Similarity Scores For The New Knicks

Amar’e Stoudemire

z-Sum FLName Year Tm PER TS eFG PTS ORB TRB AST STL BLK TOV
.000 Amare Stoudemire 2010 PHO 22.6 61.5 55.7 24.1 2.9 9.3 1.0 0.7 1.1 2.7
.134 Kevin McHale 1985 BOS 20.7 61.7 57.0 21.2 3.1 9.7 1.9 0.4 1.6 2.1
.206 Rik Smits 1994 IND 19.7 58.0 53.4 20.9 2.3 8.2 2.7 0.8 1.4 2.6
.235 Karl Malone 1991 UTA 24.8 59.6 52.8 26.0 2.6 10.5 2.9 1.0 0.9 2.7
.236 Andres Nocioni 2007 CHI 15.6 57.8 53.6 19.2 1.1 7.7 1.5 0.7 0.6 2.7
.243 Alonzo Mourning 1998 MIA 22.4 59.5 55.1 20.7 3.6 10.4 1.0 0.7 2.4 3.3
.247 Buck Williams 1988 NJN 18.2 60.3 56.1 17.5 4.1 11.4 1.5 0.9 0.6 2.6
.258 Armen Gilliam 1992 PHI 18.0 57.5 51.1 17.8 3.0 8.6 1.5 0.7 1.1 2.2
.273 Darryl Dawkins 1984 NJN 17.6 64.1 59.4 20.2 2.4 8.1 1.8 0.9 2.0 3.4
.274 Dirk Nowitzki 2006 DAL 28.1 58.9 51.5 25.1 1.3 8.5 2.6 0.7 1.0 1.8
.278 Chris Gatling 1995 GSW 19.5 64.0 63.3 19.5 3.5 10.8 1.2 1.0 1.3 2.9

His most similar players are McHale and Smits which gives you a good idea of Stoudemire; he’s somewhere between a Hall of Famer and a borderline All Star. Neither of them were great rebounders, although you could argue that McHale’s defense separates him from the three. There are some great players on this list, ones you could build a team around. But I, nor anyone else, think Amar’e is a player of that magnitude. Instead he’s a flawed All Star who needs a second one to get his team deep into the playoffs.

Raymond Felton

z-Sum FLName Year Tm PER TS eFG PTS ORB TRB AST STL BLK TOV
.000 Raymond Felton 2010 CHA 15.2 52.5 49.4 13.2 0.7 3.9 6.1 1.7 0.3 2.3
.036 John Starks 1991 NYK 14.3 51.1 47.2 14.3 0.9 4.0 6.3 1.8 0.5 2.3
.048 Rex Walters 1996 TOT 12.8 54.4 48.6 11.0 0.8 3.2 6.3 1.5 0.2 2.4
.052 Bimbo Coles 1994 MIA 13.0 51.0 46.8 12.3 1.0 3.3 5.5 1.6 0.3 2.2
.054 Chris Whitney 1997 WSB 15.2 56.6 50.9 13.9 0.4 3.4 5.9 1.6 0.1 2.2
.061 Brent Barry 1997 LAC 15.0 52.6 48.3 14.5 1.0 3.6 5.1 1.7 0.5 2.5
.061 Billy McKinney 1981 TOT 13.3 56.2 50.9 13.6 0.6 3.1 6.0 1.6 0.2 2.6
.063 Lorenzo Romar 1984 TOT 14.8 50.1 46.4 13.8 0.7 3.3 6.8 1.9 0.3 2.2
.064 Steve Colter 1988 TOT 12.8 50.1 46.4 11.5 1.4 4.1 6.2 1.5 0.3 2.1
.068 Luke Ridnour 2007 SEA 13.7 50.9 46.8 13.4 0.5 2.8 6.3 1.4 0.3 2.7
.070 Jason Williams 2001 SAC 12.8 49.8 47.8 11.3 0.3 2.9 6.5 1.5 0.1 2.5

Not exactly an impressive list, although Knick fans will like the person situated at #1. For the most optimistic Knick fans, this list should lower expectations a bit. Felton isn’t the second star New Yorkers were hoping for, but perhaps after two years of Chris Duhon the bar has been lowered considerably.

