possession before? Without Lee to grab that rebound there is no last second shot. Without Balkman to make a steal, block, or force a missed shot the Knicks aren’t in the game. If the only thing that mattered was hitting a last second wide open jumper, Quincy Douby would have been drafted 1st, not 19th.

  100. jon abbey

    “Did you really say that Bill Simmons is not biased?????”

    everyone’s biased, he’s very up front about his. I don’t think he rips NYC athletes unfairly, any more than he rips guys from anywhere else.

    “We may never know, but is KG really so much worse than TD? Or is it that TD plays on such a well constructed team and for such a well run organization?”

    yes, he is, this argument always makes me laugh. SA is “well constructed” because they can build around Duncan, I’ve seen Garnett miss a lot of big shots in the last minute of a game. he tends to be the kind of guy that will miss a shot down by 1 in the last minute, then when the lead is 3 after FTs, he’ll hit shots to cut it to 1. his team’s lack of success over his career and his own ability are pretty intertwined, no way SA ever wins a title if Garnett and Duncan had flipped careers (IMO, as you said, clearly no way to definitively know). it’s a shame that this is so, too, as Duncan is the dullest superstar of this generation and KG is much more fun to watch play, but it is.

  101. Caleb

    The first two minutes of a game, or the middle two minutes, are just as important as the last two minutes. (well, almost – there are more timeouts called at the end of the halves, and more fouls, so more posessions are crammed into that time). But the value of a point, or of a poesession, is no different.

  102. z-man

    Mike and Ted,

    You guys are missing the point of my argument. The aforementioned teams won championships because they had a combo of consistent all-star offensive players including hall of fame types. Even recent piston team had four consistent shooter/scorers around Big Ben so that his O woes weren’t exposed as they are now being exposed in Chicago. Steph, Craw, Q Zach and Eddy do not compare to Chauncey, Rip, Tashaun, Rasheed in terms of consistency. Let’s not even discuss San Antonio. We can’t expect to get Lebron, Kobe or their ilk via the draft; the only way we can get to championship level is with GOOD trades and free agency. Since we are so far over the cap forever it seems, our greatest asset is young players with potential.

    Like you guys, I loved watching this team last year and Lee and Balkman are guys I would hate to see go. I do not see them as guys that you build a franchise around, rather guys that complete the puzzle once you have the major pieces in place. In a way, our conversation is really about the other guys (Steph, Jamal, Eddy, Q) than it is about the young guys. Each of these guys has issues with either size, strength, range, consistency that create matchup problems against the better teams. I would love to trade any of these talented but flawed/inconsistent players for better players but who’s buying?

    Let me put it this way: do you guys think this is a championship caliber team as is? If not, how do you think we best get there given the assets and liabilities we have?

    PS: I would love some feedback on my critique of Eddy’s game.

  103. jon abbey

    “The first two minutes of a game, or the middle two minutes, are just as important as the last two minutes. (well, almost – there are more timeouts called at the end of the halves, and more fouls, so more posessions are crammed into that time). But the value of a point, or of a poesession, is no different.”

    anyone who ever watched Michael Jordan, or LeBron even, knows that this isn’t true. they were (and are) both entirely different players in the 1st and 4th quarters of big games, which led to their teams winning a lot of those big games.

  104. Caleb

    uh…. no.

    LeBron James in 2005-2006 (most recent I could find):
    1st quarter 8.3 ppg, .466 FG%
    2nd quarter 6.9 .475
    3rd quarter 8.4 .485
    4th quarter 7.3 .491

    He actually did shoot a slightly better percentage as the game goes on, but I wouldn’t call that “a totally different player”
    http://www.82games.com/random26.htm

    Michael Jordan was the best player in the league whether there were 3 seconds on the clock, or he was getting a massage before the game.

    The only small difference is that at the end of a close game, each team has their best available players on the court at the same time, which makes for a slightly higher level of competition and I supposed you could say a truer test of a team/player’s ability.

    In this discussion – the point is that you’d rather have a player like Lee who does countless things extremely well, all game, than a flashier player who does none of those things well but is more likely to hit a 15-foot jumper at the end of the game. Z-Man is arguing that we should sacrifice literally thousands of posessions over the course of the season in order to improve our odds on a handful – at most a few dozen – of late-game plays.

  105. Caleb

    p.s. the Bulls record in close games wasn’t any better than that of other teams, but they had a lot of blowout victories. Close games are decided by luck as much as anything else. It’s not like Jordan magically shot 95 percent in the last two mnutes.

  106. jon abbey

    Michael quite often didn’t try to score in the 1st quarter of big games, and I’ve seen LeBron do the same thing, then turn it on when they saw exactly what was needed from them. all games aren’t big games, we all saw how much LeBron paced himself this season from the first half to the second half of the year.

    anyway, of course I’d agree with this point regarding Lee, especially because he’s a great guy to have on the court at the end. who can forget that miraculous tip-in with .1 seconds, then the brilliant half-court lead pass to Marbury to win back to back games at the end? I was talking more about Duncan/Garnett still, and in general terms, sorry if I was semi offtopic.

  107. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Post author

    “no way SA ever wins a title if Garnett and Duncan had flipped careers”

    That’s laughable. Garnett has only had one season in his career where he’s had one All Star caliber player on his team (2004 Cassell). Duncan’s had Robinson, Parker, Ginoblili, and throw in a dozen quality players like Sean Elliot, Avery Johnson, Mario Elie, Bruce Bowen and role players like Robert Horry, Steve Kerr, Steve Smith, Michael Finley, Stephen Jackson, Malik Rose (the younger version). The only time Garnett has had a cast as talented as the ones Duncan has enjoyed is All Star Weekend.

    In the last 8 years, Garnett has had a top 10 PER, including two years in a row where he finished #1 overall. There’s no doubt in my mind that had Garnett been given Duncan’s teammates, he would have a few rings on his fingers.

  108. DMull

    “he tends to be the kind of guy that will miss a shot down by 1 in the last minute, then when the lead is 3 after FTs, he?ll hit shots to cut it to 1.”

    LOL…this is ridiculous.

  109. Ted Nelson

    “SA is ?well constructed? because they can build around Duncan”
    “his team?s lack of success over his career and his own ability are pretty intertwined”

    First, I’m not saying they’re equal or one or the other is better.

    So you put Duncan with Troy Hudson, Marko Jaric, Ricky Davis, Trenton Hassell, Mark Blount, Craig Smith, Randy Foye, etc. and how good do you think that team is?

    Even Garnett’s best team with Cassell and Spreewell, does Duncan win them a title??

    Tony Parker, Manu, Bowen, Oberto, Elson, Horry, Barry, Finley, etc. and KG instead of Duncan: is that not a serious contender??? Can’t say if they would win it or not, but SA, in my opinion, is the best run organization in the league (basketball, not business), and has the most well constructed team. Parker, Manu, and co. are much better because of Duncan, but would still be very good players w/o him. They’d still play intelligent team basketball on both sides of the ball.

  110. jon abbey

    and some of Minnesota’s personnel issues are due to Garnett demanding the biggest salary in the league. most of them are because McHale is a moron, but Garnett’s massive salaries haven’t helped.

  111. Ted Nelson

    Jon:

    I think that’s a bit off topic, but this last season KG made 3 mill more than Duncan.

    You don’t think the contracts of Mark Blount, Ricky Davis, Troy Hudson, Marko Jaric, and Trenton Hassell have a higher opportunity cost??

  112. jon abbey

    yeah, the gap has narrowed with their latest contracts, but in 2003-2004 Garnett made $28 million and Duncan less than $13 million.

  113. z-man

    Caleb, How can you say that? I’m talking about getting a more complete player (a stud who creates mismatches and stretches defenses and must be guarded in crunch time (for a package of 2-3 players, not a bum who sits the bench and is brought in in the last minute to hit a big shot.

    By the way, as to the analysis of the meaningfulness of various game times, it’s called crunch time for a reason. Two points or a rebound in the first quarter are virtually meaningless and involve little pressure; good teams come back from big deficits time and time again and overcome crunch time pressure, especially the great players who are capable of taking and consistently making the big shot despite being the focus of the defense, or to dish off when they get triple-teamed. The Knicks lost tons of close games last year, and it wasn’t luck. Once Jamal got hurt, the ability to win these games was seriously compromised. Even before all the guys went down, we were a sub .500 team in a weak conference.

    Another question, now that we got Zach, where’s David giong to get his minutes? Not at small forward where he will have to match up with big scorers on a nightly basis. Unless Zach is a bust, Lee will be playing lots of minutes out of position, and unless he develops a face-up 15-20 footer, he will never be anything but a back-up. Clyde alluded to this all the time.

    Interestingly, this is the area that Frye was superior to Lee. Remember how Frye was untouchable in his first 20 games as a rookie? He still might develop and make us regret trading him if Zach turns out to be Charles Smith the 2nd (20-10 with lousy team and no pressure, can’t adapt to NY expectations)

  114. Ted Nelson

    This is knitpicking, but KG signed under a different CBA then Duncan. Duncan couldn’t have made any more money if he was Jesus Christ.

    As KB points out, Duncan’s supporting cast have all been much better before and after playing with Duncan than KG’s.

    Let’s say that KG’s deal really hurt the T-Wolves in trying to sign free agents. The loss of all those draft picks after the Joe Smith thing might have also hurt them.

