Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Anthony Randolph Study

Although losing David Lee was painful for most Knick fans, New Yorkers should feel lucky that they received something in return. Another team could have signed Lee to a contract without compensating the Knicks. Instead New York got three players to fill useful positions. Ronny Turiaf should give New York a backup center that blocks shots. Kelenna Azubuike will provide outside shooting and defense at shooting guard. Both of these fill weaknesses at positions the team has had over the last few years.

However the real prize in the Lee trade is Anthony Randolph. The young forward can rebound (11.1 reb/36) and block shots (2.4 blk/36) at a rate worthy of an NBA All Star. Unfortunately he’s not an efficient scorer, averaging a TS% of 50.6% in his first season and 52.1% in his second. So why would such a poor scorer be valued so highly (at least by yours truly)?

The last time I looked at a young Knick big man was after the team acquired Eddy Curry. Back in 2006, the team had hopes he would develop into a franchise center. Curry could score at a high volume with a high efficiency. Unfortunately he did it at the expense of turnovers, rebounds, and blocked shots. Many thought he could improve on those areas, that at his age most players got better in most areas. By looking at how players did in those areas I found that Curry would never develop into a superstar. Players’ shot blocking only declined as they got older, their rebounding peaked slightly at around the age of 27-30, while turnovers improved with age.

Anthony Randolph is pretty much the anti-Eddy Curry. Although both entered the league at a very young age, Randolph is already an accomplished rebounder and shot blocker. His main weakness, shooting efficiency, was a Curry strength. So it doesn’t make sense to compare him to Curry, since the two have different skillsets. To gauge Randolph’s probable future, it makes sense to chart how TS% changes for players as they mature. One easy way to do this is to get an average TS% of all players at each age (for the 1980 season onward with a minimum of 1000 minutes played on the season).

As you can see the average player’s TS% is considerably lower at the age of 20, and rises to a peak at around the ages of 27-30. I considered that this list was possibly augmented by weak players who retire early, which would artificially inflate TS% for the older years. So I ran the numbers again; my second group consisted of players who had at least 8 years of service in the league. This should eliminate any artificial increase due to forced retirement.

As you can see, the chart looks pretty much the same with the peak in the 27-30 range. One difference is that players aged 21 or less struggled much more so. Which brought me to wonder if the bump at a later age is due to players coming into the league out of college. If there’s an influx of more skilled players at the ages of 22-24, then you would expect that to inflate the numbers at those ages. So I performed a third study consisting of players who played 1000 or more minutes in a single season by the age of 20.

The trend is almost straight line upwards because the players that started early and lasted to their mid-30s were probably very above average to begin with. Since it’s highly unlikely that players suddenly get better at that age, I cropped the list at age 33 for a more appropriate looking set.

Since these graphs all contain similar curves, it’s reasonable to conclude that the average TS% increases until the player is about 27 years old, levels off, then declines in their early 30s. Another way to look at this is figure out the player’s peak TS%, then list the other seasons as a percentage of that.

Age All Players 8+ seasons 20- year old rookies
18 97.6% 96.4% 93.8%
19 95.5% 95.6% 91.8%
20 97.2% 96.0% 93.4%
21 97.7% 95.6% 96.1%
22 97.9% 97.0% 95.1%
23 98.3% 98.1% 96.4%
24 99.3% 99.4% 98.2%
25 99.5% 99.4% 98.1%
26 99.8% 100.0% 97.3%
27 99.5% 99.8% 100.0%
28 100.0% 99.9% 98.0%
29 99.5% 99.2% 99.6%
30 99.1% 98.4% 97.5%

The chart above says that a 20 year old’s TS% will be somewhere between 93.4% and 97.2% of their peak TS%. Looking further down a few rows it seems that a young player struggles with efficiency until the ages of 23-25.

So what does this say about Anthony Randolph? It tells us not to put too much into poor shooting efficiency for very young players. Unlike Eddy Curry, Randolph is likely to fix his main deficiency as he ages. Since Randolph posted a TS% of 52.1% in his age 20 season, with a normal career path his TS% should be somewhere around the league average (54%) by age 24. Unfortunately, this change won’t happen overnight, and Knick fans are likely to have to sit through their fair share of bad shooting nights for the next year or two before Randolph puts it all together.

62 comments on “The Anthony Randolph Study

  1. ess-dog

    Excellent, Mike. Cause for much rejoicing. A good model for Randolph could be Josh Smith. At 20 he had a ts% of .500 and a lower PER and WS than Randolph. But he slowly improved each year and had a breakout year this year – while still only having a .536 ts%.
    Randolph could easily have a Josh Smith 2010 year next year, a PER of 21. They are comparative in blocks/36 and Randolph is a better rebounder per 36. Smith is probably the better defender at this point, but Randolph is already a plus defender. And from the scouting report, it sounds like Randolph has the ability to be a better scorer than Smith.
    Someone who’s game is even more comparable might be Kevin Garnett. Randolph’s already a better rebounder/shot blocker than Garnett at the same age, while Garnett started out a slightly better shooter. Again, it sounds like Randolph comes equipped with a better handle and slashing ability than Garnett, the pure power forward had, making him a ridiculously good fit for SSOL. Garnett took his big leap at age 21 – this year for Randolph – so this could be a very telling year for Randolph. Count me in as someone that doesn’t want to see him get traded.