Anthony Randolph

z-Sum FLName Year Tm PER TS eFG PTS ORB TRB AST STL BLK TOV
.000 Anthony Randolph 2010 GSW 18.7 52.1 44.5 18.5 3.5 10.3 2.0 1.3 2.5 2.4
.193 Joe Smith 1996 GSW 17.2 52.3 46.3 16.0 3.8 9.1 1.0 1.1 1.7 1.8
.200 Elton Brand 2000 CHI 20.6 52.8 48.2 19.5 4.2 9.7 1.9 0.8 1.6 2.7
.219 Shawn Kemp 1990 SEA 15.9 53.1 48.1 16.9 4.7 11.1 0.8 1.5 2.3 3.4
.226 Tyrus Thomas 2007 CHI 14.8 52.1 47.5 13.9 3.3 10.0 1.5 1.7 2.8 3.5
.230 Tracy McGrady 2000 TOR 20.0 50.9 46.0 17.7 2.7 7.3 3.8 1.3 2.2 2.3
.236 Kevin Garnett 1997 MIN 18.2 53.7 50.2 15.7 2.3 7.4 2.8 1.3 2.0 2.1
.257 Josh Smith 2006 ATL 15.5 50.0 44.7 12.7 2.5 7.5 2.7 0.9 2.9 2.3
.258 Chris Bosh 2005 TOR 17.5 54.7 47.2 16.2 2.3 8.6 1.8 0.9 1.3 2.2
.278 Amare Stoudemire 2003 PHO 16.2 53.0 47.3 15.5 3.5 10.1 1.1 0.9 1.2 2.6
.298 Andrei Kirilenko 2002 UTA 18.8 55.3 47.0 14.7 2.5 6.7 1.6 1.9 2.7 1.8

To steal an analogy from Kevin McElroy, if Randolph is the fruit of David Lee’s labor then Walsh got a damn ripe piece here. What’s not to like about a 21 year old who is most similar to a bunch of All Stars? This move is reminiscent of when New York acquired Marcus Camby. Both of them were highly regarded on draft night (Camby much more so), and it seemed that both of their teams gave up on them too early. Camby became known for his shot blocking and rebounding, but he had hyalophobic tendencies early on. In fact comparing the two players after their second season (Camby didn’t come into the league until he was 22 years old), Randolph is superior with regards to rebounding and scoring. It goes without saying that a 21 year old has room to grow, but if Randolph can improve his efficiency then just like with Camby, New York will have a real steal on their hands.

Kelenna Azubuike

z-Sum FLName Year Tm PER TS eFG PTS ORB TRB AST STL BLK TOV
.000 Kelenna Azubuike 2009 GSW 14.7 56.2 52.0 16.1 1.7 5.6 1.8 0.9 0.8 1.4
.035 Brian Cook 2006 LAL 15.6 57.8 54.6 15.1 2.1 6.4 1.7 0.9 0.8 1.4
.062 Rashard Lewis 2005 SEA 19.4 57.1 53.7 19.4 1.5 5.2 1.3 1.0 0.8 1.6
.064 David West 2006 NOK 19.7 55.4 51.3 18.0 2.4 7.8 1.3 0.9 0.9 1.5
.068 Kyle Korver 2007 PHI 14.2 56.9 51.8 16.8 0.5 4.1 1.7 0.9 0.3 1.8
.070 Pat Garrity 2002 ORL 12.3 55.3 53.7 13.2 1.2 5.1 1.5 0.9 0.4 1.0
.070 Hakim Warrick 2008 MEM 16.2 55.5 51.2 17.5 2.5 7.3 1.1 0.7 0.6 1.7
.075 Wally Szczerbiak 2003 MIN 17.3 56.7 52.3 17.9 1.0 4.7 2.7 0.9 0.4 1.7
.078 DerMarr Johnson 2006 DEN 11.7 54.5 52.3 13.8 0.7 3.7 2.1 1.0 1.0 1.8
.080 Wesley Person 1997 PHO 15.9 56.7 54.8 16.7 1.1 4.5 1.9 1.3 0.3 1.2
.080 James Jones 2006 PHO 13.2 55.1 51.3 14.2 0.9 5.1 1.2 0.8 1.0 0.7

I’m going to use Azubuike’s 2009 stats, considering he played only 9 games in 2010 due to injury. There are some impressive sharpshooters (Lewis, Korver, Szczerbiak) and forwards (Garrity, Lewis, West) which means that Kelenna is an efficient scorer and strong rebounder for his size. D’Antoni’s love of the long ball and Azubuike’s three point percentage of 40.9% seem like an ideal of match. Consider that Wilson Chandler is a 6-8 forward mascerading as shooting guard who hits three pointers at 10% less, and it isn’t hard envisioning Azubuike replacing him in the starting lineup. Perhaps the only thing stopping Kelenna is his recovery from last year’s injury.