    But what have they done with the resources they’ve had???? Does not having the chance to go out and get a free agent mean you have to give Wallyworld or Troy Hudson tons of money?? Did John Paxson get the Bulls job and say “no free agents have been signing since MJ left, so I better resign Jamal Crawford and Eddy Curry for tons of money??”

    The point was whether San Antonio could win a ring with KG. Do you not think that KG, Oberto, Bowen, Finley, Parker, Manu, Horry, etc. would have been a serious title contender? Do you not think that if KG replaces TD on every one of his teams the Spurs would have at least one ring?

  115. Owen

    Lively morning…

    Clearly, points scored in the beginning of a game are as important as points scored at the end, it’s only perceptual bias that makes us think otherwise. It’s called crunch time because the clock is running out, which creates the appearance that the game is being decided then. But the truth of the matter is that games are basically won just as often in the first, second, and third quarter as the fourth. There is a little bit of difference, but its very marginal, just as in baseball.

    KG and TD are similarly awesome players and if KG had paired with the likes of Robinson or Ginobili, he would have won championships also. People don’t appreciate how good Manu is. He had a better year last year than Kobe. Very similar players actually.

    Z – Man – I am not sure which critique of Curry you mean. Was it:

    I have a problem with Eddy having Shaq?s game in a 6-10 can?t jump body…….Until he can square up, having Lee and Balkman on the floor with him is not a formula for offensive success. Really, guys, this is why we are even looking seriously at chandler and nichols, isn?t it?

    Curry is not a very good player, unless you believe raw fg% shooting is all that is important in winning basketball games. His FT shooting is very poor, so he can’t effectively leverage his offensive strengths. His TS% was actually 5 points lower than Lee’s this year. He is the worst rebounding starting center in the league. He was second in the league in turnovers. He doesn’t pass, steal, or block shots. He is a terrible help defender at the most important help defense position. He has a basketball IQ of zero. I don’t think I can ever remember thinking, what a great dish by Curry. Overall, despite all the talk on this board about commanding double teams and the like, it’s hard for me to see how Curry is even an average NBA center, much less an All-Star. (and me saying that is like a broken record at this point, I know.)

    Re Lee and Balkman, you seem to think extremely talented role/ “low usage” players grow on trees, and that you can always find new ones in the draft. That just isn’t so. David Lee had fairly unique numbers last year. Second in offensive efficiency, first in rebounding rate, with low turnovers and high assists. Renaldo Balkman, based on admittedly limited rookie numbers, was the best defender in the league in terms of opposing eFG%. He projects to be the best rebounding small forward in the league (again, a bit of wishful thinking, but that’s what the numbers show from last year.) He also would be a contender for steals leader if he gets enough minutes. And his offensive numbers are reasonable, and would be even better if he could get his Ft% up.

    These guys are not expendable trade bait. Lee is the best player on the Knicks, hands down. It really isn’t close. Zach Randolph, aka unstoppable offensive force, is a year removed from a TS% of 48.3%, which is truly scary bad. He bumped it up to 53.7 last year, which was still 11.5% less than Lee.

    Re Nichols and Chandler. It’s lovely these guys can hit jump shots against summer league scrubs. But i find it faintly ridiculous that we are talking about them, when we know its Crawford and Marbury who will out there next year, probably missing open jump shots like they did all last season.

    Right now, our strength is at Small and Power Forward, where we have Lee, Q, Balk, and Randolph. We won’t get better by adding to those positions. Our most vital needs are at center and shooting guard. If we want to improve we need to get much better play from Curry and Crawford, or replace them altogether.

    And vis a vis where Lee will get his minutes, that is precisely the concern of a lot of people on this board. If Lee ends up getting less minutes than last year, it will hurt the team.

  116. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Post author

    “By the way, as to the analysis of the meaningfulness of various game times, it?s called crunch time for a reason. Two points or a rebound in the first quarter are virtually meaningless and involve little pressure; good teams come back from big deficits time and time again and overcome crunch time pressure, especially the great players who are capable of taking and consistently making the big shot despite being the focus of the defense, or to dish off when they get triple-teamed.”

    That’s not true. The difference between average teams and great teams is the amount of blowout victories, not the record in close games. This has been proven time and time again in major sports. The measure of a good team is not in how it does in the close games, but how often it can dominate the other team. IIRC the chance of winning a game if you’re up by 10 to start the 4th is like 90%. I think it jumps to 99% if you’re up by 15. So yes, the first 3 quarters matter greatly.

    (If anyone knows where the NBA game state matrix is, let me know).

  117. jon abbey

    “Do you not think that KG, Oberto, Bowen, Finley, Parker, Manu, Horry, etc. would have been a serious title contender?”

    yeah, I don’t think the rest of those guys would have developed in the same way with KG as a teammate instead of the Big Farmer. Duncan makes his teammates better, I don’t think KG really does. if Garnett came in now, after those guys are all established, I think they’d have a shot, but if he was with them from the start, no, I don’t think so.

  118. Ted Nelson

    Jon:

    That’s obviously an opinion, so I can’t say you’re wrong. However, I think Pops and R.C. Buford have had a lot to do with those player’s development, referring to Parker and Manu, as well as the general atmosphere and attitude of the Spurs’ organization.

    Manu was 25 when he came to the NBA. These guys also came into the league and had strong rookie years: Parker averaged 29 mpg as a 19 year old rookie; Manu, 21.

    I think it would be very, very hard for you to argue that Duncan has had much to do with the development of Oberto, Bowen (maybe the first two but they were both 30 when they joined the Spurs), Finley, Horry, Barry, Avery Johnson, David Robinson, Sean Elliot.

    Also, KG is known as one of best guys in the league, most competitive guys in the league, a great defender, and is statistically a far better passer than Duncan (17 ast-rate to 12).

    82games had an article about clutch shooting, would be interesting to see how KG and TD faired.

  119. jon abbey

    Bowen is a great example, actually. if he didn’t hook up with Duncan, I think he would have been out of the league years ago as opposed to being able to develop into the superb albeit dirty player he’s become.

    the problem with studies on “clutch shooting” or “clutch hitting” is they group together scenarios that are never quite the same. even in the unlikely chance a game situation is identical, the team’s record and opponent are different.

    anyway, if you have League Pass this year, try to watch some ends of T’Wolves games, I think you’ll be surprised, although maybe Garnett will turn it up this year with the prospect of finally leaving Minnesota now so close. FWIW, I was rooting to see him and Kobe together in LA, not just from an aesthetic perspective, but because when they got bounced in the first round of the playoffs, they’d have absolutely no one to blame but themselves and each other.

  120. jon abbey

    Bowen did start to develop the year before he got to SA, with a young Mourning behind him in Miami, but I stand by the previous statement anyway.

  121. Frank

    In response to the discussion re: “crunch time” vs. all 4 quarters, just some quick thoughts.

    Clearly whoever scores more points over the course of a game wins the game, so points scored at any point in the game have equal weight. I don’t think that is the fact that the “crunch time” people are arguing against.

    In my mind, “crunch time” is not how much time is the left in the game alone but rather the situation (ie. tied or close) with just a few minutes left in the game. Basketball games experience ebbs and flows and there will be runs by one team and runs by the other team throughout the game. But when the clock is running down and it’s close, it is precisely the team that can most often have a run at the end of the game (when there is less time for the other team to make a compensatory run to even it out) that will somewhat obviously win those games. So naturally, if you are up by 20 with 3 minutes left, that isn’t crunch time. That’s garbage time. But when the score is tied with 1 minute left, having the guy that can score at a higher rate than the other team can defines a crunch time performer. Just simple statistics — the smaller your sample size the more likely your result will deviate from the null hypothesis, which in this case is that the two teams are equally likely to win the game. And if you have a guy on your team that can push the odds in your favor somewhat, that guy is a crunch time performer.

    Not sure if I explained that well. ohwell.

  122. Frank

    In response to the discussion re: “crunch time” vs. all 4 quarters, just some quick thoughts.

    Clearly whoever scores more points over the course of a game wins the game, so points scored at any point in the game have equal weight. I don’t think that is the fact that the “crunch time” people are arguing against.

    In my mind, “crunch time” is not how much time is the left in the game alone but rather the situation (ie. tied or close) with just a few minutes left in the game. Basketball games experience ebbs and flows and there will be runs by one team and runs by the other team throughout the game. But when the clock is running down and it’s close, it is precisely the team that can most often have a run at the end of the game (when there is less time for the other team to make a compensatory run to even it out) that will somewhat obviously win those games. So naturally, if you are up by 20 with 3 minutes left, that isn’t crunch time. That’s garbage time. But when the score is tied with 1 minute left, having the guy that can score at a higher rate than the other team can defines a crunch time performer. Just simple statistics — the smaller your sample size the more likely your result will deviate from the null hypothesis, which in this case is that the two teams are equally likely to win the game. And if you have a guy on your team that can push the odds in your favor somewhat, that guy is a crunch time performer.

    Not sure if I explained that well. ohwell. not an earthshattering point anyway lol.

  123. Ted Nelson

    Jon:

    You can’t say that KG is a terrible clutch shooter with nothing but personal experience to back it up. Well you can, but I can’t take you seriously. If this is one of two main arguments about why TD is soooo much better than KG, who apparently is a bum, you have to show me something to back it up. Maybe you’re right but you can’t say KG is a terrible clutch shooter who always misses in clutch situations, but I refuse to look at how many game winning sots he’s hit because the study is tainted.

