Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Architect of Your Misery

Fellow Citizens of Knick:

The influence of our Great Leader is wide, but I have found safety from his agents in the small town of Tallahassee, Florida, five hundred miles from the nearest Dolan stronghold of Miami, where the watchful eye of Great Leader’s right hand man, Isiah Thomas, is everywhere.

I write to you today from exile, but also in solidarity, in faith that as impotent as the truth may seem right now, it is still important, more important than anything. As Buddha once said, “Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.”

Since Mike D’Antoni first had success with his fast-paced offense, people have done all they could to tear him down.  They criticized the defense of his team although it was always in the top two-thirds of the league. They criticized his offense, claiming his success was only a product of Steve Nash’s offensive genius.

Never mind that before the Anthony trade he coached the 4th youngest team in the league to a winning record, that the Knicks managed 33 wins in D’Antoni’s first season, ten more than the Isiah-led team of the previous year, despite the fact that their top three scorers were all gone (or “gone” in the case of Eddy Curry), replaced only by Al Harrington and a cameo from Tim Thomas, that his Suns teams had a winning record in the playoffs and went the Western Conference Finals in two of his four years.

Great Leader at Mike D'Antoni's "resignation" press conference

“Why?” I know that word is right on your collective tongue, comrades. You are thinking, “Why tear him down?” The answer is that those who lack imagination, and they are legion, will fight tooth and claw to maintain the status quo. They do so because they rightfully fear that in a world where conventional wisdom is useless, they will be left in the dirt.

Here is a simplified list of the major moves that have occurred in Dolan’s tenure, before the Anthony trade. Draft picks are substituted for the players they became.

  1. Isiah Thomas as President of Basketball Operations
  2. Antonio McDyess for Marcus Camby and Nene
  3. Stephon Marbury for Antonio McDyess and Gordon Hayward
  4. Jamal Crawford at seven years and $56 million for spare parts
  5. Eddy Curry at six years and $60 million for Joakim Noah and LaMarcus Aldridge
  6. Steve Francis for Trevor Ariza
  7. Zach Randolph for Steve Francis and Channing Frye
  8. Jerome James and Jared Jeffries at five years and $30 million each

These don’t even include the assets that our ally Donnie Walsh gave up to escape from some of these terrible contracts.

The moves here range from lateral to absolute disasters. Again, comrades, you may be feeling that stone of a word weighing on your tongues: “Why?” We all have our currencies. Some desire to earn respect, others desire freedom, and others money. What currency does a dictator desire? It’s not money, for Great Leader could be far richer were he to have put decisions into wiser hands.

No, dictators are narcissistic, and so their currency is reality. They want to control the narrative, and they want to center themselves in that narrative.  Most of these Dolan-endorsed moves involved the acquisition of a player who has appeared in leaderboards, who makes SportsCenter, who can draw people’s attention. Each of these moves gave Dolan a chance to plant his flag at the source of a “New Knick Direction.”

Great Leader's Childhood

Great Leader's childhood

Were the Knicks to be “a story” without a trademark decision of our Great Leader as the starting point, regardless of how “Linsanely” exciting that story might be, regardless of how much money it might earn, is a loss of the only currency that Great Leader values, and he will use his girth and might to sabotage it. He will restore the narrative so that he is the seed.

Early propaganda from the Dolan regime, courtesy of the Smithsonian Institute

Were Great Leader to have allowed Mike D’Antoni to stay on as commander of the team and moved stubborn Anthony, the story would have been about Donnie Walsh autonomously shepherding the team back to competitiveness, about Mike D’Antoni trusting the young Lin, about Lin himself rising to stardom. The acquisition of Carmelo Anthony, which Great Leader was solely responsible for, would have been forever-remembered as a failure.

You see, for Mr. Dolan, control is far more important than success, for if his word and plan is final, the people have no choice but to lay all faith in him. He is infallible, for all other possibilities are fantasies – only the most idealistic put hope into what can never be – and all failures are the fault of changeable parts. Linking D’Antoni’s struggles to his lame duck status or a roster that seemed designed to undercut his authority and style of play would be just as sensible as being angry about the sun rising.

Logic and reason, too, are the enemy of Great Leader, as they are the tools through which idealists steel their faith, while the self-centered and destructive are his greatest allies. Any success that doesn’t travel the avenues of Great Leader’s “wisdom” cannot be tolerated. Mr. D’Antoni, who faithfully insisted on his system, saw past the conventional wisdom of big scoring individual players. His “resignation” is only a continuation of a trend that began when Great Leader’s father consigned the state of Knick to his hapless son.

Looking more closely into Great Leader’s legacy, we see the two figures he forged the closest relationships with: Isiah Thomas and Stephon Marbury. It makes perfect sense for our Little General to trust these men, for they are unprincipled and thus  easy to control. Marbury once said, “I’m a max player. Don’t get mad at me, because I’m telling you what’s real. One plus one is two, all day long, and it’s never gonna change. And that’s factorial.” As long as he collected his check, this was not a man that Dolan had to worry would stand against him. He was an ideal confederate in Dolan’s plot.

Thomas too seemingly went out of his way to prove his lack of principles and soon found a place within Great Leader’s cavernous chest. First, it was the Anucha Browne-Sanders sexual harassment suit, in response to which Great Leader only pulled Thomas closer. When the pressure mounted on Thomas, he fed to the wolves the players that he and Dolan had brought in and touted as the franchise’s salvation. No doubt these dual betrayals brought considerable joy to Great Leader, for when United Basketball Nations Secretary General Stern forced Dolan to dismiss him, Dolan insisted that Isiah remain as a consultant to the team. Great Leader continues to this day to call him, “a very good friend.”

Walsh may have ushered in a brief period of pragmatism and progress, but Dolan couldn’t help but meddle again, and this move followed the same Devil’s logic that all the previous ones had. Youth and salary flexibility were jettisoned in favor of an overrated high-scoring player, the scoop of ice cream on top being that this fellow had alienated his teammates and had confirmed in forcing his way off the Nuggets that his real objective was to be in the spotlight and make lots of cash; winning basketball games was secondary. This was a man after Dolan’s heart. The resignation of Walsh the usurper was icing on the cake. When Anthony later sabotaged his coach, he was surely inducted into the inner-circle of the Cablevision empire. That smile of Anthony’s that has received so much attention of late? It is not unlike the one Isiah Thomas often wore as he explained away the Knicks’ failures.

His reputation at stake, he may finally be exerting himself on the court, but if the Knicks make the playoffs and the pressure fades, would it be any surprise for him to return to complacency? Perhaps this experience has taught him some humility, in which case he deserves acknowledgement, but we cannot forget what was sacrificed. We cannot lose sight of the bigger picture.

Dolan and his confederates meet at an undisclosed location -- Illustration by Bruce Koplow, songwriter for JD and the Straight Shot

Friedrich Nietzsche once said, “All things are subject to interpretation. Whichever interpretation prevails at a given time is a function of power and not truth.” That quote may well adorn the office that Dolan spends his days in, deep in the pits of Madison Square Garden.

The violence of Great Leader and his cabal for ignorance can only control the perception of what is true, not truth itself. Their unreality serves only to preserve their power over the hearts of the citizenry, and to further the suffering of the masses. Take solace, fellow citizens, in the undying power of truth. You may not live to see a Knicks championship, but history will reveal the architect of your misery.

161 comments on “The Architect of Your Misery

  1. Jim Cavan

    Wow, outstanding piece, Max. Made my morning.

    We need to figure out a way to put this on Dolan’s desk, which I assume is made of concession workers’ ground up bones.

  2. Mulligan

    tl;dr

    Just kidding! Great piece. For some reason “He will restore the narrative so that he is the seed” really cracked me up. Not sure what it means, but definitely evoked paranoia and weird totalitarian la gauge that

  3. Mulligan

    tl;dr

    Just kidding! Great piece. For some reason “He will restore the narrative so that he is the seed” really cracked me up. Not sure what it means, but definitely evoked paranoia and weird totalitarian language that I think you were going for. Also loved the photo shop work!

  4. Frank

    hilarious piece Max! I especially like the picture of Dolan in diapers with the piles of $.

    meanwhile what is up with Phoenix? Is Nash really that good or are the other guys on that team (Gortat, Frye) seriously underrated? And what do the trainers on that team give these guys? Michael Redd per-36 #s since the ASB – 22 points, 5.7 rebounds, 56% TS

  5. Brian Cronin

    If Woodson loves proven veterans, he can cut Bibby and pick up the most provenest veteran of all, Derek Fisher!