  2. Frank

    Great write-up Mike! I have a feeling Randolph will have a TS near 54-55 in this offense, if only because of the job D’Antoni did last year in changing Ill Will’s shot selection from the horribleness of Oct/Nov to the driving and mid-range game of Dec-Mar. Even including October and November, Chandler increased his “inside” percentage of his shots from 26–>38% from 08-09 to 09-10 leading to an increase in eFG of 48–>50% (and TS 51–>53.4). In addition, it was under D’Antoni that David Lee improved his mid-range jumper so much — not sure if that is all DLee’s hard work or good coaching (probably both).

  3. Z-man

    I also think that talent (especially defensively) and length in the front line is going to be a must in order to be a serious contender for the next 5 years. If we are patient and don’t shoot the whole wad on Paul, I believe that we are closer to being the anti-Heat than we would be w/o Randolph.

    I believe that Randolph will fall somewhere between Marcus Camby and Kevin Garnett (his motor is more like them than like Josh Smith or Joe Smith and he is more skilled than Tyrus Thomas.) He is playing on a rookie contract. He is simply too valuable to give up at this point. If this front line gels, I don’t think we will have a hard time luring an all-star caliber guard (PG or SG, take your pick). My preference at this point is Deron Williams, mainly due to his size. Not that I will cry if we have to “settle” for Paul, but I think patience is the more prudent path here. We might just get him anyway w/o having to give up so much.

    If Randolph turns out to be more like Camby than Smith or Garnett, I can live with that. Camby was arguably the MVP of the Knick team that lost in the finals to the Spurs in 1999 and played to a PER of nearly 25 in the playoffs. Randolph is an incredible value at his current contract.

  4. JK47

    The Hornets insist they won’t trade Paul at this time. This would actually be good news for us I think. This would allow us to evaluate the pieces we have and make a run at Melo at the trade deadline. If we can acquire Melo, it might be easier to bring in Paul or Deron Williams.

    Paul-Good Defensive SG-Melo-Stoudemire-Randolph.

  5. Ted Nelson

    Z-Man,

    Size is an interesting consideration as far as its correlation with longevity, but otherwise Chris Paul is about twice as good at the game of basketball as Deron Williams: http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/pcm_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=1&p1=paulch01&y1=2010&p2=willide01&y2=2010
    http://dberri.wordpress.com/nba-team-reviews-2008-09/
    Deron Williams is very good and I’d settle for him, but Chris Paul is AMAZING.

    JK47,

    I’d probably just wait for next off-season instead of giving up assets to get Melo. The two ways I see getting Melo in a trade are 1. we are still waiting for Gallo and/or Randolph to “play up to their potential”… i.e. still valuable enough to be good trade bait, but still maddeningly underachieving. and/or 2. Wilson Chandler becomes so valuable that he can be traded with expiring contracts for Melo. Otherwise I’d just wait to take a shot at Melo next off-season. If things go well both Gallo and Randolph could already be better than Melo this season…

    Also, does the NBA restrict the times of year when a player can agree to an extension or are they free to re-sign with their current team whenever?

  6. NYKjames

    Very intriguing information, looking forward to seeing where Randolph will fit in. Whether it will be the 3, 4, or maybe even 5 (if he puts on 40lbs of muscle). With that being said, where do we think Randolph will play?
    And if Turiaf is the “backup” center (I thought I read that he would start), who will start at the 5?

    Eddy Curry is a fat, unreliable problem; and I’ve read that Timofey Mosgov will be a backup. Also, i’ve read that STAT will be playing his natural position (4). So again, who will start at Center for the Knicks? Not to mention, there is a huge whole at 2 guard.

  7. Frank

    So Hollinger just revealed his “winners” of the offseason:

    http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/insider/columns/story?columnist=hollinger_john&page=winners-100726

    My question is — where are the Knicks?
    OK – if his definition of success is that they signed Lebron and Amare, I think that is too high a bar, especially considering the bar for Chicago and Milwaukee “winning” were Boozer/Korver and Drew Gooden/Maggette, respectively.

    What did we do? We signed Amare, who is IMHO better than Bosh. Then we turned David Lee into 3 actually good players on reasonable or expiring deals instead of losing Lee for nothing. We signed Felton, the best PG on the market, to a great deal. And we kept flexibility going forward for Melo/Parker or Paul.

    Sometimes I sit back and try to look from a bird’s eye view to judge whether I am thinking too much like a homer and not like an objective fan. I just don’t see how the addition of Amare, Randolph, Turiaf, Azu, Felton coupled with the losses of ballhogs like Harrington and the rest of the expiring crew — how is that not a WIN?

    Short of signing Lebron + Amare/Bosh, I think this is about as well as our offseason could have realistically gone.

    The bias against the Knicks on ESPN is so maddening.

  8. stratomatic

    @7

    I agree. ESPN is very biased against the Knicks, but so are a lot of former players on NBATV and TNT. I’m not sure where all the hate comes from. It’s not like we are the Yankees buying the best talent and winning all the time. IMO it would be great for the league if the Knicks were good again.

    Mike,

    Terriific study on the average development of TS%.

    Let’s hope that D’Antoni is enough of an expert at running an offense that he can acclerate the process with Randolph because I think he’s critical to the team having a good season.

  9. Nick C.

    Super study and I liked how you factored in the guys who “washout” factor. As for the team what’s not to like unless you were Lebron or nothing. Lee is all that went out of consequence and in came Amare, Randolph, a shot blocker in Turiaf and KA on the wing.

  10. Ted Nelson

    Great analysis Mike. Puts things into perspective well as far as AR’s scoring.

    Especially promising is that the 3rd column of the table seems to be the most relevant to Randolph… the most drilled down. If AR were on the third column path last season, we might expect something like a TS% of 54 next season and 56 at his peak. (Favorite Knicks fan man-crush Carmelo Anthony, for example, is at 54.4% on his career.)