    If you take a look at Bowen’s numbers, they’re similar across the board before he got to SA. He played 32 mpg on a 50 win team in Miami before coming to SA, he didn’t blossom once he got to SA.

  124. Ted Nelson

    Mourning was 30 in 2000-2001. And he played a grand total of 13 games with 3 starts and 23.5 mpg that year.

  125. Ted Nelson

    Also, Trenton Hassell played a similar role for KG. Although, I would argue, he is clearly not as good a basketball player as Bruce Bowen.

    Z-man:
    As Owen said, Curry is a below average player. If you think Ben Wallace?s shooting is a liability in trying to win a championship, how about every part of Curry?s game besides low post scoring? At least Wallace is a good passer, and can set screens and hit the offensive boards. You need some really good defenders to mask Curry. Offensively I?m not sure how you build around a guy who can?t pass.
    The only things comparable about Shaq and Curry are their low post scoring and size. Shaq is/was an excellent defender, rebounder, and an above-average passer who rarely turns it over. He also gets himself in better position for teams to get him the ball. Check out their stats at basketball-reference.com.

    Lee will be a backup without a 15 footer??? The guy is one of the best rebounders in the league, one of the most efficient scorers, and an above average passer, as a back up he was already getting 6th man of the year hype in his 2nd year. I also don?t think his shooting is as weak as many suggest, someone posted his rookie year shooting numbers on jumpshots a few days ago and they were alright. Maybe he saw that he was more valuable in his role than taking inefficient mid-range Js.
    Again, I?m not saying he?s Tim Duncan, but he could conceivably be a rotation player on a championship team. Can you say that about Marbury, Crawford, Curry, or Randolph? Not the way they are capable of playing, but the way they?ve played, the numbers they?ve put up, in their careers to date????

    What player are you talking about trading for??? Please let me know.
    Teams don’t often trade away very good players in or before their primes. Take the top 10 or so teams in the NBA last season and let me know how many of their players were acquired as proven players via trade for a young unproven player.
    Jamison, Battier, Caron Butler (not that proven at the time), VC

    Once you got that player do you think he and the Knicks would really contend for a championship?

    To answer your question about what I would do with the Knicks? assets:

    First, I disagree that Lee or Balkman is more valuable on a good team. In order to become a good team I?d say we need some guys like Lee and Balkman. Look at John Paxson?s work in Chicago. He has no ?franchise player? and a bunch of guys you might call ?role players,? but they?re the most promising young team in the league (well I guess Portland recently passed them). They?re in a position where they?ll at least be a second round playoff team for the next decade without changes. They?re also in an excellent position to get a Kobe or KG should one be on the market at what they consider a fair price. Plus their young guys should grow and improve.

    I’d probably get rid of Curry, Crawford, Randolph, and maybe Marbury (only 2 years on his contract) for whatever I could get. Not literally but for shorter contracts and maybe some ?role? players I liked, picks, prospects I liked. Would have done it before this year?s super deep draft, maybe now I’d wait it out a year to see if they could sneak into the playoffs and raise their values a little.
    I would think of it as “addition by subtraction.” It kind of relates to the TD/KG Spurs/Wolves discussion. In my opinion, the opportunity cost of having a highly paid bum is higher than the benefit he brings to the team.

    As you’ve pointed out, teams only win championships (or seriously compete) with very good, well rounded, players. (Or in the east with a LeBron or Kidd.) So why waste a roster spot on Eddy Curry or Zach Randolph?

    I?d look to start developing a team with a long-run outlook and patience, focusing on defense and an offense centered around ball and player movement rather than isolation plays and playground basketball.

    I?d keep the young guys like Lee, Balkman, and maybe Chandler, Robinson, Morris, Nichols. I wouldn?t throw my fate to the lottery God?s like some teams seem to do, or at least the media reads it that way, instead trying to put intelligent, well-rounded players at every position and hoping that I might get a little lucky by having a high pick in a strong draft, some cap space when a Steve Nash was available, or the right pieces if KG or Kobe is ever available and the trade makes sense.
    Similar to what Colangelo has done in Toronto being lucky enough to inherit Bosh, Calderon, a lottery team which won the #1 pick (in a weak class, but still), and then surrounding them with intelligent vets like T.J. Ford, Anthony Parker, Garbajosa, and Nasho. Or the Joe D Detroit Pistons plan that involved putting solid, mostly underrated vets together to form a 50 win team in the Leastern Division and then slowly adding better pieces.

    I know they say that chemistry is just a matter of chance, but I largely disagree and I?d try to build an environment similar to the one in San Antonio or Chicago. I’d try to hire a great coach, obviosuly, but I guess every team does.

  126. jon abbey

    ok, I was wrong about the Mourning thing, sorry about that.

    “why TD is soooo much better than KG, who apparently is a bum”

    come on, I never said this or even close. I just don’t think that KG can lead a team to a title, or he would have shown more signs of that, regardless of his supporting cast. when was the last player as good as he’s supposed to be who only won two playoff series in the first 12 years of his career? has there ever been one? sorry, I just don’t think that’s all on his supporting cast and dreadful front office.

    anyway, no one’s asking you to believe me, I’m just stating my own opinions based on thousands of hours of following and watching the NBA over the past decade.

  127. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Post author

    jon – re: Garnett this ties in with z-man’s thoughts about close games. Maybe you see Garnett losing a bunch of close games, because his team sucks & they’re in a lot of close games. I mean if you’re in a lot of close games, and your team sucks, you’re going to lose a lot of close games.

    Also maybe you see him miss those shots, because he has no supporting cast and tries to win it on his own. Duncan can let Parker or Gino or try to win it. Who’s KG going to pass it to? Ricky Davis? FWIW clutch isn’t one of the first words that come to my mind when I think of Duncan.

  128. Caleb

    KB I think you know this but the flip of side of good teams not winning an especially large proportion of close games, is that bad teams don’t lose an especially large proportion.

  129. jon abbey

    actually it’s the close games that the superstar should make the difference in. if his sucky cast is doing enough to keep it close, a guy who is truly one of the best 2-3 players in the league should be able to pull out games more often than not.

    maybe the zone defense rules have changed this to an extent, I should think about that a bit more, but it was definitely that way for a long time.

    in Knicks news, the Post reports that we may stash Nichols in Europe for a year if we can’t get down to 15 any other way.

  130. Frank O.

    I agree, Curry is not a good overall player.
    He’s still a project.
    As was Frye.
    As is Lee.
    As is Balkman.
    As is Collins.
    As is Robinson.
    And our drafts this year.

    We have a roster of exciting young players. We have some sketchy vets.
    If we show some patience, we will develop these young guys, and the older guys will run their contracts out.
    The East is weak. We’ll be a playoff team, probably.
    But if we are impatient, the Knicks will get their pockets picked by teams looking to shop troubled players like Randolph and Artest.
    And we should play to our strengths. I have never seen a GM draft as well as Isiah. Say what you will about him, but he makes some solid picks

  131. Adam F

    Ted – I think you make an interesting point about the bulls:

    “Look at John Paxson?s work in Chicago. He has no ?franchise player? and a bunch of guys you might call ?role players,? but they?re the most promising young team in the league (well I guess Portland recently passed them). They?re in a position where they?ll at least be a second round playoff team for the next decade without changes. They?re also in an excellent position to get a Kobe or KG should one be on the market at what they consider a fair price. Plus their young guys should grow and improve.”

    At the same time i would strongly disagree with calling most of the bulls’ foundation “role players”. Nocioni, Duhon, Wallace, and P.J. Brown could all convievably be called role players, although Wallace’s contract suggests otherwise, AND two of those players (Brown and Wallace) aren’t part of the Bulls young core.

    I would argue, and I don’t think this is a wild statement or anything, that the foundation of the bulls is actually Hinrich, Gordon, and Deng. With the aforementioned Nocioni, and Duhon being nice pieces, as well as the emerging ty thomas and thabo.

    I don’t think Hinrich, and i DEFINATELY don’t think Gordon or Deng, can be called “role players,” maybe they aren’t franchise players, but they all command the ball in their hands, and their games are all centered around their offensive skill level. A role payer, to me, is someone like Lee who’s a rebounding specialist (you guys will argue he is also a great TS% guy, but he doesn’t take enough shots, in my opinion, to be a scorer by any stretch), or someone like a bruce bowen – a defensive specialist, or a great shooter like a steve kerr. These guys are all similar in that they don’t need the ball in their hands at all times to do what they do best. How often does Kerr do anything more on offense then just catch the ball and shoot. Deng, Hinrich, and Gordon are all creaters, playmakers, and proficient scoreres (both through shooting and slashing), and therefore aren’t really role players.

    Paxson has built his team with hard nosed, young (but not lacking college experience) players, that may not be “franchise guys” but are definately more than role players.

    In the second half of your statement you mention that they could concievably trade some of these young pieces for KG or KB24, and that could put them over the top. If you DO (despite my argument to the contrary) consider the young bulls to be role players, then I think you are prving the exact point that me and z-man are making, in that they are never going to be any more than a team that “makes the second round of the playoffs” without a franchise player to take them over the hump. We, the Knicks, also need players like that to push us over the hump.