    How hilarious would Derek Fisher be on this team?

  6. Frank

    My ongoing Amare-watch — last 10 games (basically 1/4 of this season) – per 36#s:

    19.2 points, 8.7 rebounds, only 1.7 TOs, 59.5% TS
    much better defense certainly over the last 1-2 weeks.

    Perhaps the reports of his demise were overblown. I am not particularly worried about him getting stuffed by the rim on the reverse. To me it looked like he just took off too early. Sure a 22 year old Amare would’ve had that, but the production #s don’t lie.

    The thing I’m most happy with is his drop in turnovers. In December (3 games) his TO-rate was 14.4, then 13.3 in January, 11.8 in Feb, and down to 8.2 in March. He’s getting blocked less (1.7/game vs. 0.9/game Dec vs. March) also.

  7. Owen

    Meanwhile Harden finally laid an egg, going 1-7 last night. Although he did go 11-14 from the foul line, bringing his ts% to 53.15% for the night…..

    Even when he is horrible, he is above average….

  8. massive

    So, we have an Amar’e watch and a Melo watch. How about a Lin watch? A JR Smith watch? I’m sure we don’t need a Tyson Chandler watch, since he’s clearly awesome and our best player. But it would be nice to have people on this blog keeping tabs on our good, but inconsistent players.

  9. Gideon Zaga

    Wake me up when Dantoni wins a championship. Plus the fact that he asked for the melo trade implied that he wasn’t sold on Lin since they would likely have to part ways with Lin/Davis to get Deron. Im glad Lin still has a job, who knows what could have happened in brooklyn.

  10. max fisher-cohen Post author

    Thanks, people. I’m pretty sure this ends my dream of one day being the GM of the Knicks.

    @Owen That pic is a real photo! Found it on Google images. I just added Dolan and Starbury in.

    @Jim Informants tell me he uses the concession workers’ bones as chaw. This allows him to maintain his human form.

  11. Juany8

    massive:
    So, we have an Amar’e watch and a Melo watch. How about a Lin watch? A JR Smith watch? I’m sure we don’t need a Tyson Chandler watch, since he’s clearly awesome and our best player. But it would be nice to have people on this blog keeping tabs on our good, but inconsistent players.

    If anyone had kept close tabs on Lin lately they would have been depressed… The funniest thing about the Linsanity period was that, because of the sample size, the only proper conclusion to make about any stats he accumulated is “wait and see”. People jumped to massive conclusions after a few games, but lately he has struggled to even be an average point guard. He put up around a 15-7 towards the end of D’Antoni’s tenure, but considering he was being asked to be the freaking primary scoring option and that he’s a mediocre passer and pitiful defender (without taking into account his flaws as a scorer) Lin needed to be putting up Linsanity numbers to justify the time the ball spent in his hands, without the incredibly idiotic turnovers. That was D’Antoni’s biggest failure. He decided that instead of going with three (I’m going to irrationally defend Baron forever) players who have proven you can trust to play in a good offense with the ball in their hands, he was going to let Lin be a rookie Russell Westbrook, without the defense or dominant athleticism.

    That being said, Lin does have legit basketball skills, especially in getting to the rim and making tough shots, so I think he’ll continue to develop into a top 10-15 range point guard, around guys like Ty Lawson. The problem is that he’s not near that yet, and potential doesn’t win you games this year. If this team hopes to make noise in the playoffs, there are no excuses, opponents aren’t going to take it easy because Lin is a rookie….

  12. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Nice piece.

    By the way, I’ve been away for a few days, but I noticed the chatter about Faried.

    Yeah, he was a better pick. If you think Shumpert’s a better pick than Faried, you might be Shumpert’s mom. Faried is putting up one of the best rookie seasons in history.

    5-5 FG for 18 pts, a perfect 100% TS with eight FTA
    16 rebounds (6 offensive)
    only 2 TO

    IN TWENTY-FOUR MINUTES

    AGAINST THE THIRD-BEST PACE-ADJUSTED DEFENSE IN THE LEAGUE

  13. massive

    I remember being deeply saddened when the Knicks didn’t take Kenneth Faried…or Josh Selby (glad that one didn’t happen), but Shumpert has indeed worked out for us. Faried is definitely gonna be something similar to an offensive Dennis Rodman.

  14. Brian Cronin

    If anyone had kept close tabs on Lin lately they would have been depressed

    Odd timing to make that statement, since he just saved the Knicks in their last win, in which he put up 19, 6 and 7 on 6/10 shooting.

  15. Brian Cronin

    Yeah, he was a better pick.

    Again, though, while I have never wavered from thinking Faried was, indeed, the better pick, I think Shumpert was a good pick, too. What kills me is stuff like Jordan Hill when Ty Lawson is on the board for another 8 picks. Or Toney Douglas when DeJuan Blair could be had.

    To wit, do we rip the Knicks for taking Landry Fields when they could have taken Jeremy Lin with that pick? The Fields pick was a great pick, as was Shumpert. That a later pick was even better is not something that will gnaw at me. When a pick is bad and a later pick would be better (and we all saw it at the time) then yeah, that irks me.

  16. Juany8

    The Honorable Cock Jowles:
    Nice piece.

    By the way, I’ve been away for a few days, but I noticed the chatter about Faried.

    Yeah, he was a better pick. If you think Shumpert’s a better pick than Faried, you might be Shumpert’s mom. Faried is putting up one of the best rookie seasons in history.

    5-5 FG for 18 pts, a perfect 100% TS with eight FTA
    16 rebounds (6 offensive)
    only 2 TO

    IN TWENTY-FOUR MINUTES

    AGAINST THE THIRD-BEST PACE-ADJUSTED DEFENSE IN THE LEAGUE

    I like Faried and definitely thought we should draft him before I realized how awful our backcourt would be (I think he’s the perfect third big in this league, like a better Paul Millsap), although now that I’ve seen Shumpert’s defense I’ll take his ceiling of “Tony Allen with a jumper” over Faried’s honestly.

    The funny thing is, I figured he’d be about this productive, as did you obviously. The only difference is in how much we think that production translates into value. You seem him putting up great rebounding numbers and high efficiency and compare him to players like Hall of Famers. I see a super athletic Reggie Evans, or a really shitty version of Rodman in a league where zone defenses are making it hard to play players like Rodman consistent minutes, which is why Noah (a similar playstyle in many ways) got repeatedly benched in the playoffs, despite his statistical excellence.

    If Faried ever gets a solid jumper though, he’s going to be an amazing starter to have, otherwise he’ll need to be paired with some other jump shooting center, which don’t exactly exist right now…

  17. Count de Pennies

    I’ve been reading this site for the better part of the last decade and this is, far and away, the single best piece of writing I have ever seen on here.

    I stand in awe of its near perfect blend of truth, humor, and – yes – bitterness.

    Kudos.

  18. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Juany8:

    If Faried ever gets a solid jumper though, he’s going to be an amazing starter to have, otherwise he’ll need to be paired with some other jump shooting center, which don’t exactly exist right now…

    Like Tim Mozgov? That’s who he played next to the other night.

    I doubt very much that this ROOKIE is putting up a .248 WS/48 because he’s in the “right” system next to the “right” players.

    It’s not like he’s playing off Dwight Howard, dude…

  19. Juany8

    Brian Cronin: Odd timing to make that statement, since he just saved the Knicks in their last win, in which he putup 19, 6 and 7 on 6/10 shooting.

    In the past 5 games, he’s had more games with 6 turnovers than with a FG% over .500 and in our biggest win of the season he was a total non factor. He did have a good game yesterday (although he was mediocre on defense again), although that was an all around team win if there ever was one.

  20. Juany8

    The Honorable Cock Jowles: Like Tim Mozgov? That’s who he played next to the other night.

    I doubt very much that this ROOKIE is putting up a .248 WS/48 because he’s in the “right” system next to the “right” players.

    It’s not like he’s playing off Dwight Howard, dude…

    Ummm… what? I literally said I expected this statistical output before the season (high rebounding, high efficiency), I just don’t linearly correlate unscientific box score numbers into total player value. It’s not about his numbers, it’s about the perimeter players on this team having to jack up jumpers because the lane is clogged due to Faried and McGee’s lack of range. Individual statistics are not independent of the other players of the team, which means it is impossible to simply add up the value of the different players to make a whole. It’s really not Faried’s flaw, the only problem is that there are very few rim defenders in the league with a jumper, and you absolutely need at least one of your bigs to have a jumper to win.