    This does seem to temper the fears that Randolph is terribly inefficient at scoring beyond any hope: he’s about average for his age and we should *expect* him to continue to improve to the NBA average or better. However, it also shows how unlikely Randolph is to become a great scorer. So the fears that he might shoot *too much* may be accurate… depending on how his scoring develops.

    This is largely subjective, but my problem with comparing AR to KG is that KG seems to be one of the fiercest competitors in NBA history… This is not intangible, in that KG is also arguably one of the better defenders in NBA history. Randolph said on the radio a month or so ago that he’s a 1-through-3… A guard/wing… It’s still very much a question in my mind whether he’s going to man the middle of a defense or whether he fancies himself more of a T-Mac type. KG played more on the perimeter at first until he gained strength, so this isn’t a *huge* concern… the question, though, is whether AR has the mentality to reach his defensive potential. And that also extends to people’s fears he’ll shoot too much… Basically, it will be up to AR how good he wants to be. He can be his own worst enemy or his own best friend. I’m not saying he won’t do it, but I do understand people’s fears.
    KG’s also a great passer, which has helped him become so valuable despite not being a great scorer. AR may be able to improve in this area given his skill-set, but his ast% to date doesn’t point to an Odom or KG like passing ability.
    The same things can be said about Camby. Always a bigman and came into the league as a better passer than AR.

  11. Ted Nelson

    @7 and 9,

    I definitely think the Knicks should be on any list (though I don’t think Felton is a big help there). Not only do they stand to win more games this season, but more importantly they are much better positioned for the future than they were entering last season or ending last season.

    Rather than any malice against NYC or the NYK, could be that the Knicks have become the Clippers. No one is betting on the Clippers no matter who they add (like… I don’t know… former #1 pick who was compared by many to Tim Duncan… what’s his name… Blake Griffin, for example). Their owner is incompetent (eccentric if you want to be nice to the guy, I guess). They’ve been so awful for so long that along with death and taxes you can count on the Clippers being bad. Same with the Knicks the last 10 years.

    Mainstream media analysts go 99% on momentum. Maybe there is some real logic behind this, but more likely I think it’s just some combination of human nature and a refusal on their part to do the work (and hire the people) necessary to do the job well. If a young team won a bunch of games at the end of the season and made the playoffs… have momentum in the right direction… they will inevitably be crowned the next big thing. Same thing in the other direction. (I admit I was guilty of this with Boston last season as well: they’re old and didn’t make the finals last season… obviously can’t beat Cavs and Magic…) The ups and downs of the media on the Bulls since the Jordan era ended is a pretty good case study on this: punching bag, sure thing future champions, underachievers, the *only* place LeBron can possibly sign because Derrick Rose is so “amazing.”

    I am particularly disappointed with Hollinger, since I thought he’d bring more rationality to ESPN. Guess I should have known from PER that he would not. He doesn’t want to go against the grain and wants to make sure he’s always passing the smell test. And, in fairness, the higher ups might make him. That’s who he was before ESPN, too, though, so I shouldn’t be surprised at all.

  12. Z-man

    @5 Ted,
    Agree that all things being equal, Paul is much better than Deron. That being said, the question is: do we take the risk on losing Paul now by not trading Randolph and other good pieces, and possibly taking on Okafor’s contract, or do we wait, risk losing Paul, and possibly have to settle for a guy like Williams? Paul’s small size is a factor for me, maybe more of a gut feeling than anything else. He is certainly a tough little guy and an absolute monster at PG when healthy. On the other hand, I think a Knick front line of Amar’e-Gallo-Randolph has a chance of being an historically dynamic frontcourt combo, at a cost of less than $25 million for the next couple of years. I would be very reluctant to give that up before at least getting to training camp.

    If Walsh could figure out a way to keep those 3 together AND get Paul, that would earn him sainthood in my book.

  13. DS

    @7 and @9 – Guys, I get annoyed as you do at ESPN. But we’ve had NINE STRAIGHT losing seasons. “Analysts” are generally not going to go out on a limb and say they love what the Knicks are doing. Also, I think Hollinger has endorsed each of the Knicks’ offseason moves.

    If you’re looking for some approval:

    Felton was rated the best “steal” for a PG signing (Insider):
    http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/insider/news/story?id=5399124

    And Fields is the NUMBER SIX rookie to watch according to Thorpe (Insider); “When considering talent plus fit, I think this may be the best overall draft selection of all 60 picks”:
    http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/insider/news/story?id=5399124

    *Awesome analysis on Randolph… but don’t these numbers also suggest that Randolph will always be a below average shooter for his age?

  14. Z-man

    @11
    I also agree that KG is a reach regarding AR’s upside. However, coaching and situation is part of helping guys reach their potential. If AR had played with Popovich, or on a team with a stud distributer, I would be more concerned. The fact that he played for Nellie, and played the majority of his games with Stephen Jackson and Monta Ellis as the marquis players, gives me hope that there is something to be gained here beyond the stats.

  15. Ted Nelson

    Z-Man,

    I agree that it’ll be nice to see what these guys can do for a while before making any decisions. I doubt the Knicks have a choice, anyway, as far as Chris Paul, since I doubt NO trades him before the season.

    While Amare-Randolph-Gallo *might* be a great frontcourt, I would be careful overrating potential. I’m hoping it happens, but I wouldn’t bet on both AR and DG reaching their potential from an objective point of view. And also factor in Amare’s post-Nash adjustment and long-term health as another question mark… Three hugely positive answers just cannot be statistically likely. That is the kind of luck it takes to have a great team, though.