    Finally, (sorry for the length) i think one of the reason the Bulls haven’t made a stronger push for some of these talents to take them over the top is that they are too in love with their players, in the same way that we are too in love with ours. Players whose trade value exceeds their actual value should be traded for players with similar trade value but with actual value that corresponds with their trade value. Thus, now is the perfect time to trade a guy like Lee, for a player who is, if not a franchise player, a player that will really add to this team’s offenseive and defensive repertoire.

  132. Ben

    “Players whose trade value exceeds their actual value should be traded for players with similar trade value but with actual value that corresponds with their trade value. Thus, now is the perfect time to trade a guy like Lee, for a player who is, if not a franchise player, a player that will really add to this team?s offenseive and defensive repertoire.”

    I do not think that Lee’s and Balkman’s trade value exceeds their actual value.

    I cannot say for sure about Balkman because the sample is too small but I would put him as one of the best rookies from last years draft and his trade value is not that high, he is mainly being mentioned as a throw in.

    Lee on the other hand has much more actual value than trade value because Lee is looked at leaguewise as a “role player” I would say he is much more than that and I do not think he could net a player with as much actual value as himself.

  133. Frank

    I agree with Frank O… let’s just have some patience. Make some minor moves (ie. buyout Jerome James) to clear the clutter and get down to 15 players. Keep Dickau and Jones for now as trade fodder in case something unmissable comes up. Keep working with Curry who despite all his weaknesses is still a high-ceiling player. Keep Lee and Balkman to save the firebombing of MSG by Owen and others if they are traded. Depending where we are after this year (which I think will be a 43-45 win season, nice 10 win improvement), give Artest the MLE next year to get us to the next level. I really feel like we are about 2-3 years away from making some serious noise so let’s not do anything too crazy from here on out unless it lands us KG or Kobe.

    And by the way Owen, for all his weaknesses, Curry is not a plodding 6’10” can’t jump guy– he’s got some hops and can get above the square over the rim according to Malik Rose. He’s quick and nimble, of course why he can’t translate that into good defense is beyond me. And his game, other than being low-post, is nothing like Shaq — he’d be way better off if he had Shaq’s dominating mentality. a 6’11” 280 lb guy left-hand finger-rolling from 2 feet away? How about a two handed stuff Shaq-style? His shooting percentage would go up 5-10% if he stopped trying to be so delicate and pretty around the rim. I’d take an extra offensive foul per game if he converted 3-4 more hoops rather than having them roll off the rim like they do far too often.

    I know, I’m preaching to the choir here lol.

  134. Z

    “I?m talking about getting a more complete player (a stud who creates mismatches and stretches defenses and must be guarded in crunch time (for a package of 2-3 players, not a bum who sits the bench and is brought in in the last minute to hit a big shot.” -z-man

    Other than Artest, which has already been debated here, who else is actaully available to the Knicks in the real world. We can’t trade Lee and Balkman for anybody at anytime. Name a guy and I’ll tell you yes or no to trading Lee.

    As for your critique of Curry, it doesn’t seem all that different than any of the other points made on this site over the past few weeks.

  135. jon abbey

    “He?s quick and nimble, of course why he can?t translate that into good defense is beyond me.”

    he’s a very slow-to-react leaper, which is his main problem with rebounding and blocking shots. I’m not sure there’s much someone can do about this, except maybe dropping 20 pounds or so.

  136. Owen

    A little more Wages of Wins if y’all don’t mind. I think it may be of casual interest. Berri has had two interesting posts lately in which he applied his metric to college performance for the last two drafts.

    In the last draft according to his metric, the top ten college performers in terms of Win Score were, in order: Millsap, Thomas, S. Williams, Balkman, Roy, Rondo, Aldridge, Ronnie Brewer, Craig Smith, and Adam Morrison. The five most productive NBA rookies per 48 last season, in his view, were Balkman, Rondo, Millsap, Roy, Brewer, in that order. And in overall win production, the leader was Rondo (7.2 wins), followed by Roy, Balkman, Millsap, and Smith. So his record was pretty good, at least in terms of correlation. That may not impress you guys who are dubious about his metric to begin with perhaps, but it is interesting to see at least that there is a lot of carryover.

    Balkman and Millsap were two great calls of his last year. He came out and said at the beginning of the year that he expected them to be excellent, and they were. He was right about Rondo also.

    Today, he has a post with a review of what he says is a very deep draft. He is very cautious about predictions, but there is some stuff to take away from the post. FWIW KB, I think you will find he is suitably circumspect and files all appropriate caveats and reservations. Anyway, the link to his post, where you can see the chart.

    http://dberri.wordpress.com/2007/07/12/looking-back-at-the-nba-draft-part-two/

    The brief summary for the Knick fan. Wilson Chandler doesn’t project well. He is rated as the second worst swingman in the draft, slightly ahead of Thaddeus Young. Nichols is rated better than him. But both are in the bottom half of the category.

    Probably the biggest surprise overall is how well Nick Fazekas rates. He had the best numbers in the last two drafts. Berri qualifies this fact very heavily, noting the low quality of competition he played against. So let me emphasize, Berri DOES NOT think Fazekas will be better than Oden, Horford, and Noah, who are at the top of the big men ranking. However, he says there is reason to believe that he may have been worthy of a first round pick. He also thinks there is very little reason to believe that Spencer Hawes will be worthy of his lottery pick.

    Among guards, Rodney Stuckey of Eastern Washington comes out tops, ahead of Mike Conley, and Daequan Cook.

    The obvious sleeper in the draft seems to be ACC player of the Year Jared Dudley, who was the seventh most productive player overall, but fell to 22nd. We almost could have had him. The numbers suggest he will be a lot better than Chandler or Nichols. Also, Stephen Lasme looks very good.

    I have trouble getting excited about Fazekas. And his performance against HQ competition this year was very poor. But it will be interesting to see how he performs with the Mavericks and whether he makes us wish we had drafted him instead of Chandler.

  137. Owen

    Frank – Re Curry. I dont think of him as quick and nimble. He isn’t a powerful or quick leaper. My impression of vintage Shaq was that if he got the ball in traffic, he would go up and dunk THROUGH people. It didn’t really matter how many people were around him. He would just flush it. Curry very rarely does that. He isn’t as big, and he doesn’t jump as high or as fast. His body power, is lower. When I watch him alley oop, I dont get the sensation that he is anywhere near as high above the rim as Shaq was in his prime. Really, to be honest, the two players have almost nothing to do with each other, other than being big and tall.

    I think its very difficult to qualify Curry as a project. He is entering his seventh year in the league. I don’t care how old you are, if you have been in the league that long, you can’t still be called a project. Is Dwight Howard a project? Maybe. He led the league in total rebounds and turnovers at the age of 21. He is a project in the sense that you can see how could improve dramatically over the next few years, by lowering his turnovers, increasing his rebounds a bit, and raising his TS% by working on his FT%. With Curry, you could see his turnovers coming down, but only if his role in the offense is reduced. And it’s very difficult to see him rebounding at a much higher rate.

    I think the best we can hope for is that Curry will give us average production overall at the center position.

  138. jon abbey

    “Really, to be honest, the two players have almost nothing to do with each other, other than being big and tall.”

    this I disagree with also, Curry is similar to Shaq in that he’s unstoppable by single coverage by virtually any player in the league within five or so feet. he’s quite possible the single best player in the league right now in this situation, maybe Yao, Duncan, Shaq are in his league. he led the league in points in the paint last year, though, I believe second place was pretty far behind.

    one difference, as you say, is that if Shaq gets the ball under the basket, he flushes it. Curry actually does better if he gets the ball with his man in between him and the basket, unless it’s an alley oop that he has enough time for his slow leaping to react to.

  139. caleb

    Berri is interesting, as usual, but that article is lazy and not up to his standards. He didn’t even bother adjusting for strength of schedule (which Hollinger did). Worse, DB ignores the factor of age. So Thad Young (and Chandler) were not as good college players, last year, as a lot of the other guys in the draft… duh.
    They’re also likely to improve much more than players even a year or two older. (I’ve seen enough of Young to predict that he will have the best 2010-2011 of all the small forwards taken – if not, dinner’s on me).

    On the other hand, on some other points, Berri is right in line with his guest columnist before the draft, and Hollinger, who both projected big things for Fazekas. Since all the traditional b-ball analysts rated him as a feeble NBA prospect, Fazekas seems like a good test case for stat-based analysis, in general. More consensus: all stat-heads predict that Acie Law and Nick Young will flop. And they like Jared Dudley (though Berri overrates him, along with all the upperclassmen).

    p.s. factoring age into the Curry discussion, it’s safe to say that at age 24 he is still likely to improve – but not by much. Dwight Howard is only 21.

  140. Owen

    Jon – Eyeballing the numbers, Shaq achieved a TS% as high as Curry has as a Knick only twice. So you are mostly correct. The shooting aspect of their game is similar, and in fact Curry looks better in that respect. Shaq was still a much more potent offense force, because of his passing, offensive rebounding, and his lack of turnovers. Also, and I hate to talk about raw scoring, (yes I know how often I mention Lee’s efficiency scoring 15 pp40,) but Shaq averaged over thirty points per game his sixth season in the league.