Ronny Turiaf

z-Sum FLName Year Tm PER TS eFG PTS ORB TRB AST STL BLK TOV
.000 Ronny Turiaf 2010 GSW 12.6 57.4 58.2 8.5 2.2 7.9 3.7 0.9 2.2 2.0
.224 Will Perdue 1993 CHI 14.8 57.8 55.7 12.3 3.7 10.4 2.7 0.8 1.7 2.7
.296 Bo Outlaw 1999 ORL 12.8 53.5 54.5 8.6 2.3 7.1 2.4 1.7 1.8 2.5
.302 Brad Lohaus 1992 MIL 15.0 54.0 52.9 13.6 2.2 8.3 2.5 1.3 2.4 1.5
.318 John Salley 1992 DET 14.7 57.0 51.2 13.9 2.2 6.0 2.4 1.0 2.2 2.1
.364 Brad Miller 2004 SAC 19.4 57.9 51.8 13.9 2.6 10.2 4.3 0.9 1.2 2.0
.369 Kermit Washington 1979 SDC 15.0 60.3 56.2 12.1 3.9 10.4 1.6 1.1 1.6 2.4
.369 Vlade Divac 1996 LAL 17.4 54.4 51.5 14.9 2.9 9.9 3.8 1.1 1.9 2.9
.390 Mike Green 1979 SAS 12.9 52.8 49.3 12.5 2.9 7.8 2.5 0.8 2.7 2.0
.391 Shane Battier 2006 MEM 14.7 57.4 54.0 10.4 2.1 5.4 1.7 1.2 1.4 1.1
.403 Boris Diaw 2010 CHA 12.8 55.2 52.5 11.5 1.6 5.3 4.0 0.7 0.7 2.2

Turiaf has an odd mix of strong shotblocking, weak rebounding, miniscule scoring volume, and good passing. Hence why there aren’t a lot of similar players. I liked him in college, but at this point he’s strictly bench material. Teaming Turiaf with Stoudemire might bring tears to hyalophiles, but alongside Randolph they should make the paint on 32nd street an unfriendly place for the first time in a decade.

2010 Report Card: Danilo Gallinari

Perhaps Gallinari’s biggest accomplishment in 2010 was just as simple as staying on the court. The Knicks forward only managed 412 minutes in his rookie year due to a preseason back injury. The biggest question surrounding Gallo going into this season was not how well could play, but how much he could play. Being second on the team in minutes played (2747) was the best way he could answer.

As for his actual development, Gallinari showed that his rookie season wasn’t a fluke. The guy can flat out shoot. Granted he failed to live up to the spectacular shooting percentages of his rookie season, but a 57.9 TS% for a 21 year old is impressive. Best known for his three point shot, Gallo hit 38.2% of his treys at almost exactly the same rate of attempts as his rookie year. (2009: 6.3 3pa/36, 2010: 6.4 3pa/36). But Gallinari added a second aspect to his game, getting to the line. His free throw attempts nearly doubled (2.4 to 4.0 fta/36), due to some acting worthy of “Serie A.” Non-Italian speaking NBA fans might think he earned the name “Rooster” by the way he flails his body at the slightest amount of contact. When driving towards the hoop he’s smart enough to continue with the play post-whistle, even while his body is convulsing earning a fair amount of “and-ones”.

Another aspect of Gallinari’s game is his strong defense. Although he’ll never be confused for a defensive stopper, he’s quick, active and interested enough to keep his opponent in front of him. His steal and blocked shots are average at best, but he does provide good coverage on his man. Given his thespian prowess on offense, you’d hope he’d be able to add the ability to feign contact and draw charges.

There are a few weaknesses in his game he needs to round out. The first is his non existent first step. For a player that shows quickness on defense, Gallo lacks the deftness to get past his defender from the outside. This forces him to give up the ball often when on the perimeter, and appears as if he’s being passive on offense. Gallinari is more apt to put the ball on the floor from the mid/low post, so it isn’t necessarily his handle that is causing the issue. To become a more complete player, he’ll need to be able to create from the perimeter consistently.

Additionally Gallinari’s rebounding is nearly non-existent. Granted he does spend time defending the perimeter, but he is not aggressive on either side of the glass. Looking at his list of similar players, it’s clear that Gallo is lacking in this area in comparison to players of the same ilk. For a 6-10 forward, to be compared unfavorably to Tim Thomas and Quentin Richardson indicates a clear red flag in this area.

Despite his full blown hyalophobia and bouts of Griffin Syndrome Gallinari’s sophomore season was a success. Luckily he’s still young enough to address these issues. Should Gallo fix both of these deficiencies, some All Star games lie in his future.