    If you have the chance to trade any of the 3 for a guy who is better than they have virtually any chance of being, I think you have to do it. Chris Paul is that guy. The longevity concerns are definitely there, though. (Not that he’s comparable as a player, but Isiah Thomas is the classic example of a sub-6 foot HOF guard and he peaked around Paul’s age before retiring after his 32 year old season… still, 8 seasons of Paul even on the decline would be pretty great… by 2012 maybe the equation does shift substantially in Deron’s favor…)

  16. Frank O.

    @14
    DS, I’ll go you one better.
    Since 1970, the Knicks have been relevant three times.
    The early 70s championships, the Bernard King era (no rings) and the Ewing era (no rings).

    Not to put too fine a point on it, but we’re talking a 40-year span.
    I love the Knicks, but this Mecca stuff is a little mythological taken in that context.

  17. Thomas B.

    Thanks for that. It is something I wanted to do but I’m just not smart enough to get done. I had been tracking the same thing with increases in TS% and where they seem to peak. I estimated Randolph should get to about league average at some point.

    I see people comparing Randolph to Camby and I can see why with the rebounding and blocked shots. Even the height and frame are the same. Randolph’s advance numbers at 20 compare favorably to Camby’s rookie season at age 22.

    Camby has been an above average player for most of his career, and he even had one season that could be called a “star” season at the age of 26. The only year Camby had a WS/48 over .200 was the year his TS was the highest of his career–55% I think.

    There are things to be excited about. He has room to grow and he is very cheap. Vive la Walsh Vive la Wash

    I still don’t like his shot selection. I still say if we had to move him for CP3 then we need to do it.

  18. Z-man

    @16
    Ted,
    Can’t argue with your logic. I do think the Amar’e-Nash thing is overblown somewhat, and don’t think that Gallo and AR have to make “huge” improvements, i.e. dont need “hugely positive” answers in order for this to be among the best front lines in the league. A combined PER of 60 is not out of the question for these 3 guys even if they meet middle-of-the-road expectations. That would be higher than 2009-10 Gasol-Bynum-Odom and 2008-09 Howard-Lewis-Turkoglu, who went to the finals with a similarly weak backcourt (sans Nelson). Obviously PER isnt the end-all, but I also think that D’Antoni’s system and the fact that each of these 3 have unique skillsets that will help keep them out of each other’s way is additional reason for guarded optimism.

    I hope you are right and that Paul stays put until at least November.

  19. Frank O.

    Chris Paul met with several members of the Hornets front office on Monday to discuss the state of the franchise and a possible trade.

    “The meeting went well,” wrote Paul in a statement. “It was great to get an opportunity to sit down with Coach Williams, President Weber and our new General Manager Dell Demps. I expressed my desire to win and I like what they said about the direction that they want to take the team. I have been a Hornet my entire career and I hope to represent the city of New Orleans and state of Louisiana for many years to come.”

    Read more: http://www.realgm.com/src_wiretap_archives/68362/20100726/paul_comes_out_of_meeting_with_positive_outlook_for_hornets/#ixzz0uoSUnN6N

  20. Garson

    ” I hope to represent the city of New Orleans and state of Louisiana for many years to come.”

    Lets hope “many” means 2.

  21. Frank O.

    NEW ORLEANS (AP)—Hornets general manager Dell Demps says star guard Chris Paul did not request a trade during a meeting with New Orleans executives.

    Demps says he is confident that Paul will be playing with the Hornets this season after Monday’s meeting, which included new coach Monty Williams and team president Hugh Weber.

    In a statement released by the team, Paul says he likes what he heard during the meeting from the Hornets about the “direction they want to take the team.” Paul also says he hopes to remain with the team for years to come.

    Paul has two years remaining before he can opt out of his current contract with the Hornets.

    http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news;_ylt=ArJ2hY9x4oamNWLaZ2WgA.g5nYcB?slug=ap-hornets-paul

  22. JK47

    The Hornets are miles away from contending. The only really good young player they have other than Paul plays the same position. They can tell Paul whatever they want, but they’re a weak sister in the West. If he opens the season with the team, which is extremely likely, it won’t be long until he’s in malcontent mode.

    It’s almost a best-case scenario for us if Paul goes back to NO and they continue to stink. We don’t need to rush into anything, and we’ll have greater trade flexibility come December. In the meantime we can see what our new acquisitions bring to the table in a low-pressure sort of environment.

  23. Ted Nelson

    JK47,

    I agree that *if* Paul remains a Hornet and they do poorly it will only help the Knicks. However, I don’t think there’s much reason to think they’ll “stink.” Even without Paul 1/2 of last season they won 37 games.

    The Hornets won 49 and 56 games Paul’s last two healthy seasons with a pretty similar group to what they have now. They replaced Tyson Chandler with Emeka Okafor, otherwise they’re pretty similar. Possibly deeper now if some young guys step up.

    They might not be contending for a title, but they could easily be in the middle of the playoff pack. They’ve also got a ton of cap flexibility coming up, and could pretty easily clear the space to make a run at Melo themselves next offseason (already right there if David West opts out of his $7.5 mill option). The Knicks have to step it up, if they’re not a .500 team playing with Amare doesn’t look so attractive.

    “The only really good young player they have other than Paul plays the same position.”

    -Marcus Thornton or Darren Collison? Thornton played better than Collison last season, but it was pretty close.
    -Byron Scott seemed to like playing another comboguard/PG with Paul. So much so that he played Jannero Pargo and a 34 year old Bobby Jackson a combined 2400 minutes in a season where they won 56 games. Paul and Collison are both good enough defenders to probably get by in the back-court together for stretches.
    -Collison and Thornton are really liquid. NO can move them for another guy. Another young guy, or combined with an expiring or two as part of a bigger package.
    -They drafted Craig Brackins and Quincy Pondexter in the 1st round. Both those guys have NBA-caliber games. They might not light the league on fire, but look decent.