    I just don’t think Curry has the necessary athleticism to average over thirty points per game at his present level of efficiency for a full season without averaging 5-6 turnovers per game. Shaq got so many more easy buckets due to his superior athleticism. Do you think Curry could average 30 points per game at a 58% ts%? And could he average 2-3 assists at the same time? What kind of turnover number would he have?

    Caleb – Glad you sort of liked it, although I think lazy is a bit tough considering how much work goes into doing just what he did, and given the success of the same rudimentary method last year. Also, the data about performance, chronological age, and playing experience isn’t out yet, a colleague is apparently working on it. But that would strengthen the method certainly.

    Anyway, I thought his comment on Chandler and Nichols was food for thought, and perhaps his forecast can be another point of interest as the NBA season unfolds. It will be pretty interesting to see how Fazekas turns out and if the rich in Dallas get richer.

  141. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Post author

    I don’t think Curry is a good jumper, nor is he quick. He is nimble (agile) though, and moves well for a man his size. He just doesn’t have that quick first step. As any football fan will tell you, there is a big difference between being quick, being fast, and being agile.

    That would explain why he’s a good offensive player in the post (agility) but a poor defensive rebounder and shot blocker. Shaq is (was?) good at all three. I don’t think Curry could ever be a good shot blocker with his physical ability, but if he would box out he could be a good defensive rebounder.

  142. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Post author

    Owen: re: Berri’s draft artcle. While maybe he could have gone more in depth (as was noted about Hollinger), it was well written. I think it might have been the most enjoyable Berri article I’ve ever read. I guess sometimes it isn’t what you say, but how you say it.

  143. Ben

    Curry will never be a good shot blocker 1.8 per 40 (his career high) is about as good as we could even hope for. Shot blocking rarely improves with age. Rebounding also rarely improves but I think this weakness is clearly overstated.

    As an offensive rebounder Curry is not bad, he actually has a career avg of 2.9 per 40. To put it into perspective Ewing has a career per 40 avg of 2.3 and only exceeded 2.9 once in his career.

    Where Curry really stuggles rebounding is on the defensive end. I would argue that defensive rebounding as an individual is less important than offensive rebounding, because often other teammates get defensive rebounds you miss. I would go on to say that while not a good rebounder, in Curry’s first season in NY while not playing next to rebound machines Lee (last year) and Chandler (year before) he posted a respectable rebound rate of 14.1 averaging 9.3 per 40. compared to the 10.5 the year before and the 11.9 last year.

    Also Curry has usually been on a good rebounding team and since rebounding is a team stat and the C and PF account for many of the rebounds a team gets, Curry’s effect on a team’s rebounding seems to be overstated and while clearly not a strength it is not nearly the weakness it is made out to be.

    Also Curry’s problems turning over the ball seem to be more a side effect of playing in NY rather than his own weakness. In Curry’s first four years his turnover rate was very acceptable for a center coming into this league out of high school. For this chart I used four other centers that came into this league out of high school and Ewing as a reference point because we are all very familar with what he brought to the table.

    Curry Ewing Howard Chandler Amare Bynum
    year 1: 12.7 14.1 15.0 17.8 14.4 14.2
    year 2: 15.7 14.6 14.6 16.4 13.5 15.4
    year 3: 14.3 15.9 19.3 14.0 9.4 N/A
    year 4: 15.3 13.6 N/A 15.7 14.2* N/A

    *Amare’s fourth year has been replaced with his fifth since he missed his entire 4th season.

    As you can see Curry did not project to be a turnover prone player in his first four years in the league. But since making the move to NY his turnover rate shot up to over 17 both years. I would say that this is not Curry’s fault but instead is the fault of the New York guards.

  144. Ben

    The Chart got messed up:

    year – .Curry .Ewing .Howard Tyson .Amare .Bynum
    year 1: 12.7 – 14.1 – 15.0 – 17.8 – 14.4 – 14.2
    year 2: 15.7 – 14.6 – 14.6 – 16.4 – 13.5 – 15.4
    year 3: 14.3 – 15.9 – 19.3 – 14.0 – 09.4 – N/A
    year 4: 15.3 – 13.6 – -N/A – 15.7 – 14.2* N/A

  145. Ted Nelson

    Adam F:

    I was just saying that you MIGHT call the Bulls players role players in a discussion about David Lee where it seems that some people feel if you are not a “franchise player” you are a “role player.” I guess what I was getting at is that you don’t have to define players as “franchise players” or “role players.” Doing so is dangerous because you start to think that Shareef Abdul-Rahim or Eddy Curry is your franchise player, while a very good player like David Lee is a role player and very expendable to get a “franchise player” in the Marbury, Crawford, Curry, Randolph mold. There’s a lot of grey area between and within these categories.

    I don’t really have an opinion one way or the other about whether the Bulls should go after KG, Kobe, Gasol, Marion or whichever other All-Star they could have.

    Wait… David Lee doesn’t “add to this team?s offensive and defensive repertoire?????????????????????”

    I’m not in the David Lee is the greatest player ever camp, but let’s be realistic: he was the best player on the team last year. Not he has the potential to be the best player, he WAS THE BEST PLAYER. Easily the most complete all around player on a flawed roster. (Q is also pretty strong all-around, except obviously his back. Marbury is trying hard to be well-rounded, but I just think you need a really good point-forward or point-SG if Marbury is going to be your PG: both to let him play to his strengths and to make up for his weaknesses. Plus a really quick SG to defend quicker PGs. He’s not the right PG for this roster, or this isn’t the right roster for him.)

    Do the Knicks really need another high usage scorer who can “create his own shot” and “carry the offensive load????” We have like 8 of those already.

    The Bulls are in love with their young players because all of them are in their first four years in the league, yet they’re contributing on a second round playoff team (which should get better through natural growth and Paxson’s Isiah-like drafting). We’re still talking about the “potential” of veterans like Curry and Crawford. Gordon, Deng, Hinrich, and Nocioni all shot an eFG% above .500 with Duhon coming in at .499. THEY WERE THE #1 DEFENSE IN THE LEAGUE.

    We’re in love with Lee and Balkman because they produce on the court, not because they have the potential to produce on the court. Lee was tied for the best reb-rate and TS% in the league, while Balkman, in a small number of minutes, had the best opponents eFG% in the NBA. If those numbers were not an aberration that means that you couldn’t possibly get a better rebounder or more efficient shooter no matter who you traded Lee for, nor could you get a better defender on the wing for Balkman (we’ll have to see if they’re an aberration).

  146. Ted Nelson

    Ben:
    I’m confused as to what you’re implying about Curry. You seem to be defending him by saying that he can’t rebound on the defensive side, block shots, and can’t play with the Knicks’ guards. Not to mention that he can’t pass or play help defense. If the only thing you’re good at is scoring when you actually manage not to turn the ball over can you really be compared to dominant all-around players like Ewing or Shaq?? Neither guy was Magic Johnson, but they both managed a career ast-rate over 8. Neither was Rodman, but they both managed reb-rates over 16. They were both among the premier interior defenders in the league in their primes. Is there absolutely any chance we can say the same about Curry in 10 years?

    The one thing I can say about Curry is that when he doesn’t turn it over he’s possibly the most efficient low post scorer, I don’t know, since Wilt Chamberlain maybe. But with all the discussion about “role players” recently, it seems that Curry is nothing more than a role player because he does very little else even average (even good “role players” aren’t one dimensional). If they want to keep Curry, the Knicks should be talking about covering his weaknesses, not building around him. I’d love to believe that Curry is working hard no improving his defense and passing this offseason (as I’ve heard), but I’ll believe it when I see it.

    I’m very hard on Curry, but I think he has some major motivation issues that, if someone knows anything about phsycology or something help me out, might stem from a lack of confidence. I think that’s why Isiah has babied him so much and gone out of his way to promote him. Maybe with some confidence he can become at least average as a passer and defender, in which case the Knicks could maybe build a perrenial, non-contending, playoff team “around” him.
    I’d still rather have two defensive studs like Tyrus Thomas and Joakim Noah, though.

  147. Owen

    I found the Comparison Machine over at Basketball Reference. Very nice little tool. Ran a comparison of Ariza, Artest, Balkman, and Gerald Wallace last year.

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/fc/pcm.cgi?req=1&cum=0&p1=balkmre01&y1=2007&p2=arizatr01&y2=2007&p3=artesro01&y3=2007&p4=wallage01&y4=2007
    Hin

    Adam – I sense that you don’t believe a player can be truly valuable in terms of wins unless he is a high usage player with a high scoring rate. Lee is not that kind of player, which is why he ends up in your “complimentary” heap. IMHO the most valuable player of last year’s Bulls team was Ben Wallace by a hair. Wallace has been the best player on his team for many years now, he was the fulcrum of the Pistons championship team, despite being a low usage, non scoring role player. However, his performance dropped off dramatically from his contract year effort in Detroit.

    Luol Deng is clearly a rising young superstar on a relatively low salary. He has more value to the team going forward than Wallace, especially with Thomas coming on. He is not a role player.

    Hinrich is an excellent and a fairly complete player, but not near superstar status. In my mind Ben Gordon is actually more of a role player whose function is to score, like Curry or Rip Hamilton, he does basically one thing on the court and little else.

    In my mind, to be a franchise player, you have to do a number of things extremely well without have any major weakness. Its not enough to score. And low scoring is probably the best weakness to have.