    If the Nuggets somehow had Marc or Pau Gasol, Faried would be a perfect fit. But since paint defenders are more valuable and rarer than high rebounders, their flaws are more easily forgiven (it’s not as big a deal that Chandler doesn’t have a jumper since he can dominate the paint, but he needs a PF who can shoot)

  21. Brian Cronin

    In the past 5 games, he’s had more games with 6 turnovers than with a FG% over .500 and in our biggest win of the season he was a total non factor. He did have a good game yesterday (although he was mediocre on defense again), although that was an all around team win if there ever was one.

    Oh, i agree that he’s been pretty mediocre lately. I was just noting that the timing was odd to talk about how depressing Lin’s been when he just had such an awesome game. As for the “team win” aspect of it all, things looked pretty tight before he went off on that scoring spree in the fourth. What was it, something like 7 out of 8 straight points? 8 out of 9? Something like that.

  22. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Lane… is… clogged?

    You do realize that basketball players don’t just stand in the paint waiting for rebounds, right?

  23. Frank O.

    ruruland
    March 19, 2012 at 4:57 am
    Just going to add that right now Melo’s played in 35 games with a dreadful .502 TS%. Last year through 40 games he had a TS% of .514.

    In the final 37 games he had a TS% of .576. Just saying.

    21 games left….

    Final 22 games of ’07/08 he had a TS% .583.

    Outside of 09/10 when he was worn down, he’s always had excellent finishes similar to those 2.

    I know this was posted as a kind of good thing, like we could expect an explosion…
    But isn’t this also an indictment of a max player who requires more than half a season to be in shape enough to be an impact player?

    I mean, I get it, ruru. You know the guy, like the guy, and you have familial connections to the sport which provides insight. But on its face, this isn’t a good thing that a guy making up this much of the Knicks salary cap isn’t at his best to start a season. Do you view this as acceptable? Or is this a guy who takes his talent and teammates and organization for granted?
    I mean, I can’t recall anyone every questioning whether Lebron or Wade are in shape. I don’t recall anyone wondering if Jordan or Pippen or Malone or any of the top tier players over the past few decades would show up in shape.
    Again, I was one of the guys who thought this system would be transformative for Melo. If he has a metabolism issue that makes it hard for him to keep body fat down, then with his millions he should be on a controlled diet and on a controlled off season work out regimen.

    Obviously, this is spilled milk. But the excuses that are made for multimillionaires is a bit galling. I’m considered a pretty successful journalist and because of the issues I cover, in newsrooms, I’m comparatively well paid. I can’t imagine my organization accepting an approach by which I take the first half of the year lightly and then turn it on in the second half. Not many guys are good at what I do, but they’re paying me for a full year of work.

  24. d-mar

    Frank:
    My ongoing Amare-watch — last 10 games (basically 1/4 of this season) – per 36#s:

    19.2 points, 8.7 rebounds, only 1.7 TOs, 59.5% TS
    much better defense certainly over the last 1-2 weeks.

    Perhaps the reports of his demise were overblown. I am not particularly worried about him getting stuffed by the rim on the reverse. To me it looked like he just took off too early.Sure a 22 year old Amare would’ve had that, but the production #s don’t lie.

    The thing I’m most happy with is his drop in turnovers. In December (3 games) his TO-rate was 14.4, then 13.3 in January, 11.8 in Feb, and down to 8.2 in March.He’s getting blocked less (1.7/game vs. 0.9/game Dec vs. March) also.

    I’ve been really pleased with his game on the offensive end lately, not forcing it to the basket (and committing the obligatory twice a game charging violation) and his shot seems to be coming around as well. I’ve also noticed more of a commitment on the defensive end, not to say he’s great by any means, but he is showing effort and a little more awareness in help situations.

    I’ve been a pretty staunch Amare defender, and I do think the “jettison Amare for a bag of balls” comments a few weeks ago were premature and a little extreme.

  25. Frank O.

    Brian Cronin: Oh, i agree that he’s been pretty mediocre lately. I was just noting that the timing was odd to talk about how depressing Lin’s been when he just hadsuch an awesome game. As for the “team win” aspect of it all, things looked pretty tight before he went off on that scoring spree in the fourth. What was it, something like 7 out of 8 straight points? 8 out of 9? Something like that.

    I have to believe that all the turmoil with the team and certain players not buying in was affecting lin’s performance as well.

  26. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    “I don’t recall anyone wondering if Jordan or Pippen or Malone or any of the top tier players over the past few decades would show up in shape.”

    Kemp? Barkley?

  27. Brian Cronin

    Yeah, I think certain players are always going to have a problem with conditioning. Like THCJ mentioned, Barkley always had trouble with his weight, but going as far back as Babe Ruth, players have had a rough time with conditioning.

  28. Juany8

    The Honorable Cock Jowles:
    Lane… is… clogged?

    You do realize that basketball players don’t just stand in the paint waiting for rebounds, right?

    They do not, but you realize Faried and McGee are incapable of scoring more than a few feet away from the rim, which means they don’t have to be guarded past that point. I honestly don’t see how that’s hard to understand, or Faried’s flaws aren’t really his own (lots of guys can’t shoot) but a team’s flaws since they have spacing issues. Since centers usually can’t shoot, it’s a bigger deal when a power forward can’t shoot, since it’s harder to create that spacing value needed for the team. Teams need a certain amount of spacing to run an efficient offense, regardless of who ultimately takes the shots. If the Nuggets can get a jump shooting rim protector then Faried is going to be a hell of a player for them. If they can’t, they’ll either have to live with their offense being mostly perimeter jumpers and putbacks, or they’ll have to bench one of the two. Good luck running that against the Grizzlies or Thunder front court in the coming years

  29. Ben R

    Juany8: In the past 5 games, he’s had more games with 6 turnovers than with a FG% over .500 and in our biggest win of the season he was a total non factor. He did have a good game yesterday (although he was mediocre on defense again), although that was an all around team win if there ever was one.

    Stats per 36 in those 5 games:
    16.0 pts 4.8 rebs 7.6 asts 1.9 stls 4.8 tos 54.1 TS%

    In those 5 games Lin faced the best defense in the NBA, the 2nd best defense, the #10 defense twice and the #13 defense. If that is Lin playing horribly then I’ll take it.

    Lin since the all-star break (10 games):
    17.3 pts 4.1 rebs 8.3 asts 2.1 stls 3.9 tos 53.2% TS%

    Lin’s numbers other than his usage have actually stayed fairly consistant since his break out week. The rumors of his demise have been greatly exaggerated. Right now Lin is struggling from deep, 7-23 over the last 10 and still struggling with turnovers though they are a bit down 3.9 per 36 over the last 10 compared to 4.8 per 36 over the season.

    As a young PG turnover struggles are to be expected and should continue to improve, his outside shooting has looked good in the past and he has repaired his FT shooting, hitting 25 of his last 27 free throws, so I expect that to get better as well.

    Lin is by far our best option now, Davis is barely even an improvement when it comes to turnovers (4.2 per 36 this season), is fragile and woefully inefficient.

  30. Juany8

    The Honorable Cock Jowles:
    “I don’t recall anyone wondering if Jordan or Pippen or Malone or any of the top tier players over the past few decades would show up in shape.”

    Kemp? Barkley?

    Shaq? Top 10 player ever and probably the worst (of the 10) as far as intangibles, leadership, and effort goes. He got traded 3 times! Probably goes to show that he should have been the best player ever.

  31. Juany8

    Ben R: Stats per 36 in those 5 games:
    16.0 pts 4.8 rebs 7.6 asts 1.9 stls 4.8 tos 54.1 TS%

    In those 5 games Lin faced the best defense in the NBA, the 2nd best defense, the #10 defense twice and the #13 defense. If that is Lin playing horribly then I’ll take it.

    Lin since the all-star break (10 games):
    17.3 pts 4.1 rebs 8.3 asts 2.1 stls 3.9 tos 53.2% TS%

    Lin’s numbers other than his usage have actually stayed fairly consistant since his break out week. The rumors of his demise have been greatly exaggerated. Right now Lin is struggling from deep, 7-23 over the last 10 and still struggling with turnovers though they are a bit down 3.9 per 36 over the last 10 compared to 4.8 per 36 over the season.