  24. Frank O.

    Mike:

    Very much enjoyed your post. It gives a real sense of Randolph’s potential, given he’s already a good rebounder and shot blocker.

    What do you glean from Gallinari, applying the same logic?

    He’s always been a solid shooter, although last year he dropped off in several areas. His TS% really dropped significantly from his first year to his second, I think due in large part to his significant decline in foul shooting accuracy.

    I think this speaks a bit to Chandler, too, who doesn’t stand out in any particular way statistically. I’m alway surprised with how many people are so high on him.

    Also, if you look at Paul, it’s pretty astounding that he’s only 25 and not yet near his peak as a player, and yet his defense and passing is almost not equaled. The idea that he could actually see his stats improve is fairly amazing.

  25. Z-man

    Did anyone hear the Brandon Tierney- Anthony Randolph interview today on ESPN radio? I just missed it.

  26. JK47

    @26 I think the Hornets will be clawing and fighting to manage an 8 seed. There are too many good teams ahead of them in the West. Perhaps Phoenix and Utah stumble a bit, but the Rockets should be a dangerous squad and the rest of last year’s playoff teams will still be strong. You’re right that they won’t “stink”– those were kind of harsh words– but I don’t see them in the middle of the playoff pack either. They’re mediocre and Paul knows it.

  27. infamousjb

    Mike,
    Thanks again for all the slivers of hope, statistically supported or not, that you can lavish on this Knicks team. I haven’t seen much of Randolph, but based on those numbers I am hopeful D’antoni can help yet another power forward achieve all-star status.

    Ted,
    Your whole thing about stats and the “smell test,” reminded me of something Bill James once said about good statistics: that they should tell you something you didn’t already know, but confirm what is already known while not have any blatantly incorrect information.

    The PER doesn’t really surprise as much with its analysis as Win Shares (based on conventional wisdom), but PER seems to be less likely to give you clearly odd results (like the ones you chronicled for Win Shares in the previous thread).

    Also, there was a nice little story about former Knick and stand-up guy David Lee a week ago.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/20/sports/basketball/20lee.html

  28. nicos

    Mike- Great Article!! I think Randolph probably came in to the league a little more undeveloped physically (meaning really skinny) than most 20 yr olds in the NBA so maybe that gives him a little bit of extra room to develop. Interestingly, he actually shot better inside in his rookie season- according to 82games both years 44% of his shots were “inside” but his eFG fell from .628 in 08/09 to .578 in 09/10. This was mainly due to a huge drop in % for “close” shots where he fell from an okay eFG of .540 to a pretty poor .473. His overall TS improved because he got to the line a lot more and marginally improved his outside shooting. My guess is the ankle problems had something to do with the decline in inside shooting- he had far more shots blocked and his percentage of dunks dropped so it looks like he was probably lacking the explosion necessary to finish. Of course, he didn’t play that many minutes due to the injury so it could just be an anomaly caused by the small sample size. If it’s not just an anomaly, if he’s healthy he should be able to get back to that .540 number and if he gets stronger I think you could see him at .560-575 eFG on those close shots- that alone might get him up to a .540+ TS%. Add in a modest improvement on his jumper and 1 or 2 more free throws a game and you could be looking at a pretty efficient scorer.

  29. DRKNGHT

    Dude, I enjoyed your work. Your comparison of A.R. to Camby and Garnett are great but I think he can be also compared with D. Howard. Randolph is young, if he hits the weights and puts on another 20 pounds of muscle he will be a Monster! Also, I think the Knicks are doing great at rebuilding. They should hold on to what they have and see how their cards play out this season, and next season go for Carmelo! Carmelo is a native New Yorker and wants to return home. I believe Felton can grow in N.Y. and C. Paul should stay in New Orleans, in two years he can join Carmelo, Amare, Danilo, Randolph etc…. This long time suffering true blue Knick fan will be dancing in the streets!

  30. jaddddd1

    http://realgm.com/src_wiretap_archives/68371/20100726/paul_still_seeking_way_out_of_new_orleans/

    The fact that people are openly speaking about LeBron’s “team” as power brokers in the league is horrifying. This is a “team” that orchestrated one of the worst, most self-centered hours of television in history and now has its paws on maybe the most talented point guard of this generation and is beginning to sully his reputation as badly as they did LeBron’s. I’ve never seen one person fall so far from grace so quickly, and then continue to dig deeper by leading the charge to get his friend out of a city that was nearly destroyed a few years ago and saved by its sports teams. I was disappointed in LeBron’s decision to team up with Wade and Bosh and not try to beat them, but I’m disgusted that he’s trying to orchestrate trades for players on other teams that he’s friends with like he’s in charge of who gets to play with who. It’s pretty sad.

  31. TDM

    So Kahn has just traded Sessions to the Cavs for two more point guards in Delonte West and Sebastian Telfair. At first I thought he was just following his mad plan of acquiring as many 1s as possible, but apparently the Wolves intend to buy out West’s contract. I still say that the ultimate f-u to lebron would be to sign him. As crazy as it sounds, he fills a need too. All the Knicks would have to do then would be to give court side season tix to lbj’s mom for the plan to be complete.

  32. massive

    Delonte West may fill a need, but A) him and Felton make for a pretty short backcourt, B) He’ll take minutes from our younger wings, and C) he’s kinda nuts, so I’m not sure he’s the type of veteran you would want around to help mold younger guys. If we’re looking at players to fill the SG position, Marco Bellineli, Rudy Fernandez, and Jodie Meeks all seem like realistic players we can bring in. Maybe even Shannon Brown (he’s still available, right?).