    Ben – Used the new stat search tool over at Basketball Reference. I have said in the past the Eddy Curry is historically bad. I think the following search shows I am correct. He is the only player in the history of the NBA to play more than 500 minutes per season, average more than 4.9 turnovers per 48, less than 1.5 assists per 48, and less than 1.5 blocks. :-) Anyway, give it a try and see what you find…

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/fc/stats_search.cgi?req=1&sum=0&type=per_min&min=48&from_year=1971&to_year=2007&lg1=NBA&franch=&from_draft=1947&to_draft=2006&draft_round=&draft_pick=&draft_franch=&from_age=0&to_age=99&active=&hof=&rookie=&pos=&min_height=0&max_height=99&c1stat=TOV&c1comp=gt&c1val=4.9&c2stat=AST&c2comp=lt&c2val=1.2&c3stat=BLK&c3comp=lt&c3val=1.5&c4stat=MP&c4comp=gt&c4val=500&sortby=PTS&layout=full

  148. Ben

    Ted – What I was saying about Curry was that while his defensive rebounding is not very good he has historically still been on good rebounding teams, this could be a coincidence or maybe he just defers to teammates or maybe a bit of both. Either way with Lee, Balkman, Randolph and Richardson we seem to have a team that can more than make up for this weakness.

    I am blaming the Knick guards for the turnovers so I think that is fixable and could easily see Curry with a turnover rate in the 11-14 range in his prime (what he projected to in his first four years), if he gets the chance to play with a good point guard.

    His passing is bad but passing seems to be a coachable stat and late last year it was looking better, though still bad. If he can keep improving this last thing he could become the dominant offensive player we all hope he can be.

    Also Ted you are holding Curry up to two hall of fame players in Ewing and Shaq, I do not think Curry will ever be anywhere as good as either of those players but I feel he can still be a very good player. He is one of the most efficient high volume scorers in the league, even more so if he gets his free throw shooting back to where it was in Chicago.

    If we can fix our teams turnover woes, I blame the team just as much as Curry, then I could see us being a very good offensive team with Curry at the center.

    Just imagine a frontcourt of Curry, Balkman, and Lee, potentially we could have three players with TS% in the 60’s. (if Balkman improves his ft%) Two of the best rebounders at their position, a great defender in Balkman and a high volume scorer in Curry.

    Teams need high volume scorers. I think that is a fact that is overlooked on this board’s obbsession with efficiency. To be able to afford high efficiency low volume scorers like Balkman and Lee you need to surround them with at least one but probably two high volume scorers. The thing that makes players like Kobe and Lebron so valuable is they can be both high efficiency and high volume. Curry can be one of those players, we just need to cover up his defensive shortcomings.

    The turnovers will come down with better guard play and the passing should, I hope, improve. If Curry even approaches average on defense he could be the best center in the league.

    Teams need dominant players to win titles, Curry is the closest thing to a dominant player we have, and if we can build around him, he could be the centerpiece in our title run, with Lee being his Manu and Balkman being his Bowen. Now we just need the PG to make it all run smooth.

  149. Owen

    I agree and disagree. Teams need scoring, and usually high volume scoring, And you can’t survive only with low usage players. But usually you can get that from their guards, and it doesnt cost them as much in rebounding and defense. The Spurs won with an effective platoon of Oberto and Elson. The Mavericks dominated with Dampier and Diop.
    Also, Curry isn’t even a particularly high scorer.

    I refined my search a bit. Curry is the only player in history who

    played more than 300 minutes in a season
    averaged more than 20 pts per 48
    averaged less than ten rebounds per 48
    Averaged 5 turnovers or more
    Averaged less than 1.5 assists.

    Also, it seems his work ethic may be lacking…

    http://www.nypost.com/seven/07132007/sports/knicks/knicks_big_men_coming_up_small_knicks_marc_berman.htm

  150. jon abbey

    “Curry isn?t even a particularly high scorer.”

    HE LED THE LEAGUE IN POINTS IN THE PAINT. #1, first, more than anyone else.

    I mean, there are plenty of valid reasons to slam the guy, you just go too far.

  151. Owen

    I am not slamming him for not scoring enough points by any means. I am just asying that 32nd in the league in p/40 doesn’t make him exceptional as a high volume scorer. It’s excellent, no question, but not exactly exceptional.

  152. Ben

    Owen – 32nd in the league is not exceptional but is very good when you take into account Curry is a center and has to rely on teammates to get him the ball. Only three centers scored more per 40 than Eddy; Yao, Shaq and Amare and only ten were even in the top 100 (Yao, Shaq, Amare, Curry, Okur, Howard, Ilgauskas, Pachulia, Mourning, Okafor)

    On top of that Curry shot a TS% of over 60%. Out of the top 100 per 40 minute scorers only ten managed to do that. (Yao, Dirk, Amare, Manu, Kevin Martin, Curry, Nash, Howard, Nene, Kapono)

    Clearly there is something special about Curry’s ability to score the basketball. He is hands down one of the most efficient scorers in the NBA.

    I know his turnovers do alot to negate his efficiency but as I said earlier I would argue that it is more because of the Knick guards than his own shortcomings. Eddy Curry did not project as a turnover prone player until he came to New York.

    Also it is not unreasonable to assume his TS% and scoring average will get even higher if he can return to shooting free throws like he did in Chicago.

  153. Ben

    Owen – I forgot to mention that in Dallas and San Antonio they had a high volume scorer next to their center in Dirk and Duncan. So Dirk + Dampier or Diop and Duncan + Oberto or Elson scores about the same amount of points as Curry + Lee.

    In fact Curry + Lee scores more points at a higher TS% than either of the combos above. On top of that Elson, Diop and Dampier all had higher turnover rates than Curry and Oberto was pretty close.

    So your examples score less points at a lower percentage and only turn the ball over less because Duncan and Dirk turn it over less than Lee.

    I think that shows that the Curry/Lee frontcourt seems great.

  154. Owen

    Caleb – Re your criticism of the incompleteness of Berri’s draft post, it seems he agrees and that more complete work is on the way. He had this to say in a comment on his most recent post.

    “Someone else noted elsewhere that the last two posts only considered performance in college last season. No effort was made to consider strenght of schedule, age of player, etc? That is all part of this research also.

    Basically the posts this summer on the draft are all going to look just a bit incomplete. Hopefully when the research is done we will have some answers.”

  155. Owen

    Ben – I wish you hadn’t gotten me started on Curry once again. Ok…

    Didn’t project to be a turnover prone player? In his last season with the Bulls Curry committed 4.3 turnovers, 1.5 to’s per 48 more than the average center. And he was at 5 this year. So you are right, he has been even worse than projected. But I think anyone could have told you he was going to commit a lot of turnovers.

    It’s interesting, perusing Curry’s numbers, its hard to see any real improvement except in minutes played, and that’s no improvement for the teams employing him. There is a real seesaw effect. Every year, there seems to be a pattern of progress in one area, and decline in others. His best rebounding year was his worst scoring year. His best TS% years have been his worst turnover years. His blocked shots and rebounding have declined per 48 from his rookie year. His Ft% has steadily declined, as his attempts have gone up. His uaage rate has gone up, and his assist totals haven’t changed. As his offensive game has improved, there has been a corresponding decline on defense (anecdotally anyway.) Eddy only has so much to give. And “it?s clear no matter how you look at it that Eddy Curry will not become a ?league-leading center.?

    Vis a vis your platoon comparisons, Lee and Curry come nowhere close to matching the productivity of any of the combinations you mentioned overall. If Oberto could produce the numbers he did this year for 35 minutes on his 3 million per salary, I would rather have him on the Knicks than Curry, given the scoring Randolph now offers. It would mean half as many turnovers, double the assists, 30% more rebounds, and a stout defensive presence. Dampier is a defensive beast who would also be an upgrade over Curry. 50% more rebounds, three times as many blocks, equal assists, low turnovers, and actually a higher TS%, though on much lower volume.

    I have been ridiculed in the past for making similar claims, but here is I think a fair question for you Ben.

    Even leaving the heart condition and salary considerations aside, so simply on player merit, would the Spurs or Mavericks exchange their center platoon for Eddy Curry?

  156. Ben

    I went through and looked at the turnover rates for all the centers that played at least 700 minutes last year and other than realizing how few good centers there are I found out that last year in the NBA the average turnover rate among centers was 15.0. In Curry’s first four seasons his turnover rate was 12.7, 15.7, 14.3, and 15.3. That puts him right on par with other centers in this league. If you take into account his age and experience and the fact that most players have their turnover rates decrease with age he did not project to be a turnover prone player. (at least not for a center)

    After his first four seasons in Chicago there was no reason to believe his turnover rate would increase by so much. His usage stayed pretty similar so there is no obvious reason that his turnovers increased except his team changed.

    At first you could blame the system or the coaching but both seasons the system and the coaching have been different so the only constant is the players he played with. If you look as a whole NY is worse than average in turnover rates almost across the board, which tells me it is a team problem not just Curry’s. I think Curry’s turnover rate went up by so much because of bad guard play. Improve that and Curry’s turnovers should come down.

    Also about the platoons in SA and DAL I was only comparing them on the offensive side of the ball, on the defensive side of the ball it is not even close which is why Duncan and Dirk are so much better than Curry or Lee. On the offensive side I think the platoons are comparable.