Report Card (5 point scale):
Offense: 4
Defense: 3
Teamwork: 4
Rootability: 5
Performance/Expectations: 4

Final Grade: A-

Similarity Scores:

z-Sum FLName Year Tm PER TS eFG PTS ORB TRB AST STL BLK TOV
.000 Danilo Gallinari 2010 NYK 14.8 57.5 52.3 16.0 0.9 5.2 1.8 1.0 0.8 1.4
.058 Chase Budinger 2010 HOU 14.1 54.5 52.2 15.9 0.9 5.3 2.1 0.8 0.3 1.2
.058 Dirk Nowitzki 2000 DAL 17.5 56.4 51.3 17.6 1.2 6.5 2.5 0.8 0.8 1.7
.069 Luol Deng 2007 CHI 18.7 56.0 51.8 18.1 1.7 6.8 2.4 1.1 0.6 1.8
.070 Rashard Lewis 2001 SEA 17.3 58.7 55.0 15.2 1.9 7.2 1.7 1.2 0.6 1.7
.076 Martell Webster 2008 POR 12.0 54.8 51.6 13.5 0.9 5.0 1.5 0.7 0.5 1.4
.101 Austin Daye 2010 DET 12.8 54.6 51.4 13.7 1.3 6.8 1.3 1.0 1.0 1.9
.108 C.J. Miles 2009 UTA 11.8 54.6 51.5 14.6 1.0 3.7 2.4 1.0 0.3 1.4
.114 Omri Casspi 2010 SAC 13.0 52.9 50.2 14.8 1.4 6.5 1.8 1.0 0.3 1.8
.123 Tim Thomas 1999 TOT 16.0 54.5 51.1 15.9 2.2 5.6 2.0 1.2 0.5 2.0
.126 Quentin Richardson 2002 LAC 17.4 53.4 50.4 18.0 1.9 5.6 2.1 1.3 0.4 1.7

After a full season, we have a better idea of what Gallo is like. On the good side is that his efficiency is the second highest on this list, and his steals/blocks are near the top as well. On the bad side his rebounding is among the worst, and his PER is well below the top guys (Dirk, Lewis, and even Deng). What’s most odd is that there are three other youngsters on this list (Budinger, Daye and Cassipi). It’ll be interesting how the four separate themselves from each other as the seasons progress.

GOTME (Part V): Power Forward

The Greatest PF Of the Modern Era: Tim Duncan

Player Top PER 5 Best PER Career #1 PER # of top 10 PER
Duncan 27.1 26.8 25.1 0 12
Barkley 28.9 27.3 24.6 0 14
Malone 28.9 27.5 23.9 1 13
Garnett 29.4 27.3 23.7 2 9
Dirk 28.1 26.4 23.8 2 8

Is it fair for us to use Championships, a team statistic, when measuring the greatness of an individual player? If we do, then we would have to conclude that of the five great power forwards of the modern era, Tim Duncan is the Greatest with a capital G. He sports four rings on his hand, to a combined one of the other three. And true, he’s done it with or without Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and David Robinson on his side, but he’s also accomplished it without having to face Michael Jordan. Tim Duncan entered the league as a rookie the same year Jordan would clinch his second three-peat and leave it. So to make the case for Duncan, I’d like to put aside championships. Unlike Barkley and Malone who had to suffer inglorious defeats at the dunks of His Airness, Duncan’s hand he was dealt suddenly came from a fair deck—and what a hand he was dealt.

The Big Fundamental does it with defense. Until his Spurs stumbled in this past season to the 5th best defense, as measured by Defensive Efficiency, Duncan’s team finished in the top three for his first eleven seasons. His personal defensive efficiency metrics bore this out—he’s led the league three times (2005, 2006, 2007) and been in the top four in every season but last, when he fell all the way to sixth. He does it with both blocks and rebounds. Even though it is intrinsically a conflict of interest to both go after the block and set yourself in position for a rebound, Duncan is a regular league leader in both categories (18.4%, career rebounding rate; 2.3 blocks per 36 min). With those endlessly long arms and huge hands, he rotates to help in the lane, stands as straight as possible and lets the ball hit him in the hands. This doesn’t sound sexy, and it isn’t. But it works.

While his defense helps prevent the easiest buckets from being scored against his team, Duncan sets himself up in the low post and helps score them for his team. He’s never set the league on fire with his offense, but with a healthy True-Shooting Percentage (55.3%), a high Usage rate (28.2), and a low turnover ratio for his position (12.5%), Duncan is the strong base for an offense that has finished in the top ten half of his seasons.