    As a young PG turnover struggles are to be expected and should continue to improve, his outside shooting has looked good in the past and he has repaired his FT shooting, hitting 25 of his last 27 free throws, so I expect that to get better as well.

    Lin is by far our best option now, Davis is barely even an improvement when it comes to turnovers (4.2 per 36 this season), is fragile and woefully inefficient.

    How are you so ok with a point guard who constantly has the ball in his hands barely getting an AST/TO ratio at 2? Not to mention that Lin took over as the primary offensive option over Melo and Stoudemire under D’Antoni, and doesn’t this board kill Melo for having a 55 TS% for his career, without the dumb turnovers at half court? And again, this is all totally glossing over his d-league level defense, which has made him the target of every opposing offense we face. Lin has showed that he will probably be a pretty good point guard (top 10-15) in the years to come. He has not shown that he is currently there. Oh and my support for Davis extends only to the playoffs, he is currently worse than Lin for sure

  32. Brian Cronin

    Shaq is a great example. It is hard to get these guys to strive to be in perfect shape when they’re paid so well in their current state. And like Ruth, when he’s winning titles, is he really going to try to get even better?

  33. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Juany8: Shaq? Top 10 player ever and probably the worst (of the 10) as far as intangibles, leadership, and effort goes. He got traded 3 times! Probably goes to show that he should have been the best player ever.

    Three of those trades came after his 35th birthday, so I take them with a grain of salt.

    And Kemp ate his way out of the league altogether, whereas Shaq won 4 titles.

  34. Nick C.

    We get it JuanNY. You were happy the Rockets cut him, think Dragic is better (and perhaps will continue). The point is duly noted 200 posts on the topic.

  35. Ben R

    Juany8: How are you so ok with a point guard who constantly has the ball in his hands barely getting an AST/TO ratio at 2? Not to mention that Lin took over as the primary offensive option over Melo and Stoudemire under D’Antoni, and doesn’t this board kill Melo for having a 55 TS% for his career, without the dumb turnovers at half court? And again, this is all totally glossing over his d-league level defense, which has made him the target of every opposing offense we face. Lin has showed that he will probably be a pretty good point guard (top 10-15) in the years to come. He has not shown that he is currently there. Oh and my support for Davis extends only to the playoffs, he is currently worse than Lin for sure

    He was in no way was the primary offensive option over Amare and Melo once they came back. In the last 10 games (7 of which were under D’Antoni) Lin has taken more shots than Melo twice and more shots than Amare three times. As for his TS% PGs have traditionally shot a lower TS% than SFs or PFs and if we were paying Lin $20 million to do nothing but score then his 53-54% TS% wouldn’t cut it, but for a second year player, a rookie when it comes to minutes played his TS% is solid. (Amare shot 53% TS his rookie year, 53.6% his 2nd year, Melo shot 50.9% his rookie year, 52.6% his 2nd year)

    His turnovers are high but have been coming down and again for a young PG that is to be expected. Also I do not get the d-league level defense line, expecially because you are attacking him while defending Melo and Amare who are bad defenders themselves. His defense is solid, he is not great one on one but he is not bad either. Our best run defensively was when he was playing major minutes and his 3.1 steal% would be good enough for 7th in the NBA if he qualified. His 2.2 steals per 36 is great, just behind Shumpert at 2.4.

  36. jon abbey

    Jake S.:
    Amazing stuff. Glad to see Dolan get the Ryszard Kapuscinski treatment.

    love the reference, big Kapuscinski fan.

    Shumpert was a better fit for this team than Faried, this team would be entirely screwed without Shumpert this year (2-8 when he plays less than 19 minutes). we’ll see what future years will bring.

  37. ephus

    Brian Cronin:
    Shaq is a great example. It is hard to get these guys to strive to be in perfect shape when they’re paid so well in their current state. And like Ruth, when he’s winning titles, is he really going to try to get even better?

    On the flip side from Shaq, you have big men like Yao and Oden, who did a great job of staying in shape, but could not stay on the court because of injuries. Once players get above a certain size, there is definitely a causitive relationship between intensity of conditioning and stress fractures and joint injuries. Of course, carrying extra weight also is a risk factor for stress fractures and joint injuries.

  38. Frank O.

    The Honorable Cock Jowles:
    “I don’t recall anyone wondering if Jordan or Pippen or Malone or any of the top tier players over the past few decades would show up in shape.”

    Kemp? Barkley?

    It wasn’t a question of conditioning only. It was a question with melo that he’s not as good a player early as he is late in the season. Not sure. Did barkley and kemp at this stage in their career show worse numbers at the outset and significant improvement late in the year. I kind of remember barkely being a beast all season long, and kemp’s weight issues were a problem late in his career, if I am remembering correctly, when he was no longer a great player.
    these are more questions.
    Either way, as a max player, I feel on sound ground arguing that it reflects badly on Melo that he’s not in shape to start seasons and uses the seasons to play into shape.

  39. stratomatic

    This is one of the best pieces to ever appear on this blog (and there have been a lot of good ones).

    1. There is no question that D’Antoni makes a lot of players way more efficient and they usually deteriorate again when they leave him (in fact one of the few exceptions has been Melo & there are reasons to think that was Melo’s fault).

    2. His Suns teams were always underrated defensively because guys like Barkley and others in the media were too ignorant to understand the impact of pace on PPG.

    3. In NY, the closest he got to having a decent squad that fit his style was the early season team from last year and Dolan quickly destroyed that. People forget that for two years he was running his offense with Chris Duhon (3rd string in Chicago and 2nd/3rd string in Orlando).

    No one bashes coaches that make personnel and playing time decisions geared towards better Defense when they don’t win championships because they couldn’t score. Only D’Antoni takes that kind of heat despite the fact that he may have won a championship with the Suns if it wasn’t for a few key injuries in a couple of years and a bogus suspension when they had control of the Spur series one year.

    No one is going to mix D’Antoni up with any all time great coaches, but he’s a very good coach that got a bum rap in a city that is horribly impatient and ignorant because the owner is the greatest moron in professional sports.

  40. Frank O.

    Brian Cronin:
    Shaq is a great example. It is hard to get these guys to strive to be in perfect shape when they’re paid so well in their current state. And like Ruth, when he’s winning titles, is he really going to try to get even better?

    of course, you just mentioned two of the most dominant players in their sport, arguably of all time. Clearly, the Babe was the most dominant by any standard. One could argue that Shaq was eclipsed by Chamberlain.
    In either case, Melo is not the physical freak that Shaq was, nor as great a player as Barkley and certainly in the elite of the elite, can’t even by mentioned with a man of Ruth’s stature.
    What I’m suggesting is that melo is a max contract guy like his contemporaries lebron and Wade, among others, but he’s not prepared as they are, and that may be why he’s not at their level.
    That’s the point I’m making.
    Simply dismissing it as he’s not alone, doesn’t make it any better.
    In Melo’s case, he’s not a great player. I believe he could be a more complete and potentially great player if he actually prepared for the season properly.
    It’s clearly an indictment of him, IMHO

  41. Z

    Count de Pennies:
    I’ve been reading this site for the better part of the last decade and this is, far and away, the single best piece of writing I have ever seen on here.

    I stand in awe of its near perfect blend of truth, humor, and – yes – bitterness.

    Kudos.

    Agreed. I LOVE this piece. Love it.

  42. Z

    Frank O.:
    Either way, as a max player, I feel on sound ground arguing that it reflects badly on Melo that he’s not in shape to start seasons and uses the seasons to play into shape.

    I agree, Frank. Whether it’s fair or not, athletes are what they are and they are paid to produce (theoretically). An athlete with a poor metabolism is the equivalent of an athlete with poor vision, or arthritis, or any other physical ailment that can effect performance. Either perform like a great player and get accolades for it, or don’t, and spare us the excuses.

  43. Brian Cronin

    We get it JuanNY. You were happy the Rockets cut him, think Dragic is better (and perhaps will continue). The point is duly noted 200 posts on the topic.

    I don’t think that’s fair. If we got rid of every poster who continually reiterated their position on something, we’d have, like, five posters on the site.