  33. Robert Silverman

    TDM: So Kahn has just traded Sessions to the Cavs for two more point guards in Delonte West and Sebastian Telfair.At first I thought he was just following his mad plan of acquiring as many 1s as possible, but apparently the Wolves intend to buy out West’s contract.I still say that the ultimate f-u to lebron would be to sign him.As crazy as it sounds, he fills a need too.All the Knicks would have to do then would be to give court side season tix to lbj’s mom for the plan to be complete.  

    West’s contract is non-guaranteed. It’s a salary dump.

  34. supernova

    Wow, Kahn just might be the worst GM around. So basically in order to get Ridnour he had to give up Sessions, Hollins and a second round draft pick. Not sure if there are conditions on the pick, but based on the T’Wolves recent history that pick should be near the top of the 2nd round.

    I bet that Walsh should have no problem prying Rubio from the T’Wolves , without giving up all that much.

  35. ess-dog

    Well all we need to do is find a 3rd team that wants Chandler more than Rudy to facilitate a trade – should be difficult. Maybe the Hawks? Their pick to Portland, Rudy to us and Chandler and a 2nd to ATL? Anything more involved than that probably isn’t worth it.

  36. Kikuchiyo

    Here’s a good reason to not pick up withered veterans generally and T-Mac in particular:

    Chicago Sun-Times: ‘While McGrady vows not to make waves, he’s confident he can perform well enough in training camp to earn a starting job – which could be the issue giving the Bulls pause. “Without me, without [Carlos] Boozer, they’re a .500 ball club,” McGrady said. “And with the guys that they added, if they add me, I think we’ll be 30 points better.’

    In one comment, he not only disses the current Bulls, who might like to think they’re getting better, but he also suggests that he and Boozer can just add 30 points. Let’s give Boozer 20 points and T-Mac 10. Does he think the players who would play instead of them would score ZERO points?

    Maybe the league should consider an all-star team of once-great stiffs with big egos and no contracts:

    Iverson
    Hardaway
    T-Mac
    [Who plays the 4? Rasheed? He doesn't quite belong.]
    Shaq

  37. Caleb

    @45 I’m really curious to know what Chandler’s trade value is.

    Clippers need a SF, and they can afford to sign someone to an extension. They have a lot of vets, might rather have an actual player than a #15 pick or whatever they’re headed for.

    I’m not sure Chandler isn’t better than Fernandez, but the extra year on the rookie salary scale probably makes it a good swap.

  38. DS

    @44 That throw down over Hibbert was amazing. I’m looking forward to some consistency from Gallo this year!

    @45 Agreed. I think Rudy is clearer better for SSOL than Chandler. But we should be able to turn around Wilson and maybe one more small asset for Rudy. Chandler’s 2 years younger than Rudy, a better rebounder and shotblocker, and a comparable defender and shooter:
    http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/pcm_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=0&p1=chandwi01&y1=2010&p2=fernaru01&y2=2010

    @46 Shaq is still good! I think Miami’s biggest weakness (smallest strength) will be interior D and depth. Shaq can help a team beat them. He’s just without a contract because he’s only willing to play for 5 or 6 teams and he’s not going to get $8 million/yr like he’s asking. And yes, his ego is prob. a little ahead of his game at this point. … TMac is ridiculous; that’s like Juwan Howard saying “without me, LeBron, and Bosh this Miami team would get bounced in the first round.”

  39. Mulligan

    @48 yikes, those stats make me way less excited about Rudy F. He has such a good reputation, but it seems like he had a pretty lousy year last season

  40. david

    Does anyone think there will be midseason trade opportunities for teams looking to get under the tax? Maybe not if we don’t know what the CBA will look like, but the Thunder really did a nice job with that last season, stealing Eric Maynor for virtually nothing…

  41. TheBarnacle

    What could the Hornets have said that made Chris Paul renege on his trade “demand”? I say it’s this: the Hornets reminded Paul about his history in NO, how beloved he is, and assured him that they would sign Melo this offseason (as long as he doesn’t sign that extension). With Peja and songalia coming off the books, that puts the hornets about $11 million under the cap after this season. It’s not a stretch to assume they will make some moves to clear up another 4 million or so in order to sign melo, making the plan to team up in NY unnecessary. Then the Hornets would field a lineup of:

    Paul, whoever their 2 guard is, Melo, David West, Okafor.

    That’s a pretty good lineup that could definitely do some damage and definitely something that Paul would hold out for. Then they’ve still got posey, collison, and the new rookies off the bench (my guess is they’ll try to move julian wright whose contract for next year is just under 4 mill).

    Another thing:
    http://richiez23.wordpress.com/2010/02/26/knee-issues-could-potentially-hinder-nba-future-of-all-star-paul/

    I honestly believe CP3 will not be able to perform at an elite level by the time his next contract is up. I’d give him another 2-3 years at an elite level, then he’ll start to decline as his minutes get eaten up by injury and surgeries.

    It’s in our best interest NOT to trade for CP3. Also, what sort of message does that send to players if we’re willing to ship them out as soon as we trade for them? That would terrible for our morale. Keeping these things in mind, it will be up to the Knicks this season to play hard and play well, in order to attract Melo. Key to that will be the times we play the Heat this season. If we can be competitive and even win those matchups, it will show the league that the Knicks are for real.