    I never said Curry was a “league leading center”, his defense is too poor. I do think however he is already a good offensive player who will be a great one if the turnovers come down.

    A team can afford one or two below average defenders if they bring enough offense to offet their weakness.

  157. jon abbey

    Curry also had one reasonably long stretch last year (maybe 15-20 games? in Dec/Jan? going from memory) where he was superb at the FT line. if he can build off of that, that would also be a major improvement.

  158. Felix

    Curry scored 19.5 points a game and took 12.6 shots a game. -Thats called efficiency. If he can limit his TOs he will be a monster.
    Also his assists are low because we didnt have any legit shooters last yr, jeffries, balkman, frye, collins werent lighting it up last yr. assists from centers are contingent that ur surounding cast can score. This yr that should improve.
    Curry does rebound, but doesnt really dominate. He doesnt have to, hes on the floor with Lee or Randolph. Every team’s 2nd best rebounder is around 8rebs a game. Curry averaged 7. Its not that serious.
    If we relied on eddie to lead us in rebs then it would be a prob.

  159. Frank

    Owen– for once I agree with you about Curry. I’m as big a Curry fan as one can be, but now that we have Zach, we would be much better off with someone like Curry’s draftmate Tyson Chandler. Not sure about Oberto as he has the obvious benefit of playing next to someone who commands all the frontcourt attention. I still have high hopes for Eddy but I do worry that whatever growth as a player he has left will be stunted by being next to Randolph.

    That being said, I really feel like he will drop his turnovers by at least 0.5-1 per 40 this year. His passing really did seem to get better at least visually near the end of the season until everyone got hurt… so with a full complement of at least passable shooters around him this year (Marbury, Jamal, QRich, and Randolph) I think other teams will be less tempted to double and triple team him.

    By the way, it kills me that he’s not attending Aguirre’s big man camp this year — I just really feel like these guys have little or nothing pressing to do during the offseason and that he should be present to show his commitment to the team and to improving his game. It’s not like he’s Stephon and giving away $4M and doing all the charity work that might take up a lot of time (or at least it’s not publicized if he is). I just hope that now that he’s in his mid-20s he starts to mature a bit more and become more singleminded about his career. There’s still hope– 24 is still a baby especially in a kid who’s been a millionaire since age 18. Not sure how old everyone else on this board is but when I think back to when I was 24 I’m still surprised that I didn’t end up in a ditch at least 2x/week.

  160. Owen

    Frank – If we had Tyson Chandler, we would be a very good team. We would actually have probably the best five man frontcourt in the NBA, (Q, Chandler, Lee, Randolph, Chandler) so I definitely agree with you. Actually, it’s fair to say that if Isaiah had made that trade, he would look like a genius right now. Chandler made a big leap last year though…

    Ben – I see your point. I guess I need to understand usage and rate stats better. My favorite Curry chart doesn’t look at rate stats:

    http://www.wagesofwins.com/Curry63.html

    I always come back to the gaining and maintaining possession line. He is 5.2 possession worse than even an average center over 48 minutss. Big discrepancy. If he could get that down to average he would be a very productive player. But that is a mountain to climb. And it would cost him slsewhere. As I noted, Curry’s turnovers and shooting efficiency are inversely correlated. His lowest turnover mark since his rookie year was 3.9 per 48 in 03-04, but that corresponded to a TS$ of just 53.8%. Anyway, as always, I hope I am wrong about Curry.

  161. jon abbey

    “it kills me that he?s not attending Aguirre?s big man camp this year ? I just really feel like these guys have little or nothing pressing to do during the offseason and that he should be present to show his commitment to the team and to improving his game.”

    Aguirre did say he was working out with Curry in Chicago right before he went to Vegas.

  162. Ken "The Animal" Bannister

    Berri’s draft article is interesting, but in watching both Chandler and Nichols play in the SL, they’ve both been impressive. Chandler reminds me a great deal of Danny Granger, a jack of all trades/master of none-type SF (decent handle, ok rebounding, ok shot, solid D) Had he stayed at DePaul, he could easily have had a breakout season as a senior (as Granger did & vaulted him into a mid-late lottery selection in ’05). Nichols, if nothing else, can shoot. As we’ve seen w/the Kapono and Carroll signings (and Rashard Lewis), shooting can keep one in the league and make a young man very wealthy to boot.

    Conventional wisdom says “ignore SL games” (consider the monster SL seasons by Maciej Lampe, Outlaw, et al.) but this unit — Balkman, Chandler, Nichols, Nate, plus David Lee, would make a dynamite change of pace team to send in en mass and just blitz the opposition by playing a totally different game (trapping/fast-breaking) than the Curry/Randolph…

    Side Note — can they have a nickname yet? Is “The Twinkie Towers” too derogatory? How about “The E-Z Bake Oven?” Anyway…

    Golow-post/walk it up 1st team. Think of it like sending in a reliever w/a 98 mph fastball after facing a junkballer/changeup specialist like Tom Glavine for 8 innings.

    Hubie Brown used to do this quite effectively in the early 80’s w/the “Not ready for prime time players” (Webster, Orr, Sly Williams, Grunfeld, and Darryl Walker). Would come in For King and Cartwright and trap/run the other team to death.

  163. Ken "The Animal" Bannister

    Berri’s draft article is interesting, but in watching both Chandler and Nichols play in the SL, they’ve both been impressive. Chandler reminds me a great deal of Danny Granger, a jack of all trades/master of none-type SF (decent handle, ok rebounding, ok shot, solid D) Had he stayed at DePaul, he could easily have had a breakout season as a senior (as Granger did & vaulted him into a mid-late lottery selection in ’05). Nichols, if nothing else, can shoot. As we’ve seen w/the Kapono and Carroll signings (and Rashard Lewis), shooting can keep one in the league and make a young man very wealthy to boot.

    Conventional wisdom says “ignore SL games” (consider the monster SL seasons by Maciej Lampe, Outlaw, et al.) but this unit — Balkman, Chandler, Nichols, Nate, plus David Lee, would make a dynamite change of pace team to send in en mass and just blitz the opposition by playing a totally different game (trapping/fast-breaking) than the Curry/Randolph…

    Side Note — can they have a nickname yet? Is “The Twinkie Towers” too derogatory? How about “The E-Z Bake Oven?” Anyway…

    …low-post/walk it up 1st team. Think of it like sending in a reliever w/a 98 mph fastball after facing a junkballer/changeup specialist like Tom Glavine for 8 innings.

    Hubie Brown used to do this quite effectively in the early 80’s w/the “Not ready for prime time players” (Webster, Orr, Sly Williams, Grunfeld, and Darryl Walker). They would enter the game as a unit for King, Cartwright, Robinson, etc. and trap/run the other team to death.

    My strategic ideas notwithstanding, I actually kind of trust (gulp) Isiah when it comes to the draft. He’s never really had a total bust. They’ve either been solid (Camby, Stoudamire, Frye), great (Lee, McGrady) or interesting talents (Balkman, Robinson, Ariza). So yeah, I have faith in Chandler/Nichols

  164. Ben

    Owen – first on the draft article, I thought that Berri made some interesting points. It is great that he predicted success for Lee and Balkman. The problem I have with it, and it has been brought up already, is the bias towards college seniors. Naturally college seniors are going to put up better seasons than underclassmen, and college seniors also usually do better their first year in the NBA. I would prefer to see it broken down by college experience and then looked at after at least three years in the NBA. (Which I think he will get to in time) The fact that Oden and Durant were freshmen makes their appearence near the top of the charts even more impressive and much much better than fellow players like Dudley, Noah and Fazakas, who might very well be fine pros but had alot more experience.

    Because Chandler was a sophmore and based on Isiah’s draft record I am not at all worried about him being near the bottom of the chart. Nichols on the other hand worries me. He was a senior which means he should have been higher and college SF that do not put up many “hustle” stats often struggle in the NBA because it shows a lack of athleticism. Watching summer league, Nichols’ shot looks good as promised but compared to Chandler and Balkman he looks a little slow out there.

    On win score, it tends to reward low usage players and punish high usage ones. By only looking at turnovers per 48 minutes rather than turnovers per possession, players that have the ball in their hands more are going to turn the ball over more than players that rarely touch it.

    For example last year David Lee turned the ball over 2.5 times per 48 mins, Tim Duncan, on the other hand, turned the ball over 4.0 times per 48 mins. Looking at that stat it is logical to say David Lee is a less turnover prone player than Tim Duncan, but that would be incorrect. Tim Duncan has the ball in his hands alot more often than David Lee so he has many more opportunities to turn the ball over. In 100 poss last year David Lee turned the ball over 13.7 times, while Duncan turned the ball over 11.9 times so in reality David Lee was more likely to turn the ball over when it was in his hands than Tim Duncan.

    That is one reason why Curry’s turnover stats look so bad. Curry has his hands on the ball alot more than an average center so he has many more opportunities to turn the ball over. While I will admit these last two years he has been worse than average, in his first four years he was overall a little less likely to turn the ball over when he touched it than the average center, he just touched it more.

    Also your poss gained/lost stat is also biased towards low usage players, steals and rebounds are unaffected by usage so low usage players get just as many as high usage ones, but turnovers are effected by usage so players that touch the ball alot are going to have more turnovers and a lower poss gained/lost stat.

    Curry’s is particully bad though, I will admit, because he is a mediocre rebounder, is not very good at steals and has the ball in his hands alot with a high turnover rate.