  44. Brian Cronin

    of course, you just mentioned two of the most dominant players in their sport, arguably of all time. Clearly, the Babe was the most dominant by any standard. One could argue that Shaq was eclipsed by Chamberlain.
    In either case, Melo is not the physical freak that Shaq was, nor as great a player as Barkley and certainly in the elite of the elite, can’t even by mentioned with a man of Ruth’s stature.
    What I’m suggesting is that melo is a max contract guy like his contemporaries lebron and Wade, among others, but he’s not prepared as they are, and that may be why he’s not at their level.
    That’s the point I’m making.
    Simply dismissing it as he’s not alone, doesn’t make it any better.
    In Melo’s case, he’s not a great player. I believe he could be a more complete and potentially great player if he actually prepared for the season properly.
    It’s clearly an indictment of him, IMHO

    I don’t really mean it as a defense (trust me, THCJ is not going out of his way to defend Melo, and he brought up other examples, too), but when you make a specific point about how it is odd and other players don’t do it when it really isn’t that odd and lots of other players do it, I’m going to point that out.

  45. art vandelay

    stratomatic: This is one of the best pieces to ever appear on this blog (and there have been a lot of good ones).1. There is no question that D’Antoni makes a lot of players way more efficient and they usually deteriorate again when they leave him (in fact one of the few exceptions has been Melo & there are reasons to think that was Melo’s fault). 2. His Suns teams were always underrated defensively because guys like Barkley and others in the media were too ignorant to understand the impact of pace on PPG. 3. In NY, the closest he got to having a decent squad that fit his style was the early season team from last year and Dolan quickly destroyed that. People forget that for two years he was running his offense with Chris Duhon (3rd string in Chicago and 2nd/3rd string in Orlando). No one bashes coaches that make personnel and playing time decisions geared towards better Defense when they don’t win championships because they couldn’t score. Only D’Antoni takes that kind of heat despite the fact that he may have won a championship with the Suns if it wasn’t for a few key injuries in a couple of years and a bogus suspension when they had control of the Spur series one year.No one is going to mix D’Antoni up with any all time great coaches, but he’s a very good coach that got a bum rap in a city that is horribly impatient and ignorant because the owner is the greatest moron in professional sports.

    Per your 3rd point, what that Knicks team pre-melo last season really lacked was an interior presence/rim protector. You put Chandler on that team and don´t make the Melo trade and I think that is easily a 50-win team and could rival D´antoni´s teams in Phoenix (assuming Ray Felton is the one from last season and not this year).

  46. Frank

    Juany8: How are you so ok with a point guard who constantly has the ball in his hands barely getting an AST/TO ratio at 2?
    And again, this is all totally glossing over his d-league level defense…

    I think someone compared Lin’s year (really his rookie year) to a bunch of other prominent PGs’ rookie years — I’ve done it easy tabular fashion at B-R. The comparison is not exact because some of the other PGs were so young when they came out — but compared with Parker, Paul, Rose, Westbrook, and Deron Williams, his year looks pretty damn good – really, the only guy who had a BETTER rookie year than Lin is Chris Paul.

    http://bkref.com/tiny/zAs2R

    And as someone noted above, he’s really been quite good offensively even since the Linsanity explosion. His defense has also actually gotten better – according to to Synergy, he now allows 0.84 PPP – 181st in the league (which was better than it was 2 weeks ago when I last looked). He’s average against isolations (0.91 PPP – ranked 191st out of 400+ NBA players) and good against the PNR ball handler (0.74 PPP, 66th in the league). Where he is still getting killed is when guys spot-up against him, where they are shooting a completely unsustainable 48.8% from 3 point range (20/41). Interestingly, they are shooting WAY better from 3 point range than 2 point range (9/29).

    So I know you want to call him a horrible defender because some guys lit him up by shooting ridiculously from 3 point ran, but even though he has Baron and Shumpert coming in to spell him, the Knicks are indistinguishable on defense with him on/off court (he’s a -0.5 points/100 poss on the year according to 82games) and MUCH better on offense with him on the court (+8.2 points/100poss).

  47. flossy

    Brian Cronin:
    Shaq is a great example. It is hard to get these guys to strive to be in perfect shape when they’re paid so well in their current state. And like Ruth, when he’s winning titles, is he really going to try to get even better?

    Shaq is not a good example. If Melo had the talent and impact on the game of Shaq nobody would care if he carried a spare tire.

  48. Nick C.

    Brian Cronin: I don’t think that’s fair. If we got rid of every poster who continually reiterated their position on something, we’d have, like, five posters on the site.

    True but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t get tiresome. Or to see there’s 10-20 extra posts from last time I checked and they are all the same dead horse and irrelevant to the article.

  49. Nick C.

    Max any time you can put out something reminding us who the real viallian is please do so. Nice article.

  50. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    jon abbey: Shumpert was a better fit for this team than Faried, this team would be entirely screwed without Shumpert this year (2-8 when he plays less than 19 minutes). we’ll see what future years will bring.

    I agree that Shumpert is a fit, as Fields isn’t a good defender, but his shooting percentage is really, really bad. I’m not sure I’m sold that his impact on an opposing player’s shooting percentage is great enough to warrant him playing many minutes. I have no way to assess this conclusively, however.

    Faried is like Chandler in that his style of play would be a fit on every team in the league. Every team misses shots, and every team needs strong offensive rebounding. Faried has been so much better than Amar’e, abbey, and I think you have to admit that. Despite Amar’e’s recent surge, he’s still been just an average player, whereas Faried’s sky-high WS48 is indicative that he can continue this level of play at, what, 10% of the cost of Amar’e?

    I’d argue that Faried’s a better fit because he’s a much better player than Amar’e is, right now. He could easily play PF when Amar’e is on the bench or playing center, and would bring a level of scoring efficiency that only Chandler could rival. Shumpert’s value is much, much more difficult to ascertain.

  51. Frank

    A few more notes on Lin –

    He averages 5.1 assists at the rim per 40 – for PG’s playing significant minutes/game (15+) that is 5th in the league. So much for him not having court vision when he gets in the paint. The guys in front of him? Baron Davis (#1 in the league with 7.1 assists at rim per 40), Andre Miller, Steve Nash, and Sessions.

    Yes, he turns the ball over a lot. He’ll get better.

    I think MDA’s big problem when it came to Lin is that he did not really know how to manage egos. I think Lin did as good a job as he could re: deflecting all the media adulation, but MDA should have played the game and pumped up Melo/Amare etc. like Woodson did on day 1 of the job. For better or for worse, probably 60% of a head coach’s job in the NBA is management of egos, and D’Antoni has proven famously unable to do that. During Linsanity the only guys that were playing were zero ego guys. Melo and possibly even Amare probably needed a little more TLC from the coach – which only makes them like 90% of the other “superstars” in the league.

  52. JK47

    I’m sorry, but the Linsanity games count, and you have to factor those in when you evaluate Lin’s play. Our undrafted, waiver-claimed PG has a .143 WS% on a .554 TS%. He has outplayed almost all of the PGs from the past three drafts, including very hyped players like Ricky Rubio, Kemba Walker and John Wall.

    Redo the 2010 draft and Lin is probably a top 3 pick.

  53. Brian Cronin

    Melo and possibly even Amare probably needed a little more TLC from the coach – which only makes them like 90% of the other “superstars” in the league.

    You’re almost certainly correct, but it really sound a lot like the conditioning thing. In that, yeah, a lot of other players do the same thing, but it is still pretty lame that their egos are that fragile. So fragile that Woodson can not change things at all but gets credit from Melo and Amar’e for changing things because he told them that they’re the most important players on the team. Their roles are the same as they were before he took over, but because he told them they were more important, they feel like they are more important. Yikes. Again, it would probably work with 90% of the star players out there, but still…yikes.

  54. Frank O.

    Brian Cronin: I don’t really mean it as a defense (trust me, THCJ is not going out of his way to defend Melo, and he brought up other examples, too), but when you make a specific point about how it is odd and other players don’t do it when it really isn’t that odd and lots of other players do it, I’m going to point that out.

    My point was that Melo could be, but isn’t a great player because he’s not showing up in tip top shape, and that he should be doing that as a max player. The people you and THCJ mentioned were great players despite their fitness issues. Melo isn’t in that category, but I believe he could be if he showed up day one in shape.
    That was all I was saying. I did say I didn’t recall elite players, and I named a few, who showed up out of shape. I offered them as examples of people who were special in part because they were prepared.
    Sure some weren’t in shape, but you remember them because they were great regardless. Melo is not an elite player like that, as so many people have noted here before. He is good, but not a wade or Lebron, a Jordan or Pippen, a Malone or a host of others who were great and greatly prepared.
    I think he could be on par with those guys if he put into preparation what they apparently do and did.
    IMHO.