Reserves: Charles Barkley, Kevin Garnett, Karl Malone

If Duncan is the #1 greatest of his time, then Garnett is more of #1A than a #2. Despite my earlier moratorium on judging them in the context of their teams, imagine if we could go back in time and swap their careers. It’s easy to imagine that Garnett would have accomplished everything Duncan did with the Spurs—and Duncan may have floundered with early first round exits, just as surely as Garnett did playing alongside such NBA luminaries as Trent Hudson, Michael Olowandi, and Wally Szcerbiak.

Garnett’s numbers have been just as good as Duncan’s at every stage of his career. He’s just as good a rebounder (17.1%, career), though he blocks less shots (1.6 per 36 min), but just as tough a defensive presence, as his Boston Celtics team proved. He’s a better passer (20.5% career assist ratio), with a comparable TS% (54.7%) to Duncan, and he’s led the league in PER twice (29.4 in 2004, 28.2 in 2005) —a feat Duncan never pulled off. I am at least refreshed to see Garnett earn his championship before the intensity of his game finally does away with his knees.

Unlike Duncan who is a center masquerading as a power forward, Malone perfectly fit the archetype of a Power forward. The prototypical bruiser, The Mailman hip-checked the competition right out of the way on his forays to the basket. Gliding lay-up after gliding lay-up, healthy dollops of free throws, and an understated proclivity for the open court, long the games most physically fit player was for a few years its second-best—that pesky Jordan again. He did lead the league in PER (28.9) in his first winning MVP season at the evergreen age of 33. That figure did drop to 25.4 for his second league MVP in the strike-shortened season.

To “round” out the top four, we turn to the offensive powerhouse and true mouth of the South, Charles Barkley. Sir Charles ranks sixth all-time in TS% (61.2%) , a feat he accomplished by out-“muscling” everyone under the basket, cleaning up the offensive glass, and throwing down bone-jarring dunk after dunk. What makes his rebounding dominance so impressive (24.4 on the defensive glass, and a world-breaking 12.5% on the offensive), is he had two things going against him: height and skill. The height should have held him back pulling in opponent misses. It didn’t. And most offensive rebound leaders are otherwise unskilled rotation staples, who are left uncovered on defensive rotations. Not Barkley. He was the best player on his team, everyone was geared to stop him, and he grabbed his misses anyway.

On defense, Sir Charles wasn’t exactly the sieve some make him out to be, but then again, with nary a defensive rating under 100, he wasn’t exactly shutting down the opposition either. Despite his so-called physical limitations, Barkley proved to be an effective player well into his mid-30’s, serving as a perfect example of Bill James maxim that unique players—and in Sir Charles’s case, we do mean unique—tend to age better.

Honorable Mention: Dirk Nowitzki
Dirk is probably the most skilled seven footer ever to play the game—he shoots like a guard, rebounds like a center—and even added a D to his name in recent years. We don’t think of Dirk as a reliable defender, nor do we remember Kevin McHale as a bit of a softie, but the big German actually has better Defensive Rating numbers than the Celtic stalwart. Nowitzki led the league in PER twice (28.1 in 2006, 27.6 in 2007). He does this by hitting every kind of shot he takes (47.2% FG, 37.8% on three-point attempts, and 87.2% on FTs), adding up to a robust TS % (58.1%). He just doesn’t stand and wait for the ball either. He uses 26.8% of his team’s possessions and gives the ball away a paltry 9.0%. But that being said, he’s already hit 30, and you can’t help but fear that his best years are now officially behind him. Has his opportunity for a championship passed him by, or will his career push out into his twilight years? After all, you don’t forget to shoot and he’s not getting any shorter.

Knicks 2010 Season Preview Part 3

[Part 1 is here.]
[Part 2 is here.]

David Lee – Power Forward/Center

What the Stats Say
Amid all the hubbub about David Lee “playing out of position at center” and the Knicks “needing to find a true big man so that Lee can move back to his natural position,” one simple fact has largely been lost: David Lee is better at playing center than he is at playing power forward. Don’t believe it? Check out this dichotomy (courtesy of 82games.com)

David Lee 48-Minute Production by Position (2008-2009)

POS FGA eFG% FTA iFG Reb Ast T/O Blk PF Pts PER*
PF 13.7 0.491 4.1 67% 10.3 2.6 2.6 0.3 6.0 16.0 11.5
C 16.3 0.552 5.7 68% 16.6 3.0 2.5 0.3 4.3 22.4 22.0