    I think rather than worry about his poss gained/lost Curry needs to bring down his turnover rate to at least what he had in Chicago to ever be a great offensive player. If he can ever get it to around 12 closer to Duncan, Randolph and Jermaine O’Neal he would be an elite offensive player.

  165. Owen

    Ok. Good post. I struggle with usage a bit. Is that turnover rate per 100 team possessions, or per 100 possessions in which the player touches the ball?

    I know usage and rate stats are useful, but I just never feel it’s fair to exonerate a player because he is high usage.

    Here is the thing about low usage too. Is it really true that a low usage player can’t up his usage. How difficult would it be for David Lee to average 20-10 with 3.3 tos, if you let his TS% fall from 65% to 52%? (ZR’s career level incidentally._ It’s easy to see him doing it. He scored 15 per 40 this year on putbacks basically without having a play run for him. Aren’t low usage players often more flexible than they get credit for?

    And yes, if you look at difference between TO-r and Reb-r, I agree the story looks a little different. Dampier doesn’t look nearly as good

    rebr-tor reb40-to48
    Curry -5.8 4,6
    Dampier -1 11.5
    Duncan +6.8 11
    Lee +7 14.1

    Basic point, I think its possible that Curry is THE worst player in the league, in absolute terms, at winning the possession battle. That is a very important aspect of the game, especially for your center. I dont think his scoring is enough to make up for it.

  166. Owen

    Oh, also Ben, re deficiencies in Berri’s draft piece see my post on this thread yesterday at 6:51. He is working on it this summer…

  167. Ben

    I saw that about Berri’s draft piece I am looking forward to it. I find his stuff interesting even if I do not always agree with it. Though I do agree with him about Lee, he is our best player, there are very few players I would trade him for.

    Turnover rates, as far as I know, are per 100 pos by the player not team.

    I agree that high usage should not exonerate a player. Low usage players are just as important to a team as low usage ones. I just think that while Hollinger tends to reward high usage players and punish low usage ones, Berri does the opposite. (because he fails to adjust turnovers to usage) FWIW I do not think Lee should change I would rather have his incredible efficiency than higher usage.

    What I was saying was that comparing Curry’s turnovers to the average center is unfair because Curry’s usage is so much higher. I think you need to compare turnover rates because that takes into account that Curry has many more opportunities per 48 minutes to turn the ball over than someone like Dampier. (Curry, while average at turnovers for a center in Chicago, was still quite turnover prone in New York just not as bad as Berri’s charts make it look)

    Also while winning the possession battle is very important you cannot simply equate rebounds and turnovers equally. Rebounds are very much a team statistic. If Curry were to increase his rebounds per 48 minutes by 2 (enough since becoming a Knick to put him at average) the team would probably only see an increase of less than 1 rebound per game because Curry only plays 35 minutes and for every rebound he gains he is almost as likely to take it away from a teammate as from the other team.

    Turnovers are very important and while Curry has been turnover prone in New York his turnover rate in Chicago was better than the average center which gives me hope he can get his turnovers down, whether through self improvement or better guard play.

  168. Ken "The Animal" Bannister

    Lots of interesting debate. But let’s try this on for size…

    If we take Owen/Berri’s analysis to be correct and Curry is in fact one of the worst players in the league, doesn’t that make him an incredibly valuable trade asset?

    Follow my logic here. Like an overvalued stock, I’d say the majority of the league thinks of Curry as Isiah does — as a potential/borderline all-star. Now, if Owen/Berri…

    (can I just refer to you as Owenberry? It reminds me of Frankenberries, which I really used to dig as a kid. Do they still make those anymore. I know I’ve seen Count Chocula, but I think the bigwigs killed off Frankenberries. Nostalgia for AM sugar highs notwithstanding…)

    If Owenberries is right (and the majority of the GM’s are wrong) and Curry’s a stiff, couldn’t we get a better player for him (or cap room) fairly easily. I.e., since almost everyone is better than him, the Knicks would be better with ANYONE ELSE acquired in a trade for Curry. Even one that seemed to favor the other team, like Curry to Cleveland for a sign/trade of Varejao + cap filler would make NY a better team.

    Now if Owenberries is wrong, and Curry is a valuable asset, well, then, golly…just keep him. It seems like a win/win situation for the ‘Bockers.

    Of course all this assumes that Isiah can make decent trades and not get utterly fleeced.

  169. Brian M

    Ben:

    “What I was saying was that comparing Curry?s turnovers to the average center is unfair because Curry?s usage is so much higher. I think you need to compare turnover rates because that takes into account that Curry has many more opportunities per 48 minutes to turn the ball over than someone like Dampier.”

    Agreed that we must take usage into account when judging a player’s proneness to TOs. But even when you do this Curry ends up looking bad. In my post about Randolph and Curry coexisting (knickerblogger.net/?p=553) I had a chart showing the turnovers per 100 possessions for last season’s high usage big men. It seems like the norm for a high usage big man is something like 11 or 12 TOs per 100 possessions used, but Curry as a Knick has been above 17. Even in Chicago his rate was around 15, not as bad as his Knick numbers, but still quite substandard compared to the average high usage big man.

  170. Ben

    I agree that Curry needs to reduce his turnovers. What I was trying to say in the beginning was that overall 15 is about the average for centers in the nba. The fact that Curry came into the nba out of high school and still managed to be average when compared to other centers made it look like he was not going to have a problem with turnovers, since turnovers usually go down as players get older.

    When he came to New York instead of seeing a reduction in turnovers as most fifth year players do he saw a dramatic increase. That makes me think since our team is turnover prone almost across the board it may be a team problem not just Curry’s. (bad guard play, poor offensive system, etc.)

    Also while I think Curry needs to at least get his rate down to 13-14 he is a center so he plays a position that is more turnover prone than PF.

  171. Brian M

    Owen:

    “I know usage and rate stats are useful, but I just never feel it?s fair to exonerate a player because he is high usage.”

    If you’re trying to judge a player’s ability I’d say it’s absolutely crucial to adjust for usage where appropriate.

    Assume for a moment that TO rates per 100 possessions used are constant. Say player A averages 10 possessions used per game, at 10 TO per 100 possessions used. So A averages 1 TO/game total. Now if A’s poss/game increases to 20 (assume minutes held constant), his TO/game increases to 2. This looks like a bad thing if you’re just looking at TO/game or TO/minute; the guy’s TOs doubled! But in fact his TOs/possession remained constant.

    Why should we not dock A credit for more TO/minute when his TO/poss remained constant? Well, A’s added possessions didn’t come from nowhere. They must have come at the expense of possessions used for his teammates. Assume that all 10 of A’s added poss/game came at the expense of player B. As long as B’s TO/poss is higher than A’s, then on the whole the team benefits from A’s higher usage, even though A increases his TO/min.

    The key point there is that every player’s possession used comes at the expense of some other player using that possession. If this were not the case then TOs/min would be a fine measure. But since some fraction of all possessions used are going to generate TOs, no matter who on your roster happens to be low or high usage, the best stat to look at is TO/poss.

  172. Brian M

    Ben: I think for Curry, the more relevant comparison is the average high usage big man, not the average center. The average center is probably very limited offensively and low usage, whereas Curry is skilled and high usage, so the comparison is of limited relevance.

  173. Ben

    Centers with usage over 15:
    Turnover Rate:
    Okur – 8.3
    Camby – 11.1
    Shaq – 12.1
    Miller – 12.1
    Big Z – 12.4
    Yao – 13.2
    Blount – 13.8
    Bogut – 14.1
    Amare – 14.2
    Darko – 14.4
    Kaman – 15.1
    Bynum – 15.4
    Pachulia – 15.5
    Dalembert – 16.4
    Curry – 17.7
    Mourning – 18.2
    Howard – 19.3

    Centers with a usage over twenty:
    Turnover Rate:
    Okur – 8.3
    Shaq – 12.1
    Big Z – 12.4
    Yao – 13.2
    Amare – 14.2
    Curry – 17.7
    Howard – 19.3

    Curry’s average turnover rate in Chicago: – 14.6

    As you can see looking at both lists, aside from Okur (who plays like a SF despite being a Center), 12 is about the best Curry could hope for. Also all four players under 13 (not counting Okur) are veterans in their thirties. So since Curry is a young player his average turnover rate of 14.6 in Chicago is good enough to put him right in the middle of that list. If he could get down to 13-14 he would be ahead of the curve and right on par with Yao. (the best pure center in the league)

    I totally agree that 17.7 is far from acceptable, in fact it is terrible, but his turnover numbers in Chicago were not too bad especially considering his age and experience.

    If we can figure out why he is so turnover prone in NY, then hopefully we could fix it and he would, at the very least, return to his Chicago numbers if not improve on them.

  174. Ben

    The reason I do not think it is fair to compare him to all big men is because PF’s in the NBA have become more and more perimeter oriented which naturally reduces their turnovers, so looking only at centers is more accurate. I agree that the Curry needs to be compared with the higher usage players though thats why I included the smaller list.

  175. Felix

    Lets keep in mind that he has good chemistry with jamal, and jamal missed 23 games. plus No Lee or steph for a bunch of games. I know injuries arent an excuse, but i do think that affected curry’s game becuase we had guys like jeffries, balkman, who are limited offensively.

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