  55. Frank

    Brian Cronin: You’re almost certainly correct, but it really sound a lot like the conditioning thing. In that, yeah, a lot of other players do the same thing, but it is still pretty lame that their egos are that fragile. So fragile that Woodson can not change things at all but gets credit from Melo and Amar’e for changing things because he told them that they’re the most important players on the team. Their roles are the same as they were before he took over, but because he told them they were more important, they feel like they are more important. Yikes. Again, it would probably work with 90% of the star players out there, but still…yikes.

    My totally nonscientific feeling on this is that there is very little PHYSICALLY to separate the superstars from the stars except in the most special cases (ie. Lebron, Shaq, DH12). The vast majority of the rest have something like 5-10% better physical traits that are augmented by whatever mental edge they have on their opponents. Even with Lebron you saw it in his last few games with Cleveland after he found out Delonte had slept with his mom, and in the 4th quarter of the finals last year – when the mind doesn’t believe, the whole thing suffers.

    I think this may have been the case with Melo – I still think Amare’s thing was physical (on offense), and maybe they are telling him to do something a little different to explain his improvement on D.

  56. Nick C.

    Brian Cronin: You’re almost certainly correct, but it really sound a lot like the conditioning thing. In that, yeah, a lot of other players do the same thing, but it is still pretty lame that their egos are that fragile. So fragile that Woodson can not change things at all but gets credit from Melo and Amar’e for changing things because he told them that they’re the most important players on the team. Their roles are the same as they were before he took over, but because he told them they were more important, they feel like they are more important. Yikes. Again, it would probably work with 90% of the star players out there, but still…yikes.

    To me it comes close to needing your ass kissed to put forth the effort. But you what’s done is done. I just hope the effort of the last three games is here to stay.

  57. Frank O.

    For example, with all his weight issues, Melo can’t touch barkley’s career TS% or eFG%.

  58. Frank O.

    I do think Melo and Kemp are comparable, and I think Kemp was very good, but I wouldn’t say he was great.

  59. cgreene

    I don’t think the psychological stuff is that hard to understand. I mean look at how many athletes have sports psychologists. Look what happens to people like Knoblauch when they lose their confidence. Confidence is the thing that separates the top stars from the their peers for the most part. Once you are this level of an athlete it’s the mental edge that makes you better than your peers. That and work ethic. So the fact the coaches need to massage egos and press the right buttons is no surprise nor is it a disappointment. Riley and Parcells are great examples of coaches who knew how to do this and give their team an edge. I, for one, think it is the most important part of coaching. These guys have all seen the plays and systems before. I think it is a huge flaw of MDA’s that he literally scoffed at the idea for the most part and played Melo dead wrong. Steve Nash is once in a lifetime level in terms of athlete IQ and self awareness. I blame MDA in a major way for not getting the most out of the team because of this issue.

  60. Frank

    btw – FWIW, Synergy really likes Carmelo’s defense this year. Overall PPP-against is 0.78 which is the same as Paul Pierce and Danny Granger, better than Shane Battier (0.85), Kevin Durant (0.8), Gallo (0.84), Batum (0.98! gah), and Gerald Wallace (0.91). His +/- numbers are not good (NYK gives up 5.2 more points/100 poss on D when he is on the court) but it’s hard to know what that means given the 2nd unit is better defensively overall.

    I dunno – like Ruruland wrote at some point recently, Carmelo has been on a lot of good defensive teams in his career, and after his departure from Denver they have dropped to 18th in the league from 11th in 09-10 (Melo’s last full season there) and 8th in 08-09 despite Denver losing their 2 “worst” defenders in Melo and Billups. Obviously there are lots of reasons (most prominently Chandler, Jefferies, and Shumpert) for why our defense is good this year – but at least on PPP-against it does not appear that Melo is hurting us at all.

    As an aside – just going through these numbers make you realize how awful the state of defensive statistics is.

  61. Brian Cronin

    Here’s what I don’t get – basketballreference had Denver at 16th in 2009-10 (and 16th in 2010-11 while he was there). But I’ve seen other places say differently. How can there be a dispute over Defensive Efficiency? Isn’t it a pretty straightforward stat?

  62. Brian Cronin

    So the fact the coaches need to massage egos and press the right buttons is no surprise nor is it a disappointment.

    Accepting it I get (and I certainly do), but I don’t see how it isn’t disappointing that guys need their asses kissed to play better.

  63. dogrufus

    Frank O.:
    For example, with all his weight issues, Melo can’t touch barkley’s career TS% or eFG%.

    The Honorable Cock Jowles: I agree that Shumpert is a fit, as Fields isn’t a good defender, but his shooting percentage is really, really bad. I’m not sure I’m sold that his impact on an opposing player’s shooting percentage is great enough to warrant him playing many minutes. I have no way to assess this conclusively, however.

    Faried is like Chandler in that his style of play would be a fit on every team in the league. Every team misses shots, and every team needs strong offensive rebounding. Faried has been so much better than Amar’e, abbey, and I think you have to admit that. Despite Amar’e’s recent surge, he’s still been just an average player, whereas Faried’s sky-high WS48 is indicative that he can continue this level of play at, what, 10% of the cost of Amar’e?

    I’d argue that Faried’s a better fit because he’s a much better player than Amar’e is, right now. He could easily play PF when Amar’e is on the bench or playing center, and would bring a level of scoring efficiency that only Chandler could rival. Shumpert’s value is much, much more difficult to ascertain.

    Shump’s value defensively isn’t primarily in lowering his man’s shooting percentage, it’s his ridiculous proficiency at forcing turnovers. He’s one of the primary reasons we’re among the leaders in opposing Tov%. Didn’t you hear Breen say opponents isolating vs. Shump cough it up 25% of the time? Those are high quality possessions created.

    And yes, Faried is a much better player than Amar’e and likely will be going forward. But can you honestly say given Garden politics that he’d get the kind of opportunity he’s getting over there, here?

  64. JK47

    I’m not surprised by Melo’s strong PPP numbers. To my eye Melo has played very solid defense for the Knicks. There haven’t been too many times this season when I’ve gotten annoyed with Melo on defense. It has happened, but it’s happened a lot more with some of the other guys on the team. I think he’s been at least an average defender, not the terrible defender he’s often made out to be.

  65. JK47

    @69

    At some point Amar’e would have missed a game and D’Antoni would have been forced to put Faried in the lineup a la Jeremy Lin, and Faried would have gone off the way he is going off now.

    Could you imagine if Kenneth Faried busted out at the same time as Linsanity?

  66. ephus

    Excellent article. Very well done!

    It is tantalizing to think of what the Knicks could have been if only they had not desperately tried to deal Ewing and instead let him turn into cap space. Same can be said for keeping Camby/Nene (or whoever the Knicks would have drafted). Or allowing McDyess to turn into cap space. Or allowing Penny Hardaway to turn into cap space and not ditching Ariza.

    The only deal that I cannot really fault is the Francis/Frye for Randolph trade. Of course, in order to make that move work, the Knicks would have had to recognize that Randolph was a superior low-post presence to Curry.

  67. stratomatic

    I’m not sure why we are even discussing Lin.

    If we had drafted Lin and he was playing like this after 20-30 games we’d all have wood. :-)

    So what’s the problem now?

    He has to become a better defender and he loses control from time to time and turns the ball over, but he’s been an EV+ player so far (which is extremely unusual for young PGs). He’s young, from all accounts extremely bright and driven, and has enough athleticism to compete as this level. He will almost certainly get better with that combination. We should all be counting our blessings that we got him for nothing. Heaven knows, Toney Douglas was not working at PG (the other PG D’Antoni had to try to make his system work with lmao)

    The issues we have are related to out max players.

    1. Is Amare’s recent improvement a sign that he was out of shape because of the lockout and back issues or is he just on a good run within a long term decline that has already begun?

    IMO, both may be true, but we’ll have to see.

    2. Will Melo be willing to play a more team oriented game, improve his shot selection, and increase his efficiency or is he a hopeless self centered primma donna that will put himself above team, smile when the shots are falling and the team is winning, but be a disruptive force when things are not going well.

    To be quite frank, I see no evidence of Melo changing. He was happy last year when the team when on a good run. IMO he’s still not playing well. The team is playing with better energy, Chandler/Jeffries are back, JR is hitting some shots, and they are winning. But that’s it.

    I did some research on new mid season coaches.

    Over the last 4 years teams with new coaches went 8-9 with a point differential of +0. Most of those teams were playing horribly before the change. So it seems clear there is often a bounce, often temporary.