Too small a sample size? Lee’s 2007-08 numbers, mostly compiled at the 4, tell a less extreme version of the same story:

David Lee 48-Minute Production by Position (2007-2008)

POS FGA eFG% FTA iFG Reb Ast T/O Blk PF Pts PER*
PF 12.3 0.543 4.7 74% 14.0 1.8 2.1 0.6 4.0 17.3 18.7
C 13.6 0.570 5.2 73% 16.7 2.2 1.6 0.5 4.8 19.6 23.4

Pretty overwhelming, no? Combine the two seasons and Lee has a solid starter’s PER at the 4 and approximately Patrick Ewing’s career PER at the 5. But when you think about Dave’s game, it all kind of makes sense. Emergent 15-footer notwithstanding, Lee scores and rebounds way more efficiently when closer to the basket. He draws more fouls (and gives fewer fouls) against centers than against quicker, more explosive power forwards. And everybody’s offense improves when there’s no Zach Randolph or Eddy Curry on the floor.

Given that Lee defends the five better than the four also (says so here), the idea that the Knicks can compete while playing a skinny young stretch 4 and a 6’9″ center may not be so crazy after all. (You know what, forget that I said that. It is crazy. Maybe not “We are completely confident that we can move Jared Jeffries’ contract “crazy, but certainly “Sure, Starks is 2 for 16, but I’ve got a good feeling about this next shot” crazy.)

What My Gut Says
It’s hard to be critical of a guy like Lee, who has been efficient, hard-working, and likable since day one. There’s no doubt that Dave is capable of being a key player on a championship team and, bless his heart, he actually seems to hope that team will be (a very different version of) the Knicks. His defensive shortcomings have been well-documented and his offense largely comes from put-backs and fastbreaks, but he’s excellent at what he does and there’s no reason to believe that he’s in line for a step back this year.

Al Harrington – Forward/Sneaker Salesman

What the Stats Say
That players generally perform better against bad teams than against good teams is essentially a truism. It is the rare player who is able to elevate his game to such an extent that he puts up his best numbers against the league’s elite. For the most part, players show a weak but consistent inverse relationship between opponent quality and statistical achievement.

And then there’s Al Harrington, whose shooting splits look like this:

Player Opp Gm Min Fga Fg% 3pA 3p% Fta Ft% Pts
Harrington Good 22 764 16.7 .398 6.2 .316 4.4 78% 18.6
Harrington Average 27 983 17.6 .432 7.0 .349 3.9 82% 20.9
Harrington Poor 19 632 15.8 .525 6.2 .436 4.4 79% 22.8

That all rounds out to a .457 eFG% against good teams (which, were it his full-season mark, would have been good for 161st out of 181 eligible NBA players), .501 against average teams (102nd of 181), and a staggering .611 against “poor” teams (3rd of 181, trailing dunk-and-layup-only centers Erick Dampier and Joel Przybilla).

The disparity in Harrington’s splits is by far the most extreme of any Knick, and likely tell the story of a player who feasts on open looks against undisciplined defenses but struggles to adjust his game when met with legitimate defensive resistance.

What My Gut Says
To watch Harrington in small doses is to wonder why he isn’t a superstar; to watch him every night is to wonder whether he could ever get serious minutes on a winner. His size, athleticism, shooting, and ball-handling ability provide him with an extremely rare skill set, but his streakiness, frequently poor shot selection, and puzzling inability (unwillingness?) to rebound suggest that he is less Dirk Nowitzki than (a poor man’s) Charlie Villanueva. He certainly fits the system, he seems to genuinely love being a Knick, and, on a bad team, he provides enough matchup headaches to be a net positive. But his long-term desire to remain in orange and blue will prove futile unless accompanied by a willingness to play for far below his perceived market value – he’s not an efficient enough scorer to be the second option on a contender, nor is he good enough at anything else to be an effective role player.

Jordan Hill – Forward/Center

What the Stats Say
According to kenpom.com, Hill was the 14th best offensive rebounder in Division I last year, which, if it translates, will be a major addition to a Knicks team that ranked 27th of 30 NBA teams in offensive rebounding rate last year. But, as is often the case with bootlegged copies of foreign movies and the entire musical career of David Hasselhoff, the problem may lie in the translation. To quote John Hollinger’s pre-draft player evaluations:

The other big surprise down here is Jordan Hill, who could go as high as No. 4 but rates 26th in the Draft Rater. Hill had solid rebounding and scoring numbers, but his percentages weren’t off the charts, and his poor assist and turnover numbers were a red flag. Although one might think that ballhandling categories wouldn’t matter for a power forward, apparently they do — pure point rating (a measure of how a player passes and handles the ball) is a pretty strong success indicator for frontcourt players, and only four prospects rated worse than Hill.