  42. JK47

    @52 Paul/Unknown SG/Melo/West/Okafor would be a playoff team, but remember that “threesomes,” for lack of a better word, are all the rage these days. That proposed Hornets team would not be able to beat the Heat anytime soon if ever, and wouldn’t be able to add a third star because of Okafor’s bad contract. I don’t think Paul relishes the idea of getting his butt kicked by the Golden Girls for the remainder of his career, and all signs seem to say he wants
    his own “threesome.”

    As for Paul’s knees, I kind of agree. He’s a brilliant player, but you have to wonder how good an investment he is, long-term. I won’t be heartbroken if he doesn’t come here.

  43. Robert Silverman

    JK47: @52 Paul/Unknown SG/Melo/West/Okafor would be a playoff team, but remember that “threesomes,” for lack of a better word, are all the rage these days. That proposed Hornets team would not be able to beat the Heat anytime soon if ever, and wouldn’t be able to add a third star because of Okafor’s bad contract. I don’t think Paul relishes the idea of getting his butt kicked by the Golden Girls for the remainder of his career, and all signs seem to say he wants
    his own “threesome.”As for Paul’s knees, I kind of agree. He’s a brilliant player, but you have to wonder how good an investment he is, long-term. I won’t be heartbroken if he doesn’t come here.  

    Degenerative knee condition or not, smallish PG’s that rely on speed/athleticism tend to fade fast and peak early. Kevin Johnson, Isiah Thomas, Tiny Archibald, Allen Iverson, Marbs, Damon Stoudamire, Terrell Brandon — all were more or less done by age 30-32.

    If you’re looking for a long-term investment, it’s the 6’3″+ PG’s whose game’s weren’t relient on otherworldy quickness that last until their mid-late 30′s. Nash, Kidd, Billups, Stockton, Mark Jackson, Andre Miller, Sam Cassell, etc.

    And on a personal note, let’s please keep the moniker “The Golden Girls” going…

  44. Owen

    There is absolutely no way Melo ends up in New Orleans. It’s almost unthinkable. Big fish like him don’t swim for shallower water (although obviously I think he is overrated as I have said a million times.)

    Re Anthony Randolph, this is a great piece, hearkening back to the pioneering Eddy Curry study, the original piece that got me into K-blogger. I hope that it turns out much differently with this prospect. Personally, I see Randolph being very productive but I would project third tier star status down the road rather than elite production. Just a hunch though at this point with so little data to play with.

    Re Paul’s longevity, I can’t believe there is anyone on this site who would trade down any chance to get Paul’s services through the end of his next contract. What his production is at age 32 is a ridiculous thing to worry about, given our record of late and the way our team projects. With our current roster we will struggle to make the playoffs.

    Also, Paul is a lot better than Isiah, Tiny, Marbs, etc. I would wager a lot of money that his 32-35 looks like Kidd, Nash, and Stockton’s, who are real peers at then position, than any of those other guys, simply because he ha been so outrageously good to date. This is a guy who should have won the MVP award two years ago and probably would have if he were a more established star in a bigger market.

  45. Ted Nelson

    re: Hornets

    They’ve got a lot of cap flexibility beyond this season. David West may very well also be an expiring contract, as after this season all he has is a $7.5 mill player option. Paul is probably smart enough to realize that you don’t have to have a big 3, just the best team. I would put him and Dwight Howard, for example, ahead of him, Melo, and Amare as a title contending core. If the Lakers’ Big 5 beats the Heat’s Big 3 in the Finals no one is going to care about 3. He also has little leverage to get himself traded besides totally trashing his reputation and going against his morals (which appear to be strong) and tanking the season. It doesn’t matter *that* much whether he thinks NO is the best situation for him, but more so whether NO thinks keeping him for the time being is best for them.

    His height and knees give him more incentive to sign the biggest contract he possibly can as soon as he possibly can… That would be with his team before he hits free agency. NO might be considering this.

    Robert,

    There is a troubling trend, no doubt, but I wouldn’t say Chris Paul’s game is completely reliant on his speed. Of the short guards you list the only one I’d really call comparable to Paul offensively is KJ. Most of the short guards you list were very inefficient their whole careers.

    Height and skill set might be getting confused a little here too… Marbury, for example, was only 0.75 inches shorter than “big PG” Deron Williams at his pre-draft measuring. Penny Hardaway was a huge PG who had bad health and burned out early. Steve Francis is another big PG who burned out. The guys who burn out rarely have an outside shot as good as CP3′s, regardless of their height. Most weren’t great playmakers (some were good-very good). Once their quickness was gone, they had nothing to fall back on. (Of course, if his knees go it won’t matter.) The guys who did not burn out had great outside shots (Nash, Cassell, Stockton, Billups) and/or playmaking ability (Kidd, Miller, Nash, Stockton, Jackson).

    A lot of the guys who burned out have character issues that precipitated it: Iverson’s ego, Marbury and Isiah’s …what to say…, Stoudamire’s pot smoking. Brandon had a great 32 games at 31 years old, but had no cartilage in his knees (which I guess also might be the case with C3?).

    Chris Paul is ridiculously good. Not just an All-Star PG, he’s as good as anyone who has played the position. He’s also 25 this season. If he plays till he’s 32, that’s 8 seasons… pretty long-term. Till 30 is still 6 seasons from now. Hard to think about 6-8 years down the road as a GM. How many GMs will still hold their current job 6-8 years from now?

    I agree that his knees are a big concern. However, if you have the chance to get Paul or a big PG who is half as good (say Deron Williams… who is only 6’1.75″) can you really justify getting the big PG because he’s going to be better 7-9 years down the road? Paul could become about 1/2 as valuable as his peak and still be one of the better PGs in the league.