  68. Frank

    dogrufus:

    And yes, Faried is a much better player than Amar’e and likely will be going forward.But can you honestly say given Garden politics that he’d get the kind of opportunity he’s getting over there, here?

    For this team with Melo, Faried is a better player, since Amare’s scoring is a little superfluous. It’s hard to quantify the effect of spacing on the floor though — Faried takes 5.7 shots per game and 5.1 of them are inside of 9 feet. It will be interesting going forward to see which of the 5 man units with Faried are best – IMO they will be the ones in which Denver goes super small and plays him and Harrington in the frontcourt. Otherwise with Mozgov, McGee, or one of the other centers, it’ll get really congested inside.

  69. stratomatic

    The primary complaint about Melo’s defense has never been about his man defense and ability to shut down his own man when he gives 100%.

    It has been about switching.

    Apparently, in some cases when he should switch he doesn’t because he doesn’t want his own man to have a better chance of scoring (so he lets the other guy walk to the basket) and at other times he switches when it’s the wrong thing to do because he’s too lazy to make the extra effort to guard his own man.

    I have never seen defensive stats that measure the value of switching or not switching because it gets very subjective.

    I guess you just have to sort of see chronic laziness and mistakes.

    I haven’t watched Melo on this enough, but I read a lot Nugget forums and the complaints were always abut switching, not his man defense.

  70. bobneptune

    The Honorable Cock Jowles:
    Nice piece.

    By the way, I’ve been away for a few days, but I noticed the chatter about Faried.

    Yeah, he was a better pick. If you think Shumpert’s a better pick than Faried, you might be Shumpert’s mom. Faried is putting up one of the best rookie seasons in history.

    5-5 FG for 18 pts, a perfect 100% TS with eight FTA
    16 rebounds (6 offensive)
    only 2 TO

    IN TWENTY-FOUR MINUTES

    AGAINST THE THIRD-BEST PACE-ADJUSTED DEFENSE IN THE LEAGUE

    hcj,

    for what its worth, there are no minutes for faried on the knicks as there is no way to move amar’e. shumpert doesn’t have faried’s statistical brilliance, but he does bring alot to the table that the knicks need for a late teen pick. imo, he is a very good pick for the knick’s situation while faried will likely be the better player in the fullness of time.

    that being said, i think the knuggets are going to be immensely fun to follow with faried and mc gee crashing both boards and defending and blocking shots with ill will, gallo, afflalo and lawson taking most of the first unit shots with a bench of miller, al harrington, fernandez, brewer and mozgov .

    only harrington and fernandez are over 26

  71. limpidgimp

    Brian Croninit is still pretty lame that their egos are that fragile. So fragile that Woodson can not change things at all but gets credit from Melo and Amar’e for changing things because he told them that they’re the most important players on the team. Their roles are the same as they were before he took over, but because he told them they were more important, they feel like they are more important. Yikes. Again, it would probably work with 90% of the star players out there, but still…yikes.

    Good point. I agree that while Woodson has made tweaks, there’s been more continuity than not, but hearing the way Amare and Melo talked about it, you’d think that the changes are bigger than they actually are.

    But talking what coaches have to do as managing ‘egos’ is perhaps too dismissive, as if it’s just empty words instead of real substance. Telling a player (such as Melo, and Amare, and Woodson even did this with Lin) that he is an important part of the team is IMO inseparable from making him an important part of the team. The message is part of the substance.

  72. Frank

    Woodson is on Michael Kay now –
    – interesting points:
    – does not believe that what they ran in Atlanta was Iso-Joe – said 6 guys on that team averaged double figures
    – talked about being 3rd in offensive efficiency
    – talked about leading the league in turnover rate
    – talked about when games are close you want your best players with the ball, which is why it looked like Iso-Joe in ATL at times
    – talked a lot about using depth

    He gives a good interview.

  73. JK47

    for what its worth, there are no minutes for faried on the knicks as there is no way to move amar’e.

    I think you could find a way to get 25 minutes for Faried. Jared Jeffries has played about 20 minutes a game, just sit him and go with the guy with the .250 WS/48 who gets 13 rebounds per 36.

  74. Brian Cronin

    That said, the idea that he didn’t run an isolation offense because six people averaged double digits is silly. The Nuggets obviously ran an iso-offense and have had seasons with six players averaging double digits. The Hawks definitely ran an iso-based offense.

  75. Owen

    Interesting to hear a coach citing offensive efficiency numbers, if he did so….

    Brian – I have noticed that there are different ways to calculate offensive and defensive efficiency. I have heard some people write for instance that Steve Nash led the NBA’s best offensive by efficiency for nine straight years. (which is freaking amazing, across two teams.)

    But Basketball Reference calculates it slightly differently, so that he was second one year in Phoenix.

    Anyway, they are close…

  76. Frank

    Owen:
    Interesting to hear a coach citing offensive efficiency numbers, if he did so….

    Brian – I have noticed that there are different ways to calculate offensive and defensive efficiency. I have heardsome people write for instance that Steve Nash led the NBA’s best offensive by efficiency for nine straight years. (which is freaking amazing, across two teams.)

    But Basketball Reference calculates it slightly differently, so that he was second one year in Phoenix.

    Anyway, they are close…

    I think it’d be tough to find a (good) coach nowadays that is not aware of at least the more accepted “advanced” stats out there – offensive/defensive efficiency, EFG or TS, rebound and TO rates etc. The more “controversial” ones like WS/WP etc. maybe not but that is really just a guess. It’s not like this stuff is rocket science, and this is their actual 365 d/year job, not some hobby to waste time at work like it is for us. And I think I read somewhere that almost every team had a representative at the Sloan conference. I’m pretty sure it’s naive/arrogant/ignorant of us to think that corporations worth hundreds of millions of dollars don’t have guys looking at numbers in every way. Every team or coach may just think of or use the available numbers differently (or just make stuff up to prove his point like JVG said!!!).

    Re: the efficiency #s above – I used Hollinger’s website – did not check B-R. But yeah, I have noticed some discrepancies too.

  77. flossy

    Brian Cronin: You’re almost certainly correct, but it really sound a lot like the conditioning thing. In that, yeah, a lot of other players do the same thing, but it is still pretty lame that their egos are that fragile. So fragile that Woodson can not change things at all but gets credit from Melo and Amar’e for changing things because he told them that they’re the most important players on the team. Their roles are the same as they were before he took over, but because he told them they were more important, they feel like they are more important. Yikes. Again, it would probably work with 90% of the star players out there, but still…yikes.

    I couldn’t have said this better myself. Woodson has made few substantive “system” changes. The Knicks are playing better because the stars are giving more effort and it trickles down. Because Woodson told Melo and Amar’e “don’t worry guys, we still love YOU the most.” That’s just… yeah.

  78. Brian Cronin

    Re: the efficiency #s above – I used Hollinger’s website – did not check B-R. But yeah, I have noticed some discrepancies too.

    Yeah, Hollinger’s numbers always seem to be off from basketball reference. So weird.

  79. max fisher-cohen Post author

    I like a lot of what Woodson has done with regard to substitutions and lineups and ego stroking.

    I still think, however, that the main motivating factor at hand here is just how embarassing it would be for this team to miss the playoffs. What happened here is the kids were playing with matches, and Dad said “You’re gonna hurt yourself if you keep doing that!” The kids kept doing it, and they burned the house down, killing their father in the process. Is it any surprise that the kids aren’t playing with matches anymore?

  80. nicos

    Frank:
    btw – FWIW, Synergy really likes Carmelo’s defense this year. Overall PPP-against is 0.78 which is the same as Paul Pierce and Danny Granger, better than Shane Battier (0.85), Kevin Durant (0.8), Gallo (0.84), Batum (0.98! gah), and Gerald Wallace (0.91).His +/- numbers are not good (NYK gives up 5.2 more points/100 poss on D when he is on the court) but it’s hard to know what that means given the 2nd unit is better defensively overall.

    As an aside – just going through these numbers make you realize how awful the state of defensive statistics is.