Time will tell.

What My Gut Says
Hill’s summer league performance doesn’t have anybody jumping out of their shoes. He disappeared for long stretches and, even at his best, didn’t do anything to suggest that he has anything approximating star potential. But, as has been said before, if you’re 6’10” and athletic, you’ll get your fair share of opportunities. Hill should get some burn this year, but his true worth will be determined down the road, after free agency clears up the frontcourt logjam and the Knicks’ intended investment in two high-priced free agents places an added premium on the value of young, inexpensive talent.

Knicks 2010 Season Preview Part 2

[In case you missed it, Part I is here.]

Larry Hughes SG

What the Numbers Say
Through the first 4 preseason games, Larry is 1 fer 20. Yipes.

What the Team Says
“Larry Hughes is a guy that can score points and create his own shot. And I think that’s also very good in Mike’s system.” – Donnie Walsh (after the trade deadline deal that netted Hughes for Tim Thomas.)

What the Player Says
“I’m a proven scorer in this league, so it’s not a problem for me,” Hughes said after the Knicks held an open practice for fans at Fordham University yesterday. “It’s the preseason. I’m not too concerned.”

What My Gut Says
HeyLarryHughesPleaseStopTakingSoManyBadShots.com really just about sums it up. Alas, I fear good old Larry has the potential to be this year’s Marbury. No, I don’t mean he’s going to eat Vaseline, it’s just that he has a history of pitching a fit when presented with less playing time than he believes he merits. Nor does he seem to have a firm grasp on what his own abilities are. Proven scorer, my fanny.

Wilson Chandler – SG (in name only)/SF

What the Numbers Say
I can’t parse the stats for the life of me, but Wilson Chandler pops up all over the place in Dave Berri’s “Overrated players of 08-09” list.

What the Team Says
“He’s a great kid that works hard and I really think he has a chance,” D’Antoni said. “That will depend on him and the work that he puts in in the summertime, and he thinks he’s going to do it. I hope he does.”

What the Player Says
“Shake ’em up, shake ’em up, shake ’em up, shake ’em. Roll ’em in a circle of fellas and watch me break ’em” (a tweet in response to Nate Rob’s tweet) Apparently they like tweeting Ice Cube lyrics to one another. Good times.

What My Gut Says
For some reason, in spite of his rim-rattling dunks and blocks that send the rock into the (very expensive) seats, Ill Will fails to make much of an impression on me. Perhaps it’s because he has fewer facial expressions, succeed or fail, than Paris Hilton. He’s a nice two-way SF who if he develops a more consistent jumper and solid handle could be Shawn Marion-lite. A quality guy to have and could certainly be a part of the rotation on a contender, I’d still have dealt him for the 5th pick/Ricky Rubio in a NY minute (assuming that it was even remotely possible).

Danilo Gallinari SF

What the Numbers Say
Danilo Gallinari (2009, Age 20) .448 FG, .444 3FG, .963 FT, 4.8 reb/36, 14.9 pts/36
Dirk Nowitzki (1999, Age 20 ) .405 FG, .205 3FG, .773 FT, 6.1 reb/36, 14.9 pts/36
(Full player comparison at Basketball-Reference.com)

What the Team Says
“He’s the best shooter I’ve ever seen” — Mike D’Antoni

What the Player Says
“Wake up at 9.02 (because I do not like alarms perfect!) … Breakfast with milk and Nesquick … accompanied with biscuits or cornflakes in the morning … I need a lot of carbohydrates! Then long session in the bathroom to get ready, get dressed, I put the lenses, a bit of hair gel and so ready to go to training.” — Il Gallo

What My Gut Says
I amo Il Gallo! So, ciò sembra un po’gaio, ma è il suo soprannome. Che sono intendendo fare? One of the things that’s actually disappointed me in Danilo’s development is that his English has really improved. As a result, he sounds a lot less like Roberto Benigni/Chico Marx. It’s too bad. I was really looking forward with the post-game interview with Jill “Gimme A Minute” Martin where he screeched, “I want to make love to the firmament!” That said, I think he puts up Nowitzki-like #’s in year two (15 ppg, 6 rpg)

And even though he hasn’t officially made the team yet, I have to say that I‘m seriously pulling for Marcus Landry. Maybe it’s because he’s making the transition from undersized college center to SG/SF and the last player I can think of who pulled this off successfully was Earl Monroe, who played the pivot/with his back to the basket at Winston-Salem in the 60’s.