  46. Ted Nelson

    “There is absolutely no way Melo ends up in New Orleans. It’s almost unthinkable. Big fish like him don’t swim for shallower water (although obviously I think he is overrated as I have said a million times.)”

    Miami is not exactly a sports hot-bed… There are usually more NY fans there when they play Miami teams than Miami fans… LeBron, Wade, and Bosh turned down far more attractive markets (and more money) to go play for what they took to be the best team. Chris Paul would be the draw in NO… Paul, Okafor, etc. and a team that might win 50 games this season… I’m not saying it’s going to happen, but I think it’s a possibility.
    NO is also not, in my estimation, as bad a place to live as a good number of NBA cities (haven’t counted).

    “Personally, I see Randolph being very productive but I would project third tier star status down the road rather than elite production. Just a hunch though at this point with so little data to play with.”

    Agreed. Guess it depends on how you define the tiers… I think I agree with the spirit of your point, though. I’d say 2nd tier is a solid possibility. Certainly by WoW he could be 1st or 2nd tier if he figures out the whole shooting thing and continues to cut his TOs.

    re: Paul

    Agree. His knees may be a concern, though. Kidd and Nash and Stockton have all had great runs of health. How much is luck vs. preparation vs. pain tolerance… I don’t know.

  47. JK47

    “Miami is not exactly a sports hot-bed… There are usually more NY fans there when they play Miami teams than Miami fans… LeBron, Wade, and Bosh turned down far more attractive markets (and more money) to go play for what they took to be the best team.”

    Miami may not be a sports hotbed, but it’s not a bad place to be if you’re a twenty-something megazillionaire basketball Demi-God. The weather is “nice” (I personally think the weather down there is intolerable, but to each his own), the nightlife is overflowing, taxes are low and the fans aren’t going to revolt if the Heat don’t win the title every year. Miami has plenty of glitz and glamor. New Orleans… not so much.

    I don’t think the Golden Girls would have been so keen on joining forces in, say, Houston or Memphis or Utah. Miami has all the trappings a young egomaniac could ever hope for.

  48. Robert Silverman

    Re Paul’s longevity, I can’t believe there is anyone on this site who would trade down any chance to get Paul’s services through the end of his next contract. What his production is at age 32 is a ridiculous thing to worry about, given our record of late and the way our team projects. With our current roster we will struggle to make the playoffs.Also, Paul is a lot better than Isiah, Tiny, Marbs, etc. I would wager a lot of money that his 32-35 looks like Kidd, Nash, and Stockton’s, who are real peers at then position, than any of those other guys, simply because he ha been so outrageously good to date. This is a guy who should have won the MVP award two years ago and probably would have if he were a more established star in a bigger market.  

    I would agree, save for this blurb re: his knee. It’s via Simmons, but is fairly sound analysis nonetheless -

    “when I heard the Hornets claim CP3 would miss only “four to six weeks” after “minor” knee surgery, my BS Detector started beeping. Especially since we learned that doctors removed Paul’s torn meniscus ligament rather than repairing it.

    Intrigued, I asked Will Carroll (the injury expert for Baseball Prospectus and Basketball Prospectus) for his thoughts. Will pointed me toward a piece he wrote about meniscus removal a few years ago. The key section: “One reason teams are so quick to allow this surgery is that the players come back so quickly, usually in a matter of weeks. But … surgeons don’t repair the meniscus in most cases; they just take it out, either in part or in whole depending on the size of the tearing. That leaves the athlete with no shock. Eventually, with the remaining meniscus overstressed and aging, they end up with the bones grinding together. Yes, that’s as bad as it sounds in a game of running and jumping.”

    That said, Paul’s still a top-5 player in the league. But, it does temper what one might give up to get him, and if you’re building a team, it means you’ve got a 3-year or possibly 4 year window to win a title.

  49. Owen

    Will Carroll? Bringing in the big dogs huh…

    What did he have to say about projections for players who have had microfracture surgery? Is the knee less of a concern with Amare? I guess there is precedent for players having long successful careers after that procedure. (Kidd, Mcdyess at least).

    I don’t know, I still think it’s the wrong thing to worry about….

  50. Ted Nelson

    @58 JK47

    Houston is actually a really popular spot for NBA players to live during the offseason. It’s an affluent area with oil money. It’s not high on my list, but a lot of people love the place.

    New Orleans is close to both Houston and Florida. It’s got a unique culture and cuisine. There’s also oil money in Louisiana. For me it’s not a plus the way moving to New York or San Francisco or maybe LA would be, but I don’t think it’s a location that would scare a player away. And, again, there’s Chris Paul in New Orleans. Like there was Dwayne Wade in Miami.

  51. TheBarnacle

    i think we need to keep an eye on brandon roy and andrew bynum since they both had similar injuries. paul needs his speed/quickness to get into the seams of defense and make plays. the injury wont affect his vision or his ability to make good passes, but it will affect his ability to create plays, take/make jump shots, rebound, and defend. and that’s when he’s on the floor. you have to take into account the fact that he will miss a fair amount of playing time due to the injury. it’s something that will flare up and go down frequently. it’s really sad to see because paul was such a transcendent player. if his health held up, he could have posed the first legit threat to stockton’s assists and steals records.

    in response to the big fish in a small market comment, people say new orleans is small market, but honestly… it’s one of the most FUN places in america. if you’re an athlete it’s a great great place to play. mardi gras? cajun food? who dat nation? mardi gras? also, denver isn’t exactly a big market but he did re-up with them after his rookie contract and he is still mulling over his decision about whether to stay or not.

    anyway, back to anthony randolph – love the dude but i’m hoping he really grows up. i think amare will be able to help in this regard

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