2009 Report Card: Jared Jeffries

It’s hard to believe that Jared Jeffries averaged a half a game’s worth of minutes (23.4 mpg) for the Knicks last year. It’s hard to blame D’Antoni because Jeffries was able to defend multiple positions, and the Knicks have been short on defenders at every position. Prior to the season start, D’Antoni wanted Jeffries to play center, but that never materialized. At some point during the season, the Knicks used the 6-11 forward to cover fast point guards. The idea worked for a short while, as Jeffries’ combination of length and quickness was able to disrupt the rhythm of smaller players. However it was short lived as eventually they just sped past him to the basket.

Other than defensive versatility, Jeffries doesn’t bring anything else to the table other than offensive rebounding (3.5 oreb/36). He doesn’t block a lot of shots or rebound well enough for a 6-11 guy. His scoring is dreadful, both in volume (8.1 pts/36) and efficiency (ts% 47.3%). By the way, if you hear rumors that Jeffries is working on his jumpshot this offseason, don’t get excited. Last year reports came in that Jeffries practicing his jumper, and he shot 26.9% on them, almost identical to the 26.7% the year before. New York could use to move Jeffries this season because it would give the team an extra $6.9M in free space next summer, but even D’Antoni’s offense can’t make Jeffries look good.

Report Card (5 point scale):
Offense: 1
Defense: 3
Teamwork: 2
Rootability: 1
Performance/Expectations: 1

Grade: F

Similarity Scores:

z-Sum FLName Year Tm PER TS% eFG% PTS ORB TRB AST STL BLK TOV
.000 Jared Jeffries 2009 NYK 9.4 .473 .441 8.1 3.5 6.3 2.2 1.3 0.9 1.8
.067 Joel Kramer 1983 PHO 8.8 .459 .423 8.0 3.2 6.9 2.9 1.2 0.5 1.7
.077 Danny Vranes 1986 SEA 7.8 .475 .461 6.9 2.6 6.4 1.6 1.4 0.7 1.3
.096 Reggie King 1985 SEA 6.9 .477 .423 7.0 1.8 5.1 2.2 1.2 0.5 1.8
.112 Keith Askins 1995 MIA 12.3 .493 .442 9.7 3.6 8.3 1.6 1.5 0.7 1.1
.113 Eduardo Najera 2004 DAL 11.5 .483 .451 8.8 3.3 7.8 1.2 1.7 0.9 1.4
.124 Mark Madsen 2003 LAL 9.3 .458 .423 8.0 4.0 7.3 1.8 0.7 0.9 1.2
.137 Johnny Baum 1974 TOT 11.6 .480 .450 12.1 2.4 5.9 1.8 1.1 0.5 1.4
.142 Jaren Jackson 1995 PHI 8.7 .446 .397 9.8 2.5 5.9 2.7 1.3 0.7 2.4
.144 Jabari Smith 2005 NJN 8.4 .482 .422 9.2 1.6 6.2 2.1 1.4 0.8 2.2
.145 E.C. Coleman 1978 GSW 9.1 .493 .475 9.3 2.3 7.5 2.0 1.3 0.5 1.9

Looking at the year column on this list, there aren’t a lot of players of Jeffries’ mold these days. Perhaps the almighty dollar has taught youngsters that developing scoring (at least in volume) is more important than other abilities. Or perhaps this list shows us that if you’re really tall, you contribute almost nothing and still be in the NBA. The difference between Jared Jeffries and Eduardo Najera or Mark Madsen is that they were fortunate enough to play on good teams. Had the Knicks been a great team in the last 5 years, trading Jeffries probably wouldn’t be as difficult.

And I’ll end with a quote from 2002:

Question: Is there a player in the NBA right now who you can compare your game to?

Jeffries: I’d say Danny Manning, a Dirk Nowitzki-type. I’m 6-11, so there are a lot of different things I can do as far as handling the ball and shooting, passing.

2008-9 Game Thread: Knicks vs Mavericks

The Knicks face a slumping 2-7 Dallas team at home this Sunday evening.

The Mavericks are on a five game losing streak and consider this a must-win.

From the Star-Telegram via Mavs Moneyball:

“We’ve got to get a win somehow,” Dirk Nowitzki said. “Scratch, fight, whatever it takes. It’s not pretty. We’ve got to find a way to win this game in New York. New York has got incredibly better and they’re a run-and-gun team now. We’ve got to find a way to get in there, get some stops and find a way to win the game.”

New York is looking for their second 3-game win streak of the season. Tip-off is at 6pm.