    Tough to draw too many conclusions from the synergy numbers- Carmelo (.78) and Amar’e (.79) are both solidly higher than Chandler and Shumpert (both at .83). I think you can probably say that Amar’e and Melo aren’t as man defenders as people make them out to be but there are no Synergy numbers for team defense- if a guy sticks with his man when he should be rotating (hello Melo) or just stands in between two players, guarding nobody (hello Amar’e) that doesn’t show up on Synergy. Similarly, the fact that Chandler almost always takes the better of the guys at the 4/5 so Amar’e doesn’t have to doesn’t register in those numbers. Same thing with Shumpert who is generally put on the best backcourt player. Melo’s numbers are helped by playing the three which is the weakest position by per so the least likely to put up big scoring numbers etc…

  81. max fisher-cohen Post author

    Or I suppose the less morbid way of putting it is they burned the house down — dad’s okay, but he lost custody. Now is it such a surprise that under Foster Dad they’re behaving?

  82. Z-man

    Sorry, Max, you lost me with this:
    “They criticized the defense of his team although it was always in the top two-thirds of the league.”

    Being in the top 2/3 of the league is an accomplishment? Don’t get that, especially since they never cracked the top third.

  83. villainx

    flossy: I couldn’t have said this better myself.Woodson has made few substantive “system” changes.The Knicks are playing better because the stars are giving more effort and it trickles down.Because Woodson told Melo and Amar’e “don’t worry guys, we still love YOU the most.”That’s just… yeah

    I don’t think it’s that simple. I’m a big Lin fan but still finding it glaring how negative or dismissive D’Antoni has been with the starters/stars. If one of the main job for the coach is to manage personalities, and D’Antoni just give a darn about that. Um… that was just silly.

  84. max fisher-cohen Post author

    Z-man:
    Sorry, Max, you lost me with this:
    “They criticized the defense of his team although it was always in the top two-thirds of the league.”

    Being in the top 2/3 of the league is an accomplishment? Don’t get that, especially since they never cracked the top third.

    Not an accomplishment, but nowhere near the “The team plays no defense! They’re turrrrrible!” stuff that people used to write off the Suns. They were designed to win with offense, so an average defense, to me, is commendable. I had a lot more to say about D’Antoni, but I cut it because my point wasn’t really that D’Antoni was a great coach. Instead, it was that he was never given a chance, perhaps intentionally, that Dolan undermined him and Walsh with the Anthony trade, then fired him for Dolan’s blunder.

    @nicos — Knicks allow 5.7 more points per 100 possessions with Anthony on the floor.

    They allow 7.7 more with Stoudemire.

    Obviously both have stellar defensive backups in Shumpert and Jeffries, but maybe that gives us some indication of their team defense.

  85. cgreene

    Funny I don’t hear the “we love you the most” to Amare and Melo coming out of Woodson that everyone else is hearing at all. I hear words like “accountability”, “team defense”, “specific plays out of timeouts and on out of bounds plays” and “using our best scorers when we need to score” including “riding the player that’s playing the best” or “using the best matchups” to get shots. Little things that MDA didn’t seem good at. Woodson doesn’t sound like he plans on kissing anyone’s ass. I think Melo specifically requires more of a tough love approach than plain old goo goo eyed love anyway. What Melo didn’t get or what didnt get TO HIM was the passive aggressive uncommunicative MDA style. Nah. Woodie has nothing to lose here. He knows he has a 20% chance or worse of keeping his job. He’s going to go down fighting and that means getting on his players it sounds like.

  86. 2FOR18

    The Honorable Cock Jowles: Lane… is… clogged?You do realize that basketball players don’t just stand in the paint waiting for rebounds, right?

    Reminds me of the quote by, I think, Dusty Baker, about players who walk a lot “clogging the bases”.

  87. New Guy

    Anybody follow the English Premier League? (I’ve seen a few passing comments that indicate a few of you do.)

    Woodson taking over for D’Antoni is pretty much a carbon copy of when Harry Redknapp took over Juande Ramos at Spurs.

    In case you want to know how that ended up, Spurs went from underachieving under a brilliant, technical coach who couldn’t get his lazy players to buy into a system that had proven to be successful and exciting elsewhere (specifically, at Sevilla), to realizing their potential under a players coach in Harry Redknapp who has the tactical awareness of a goalpost and whose practices are marked by, well…not practicing.

    I think we’re going to be pleasantly surprised at the results Woodson gets. And, much like with Harry at Spurs, we’ll also be frustrated as hell by his tactical ineptitude and lack of in-game management. But this is an age of player power, and no where is it more powerful than at MSG. Player power demands coaches who will do what the players want.

  88. 2FOR18

    ephus: On the flip side from Shaq, you have big men like Yao and Oden, who did a great job of staying in shape, but could not stay on the court because of injuries. Once players get above a certain size, there is definitely a causitive relationship between intensity of conditioning and stress fractures and joint injuries. Of course, carrying extra weight also is a risk factor for stress fractures and joint injuries.

    Yeah, you can’t pull, strain or tear fat.

  89. ruruland

    max fisher-cohen: Not an accomplishment, but nowhere near the “The team plays no defense! They’re turrrrrible!” stuff that people used to write off the Suns. They were designed to win with offense, so an average defense, to me, is commendable. I had a lot more to say about D’Antoni, but I cut it because my point wasn’t really that D’Antoni was a great coach. Instead, it was that he was never given a chance, perhaps intentionally, that Dolan undermined him and Walsh with the Anthony trade, then fired him for Dolan’s blunder.

    @nicos — Knicks allow 5.7 more points per 100 possessions with Anthony on the floor.

    They allow 7.7 more with Stoudemire.

    Obviously both have stellar defensive backups in Shumpert and Jeffries, but maybe that gives us some indication of their team defense.

    uh, and with Chandler on the floor the Knicks give up 4.7 more… Chandler’s +/- is nearly as atrocious as Amar’e’s.

    Both guys are playing excellent team defense now, something many didn’t think Amar’e was even capable of doing. Will Knicks fans write that off as SSS in the coming weeks as the stats begin to capture it, will they continue to talk about how the changes are merely final acts of despair, or will they embrace the new spirit of the team heading into the playoffs?

    My suggestion: Instead of picking apart the team for past transgressions, enjoy it because this could be a really special ride.

    We’re in the present now, and that’s a damn cool place to be as a Knicks fan.

  90. Z-man

    I don’t get all the hand-wringing over Faried. The draft is over, we got a very good player that filled a desperate need in Shump, and just about everything Faried gives you in a 6’8″ rookie from a nothing college, Chandler gives you in a 7’0″ in-his-prime veteran with a fresh ring on his hand. It’s not like we picked an absolute bust over a guaranteed HOFer, or havent plugged the same hole Faried was meant to plug, considering the absolute FACT that Amare and his minutes are going nowhere for the next 2 years at least.

    Also, why are we so quick to induct Faried into the draft HOF when he has played less than 600 minutes, and hasn’t been around the league even once yet? In looking at his last 7 games he’s had two monster games, one decent game and 4 so-so games, and his team is 4-3. The one consistent plus is rebounding, which is clearly something everybody knew he would be great at. The question of whether he’ll blossom like Dennis Rodman or fade like Landry Fields has yet to be answered.

    No matter what, it is far from illogical to think that he was not what this team seemed to need most at draft time, goven who was available. And the jury is still out, and will still be for some time before we can conclude that Faried will have the better career, barring injury. I personally would be reluctant to trade Shump for Faried straight up right now, and think that Shump will be the more well-rounded and valuable player going forward. As I pointed out yesterday, his shooting percentage has gone up every month so far. If that’s the main criticism against him, it is also the easiest thing to improve. He will always be a physical plus as a guard. His defensive impact is very tough to measure, but I think it has been huge in a bunch of games. He had to play out of position at PG and has had sore knees and weird cramps to overcome, not to mention a dysfunctional team situation. I’ll wait and see before passing judgment.

  91. ruruland

    cgreene:
    Funny I don’t hear the “we love you the most” to Amare and Melo coming out of Woodson that everyone else is hearing at all.I hear words like “accountability”, “team defense”, “specific plays out of timeouts and on out of bounds plays” and “using our best scorers when we need to score” including “riding the player that’s playing the best” or “using the best matchups” to get shots.Little things that MDA didn’t seem good at.Woodson doesn’t sound like he plans on kissing anyone’s ass.I think Melo specifically requires more of a tough love approach than plain old goo goo eyed love anyway.What Melo didn’t get or what didnt get TO HIM was the passive aggressive uncommunicative MDA style.Nah.Woodie has nothing to lose here.He knows he has a 20% chance or worse of keeping his job.He’s going to go down fighting and that means getting on his players it sounds like.

    He’s just doing what a good coach does. Woodson is perfect for Melo, a guy Melo’s never had but always needed. People talk about Lebron’s daddy issues, they’re nothing compared to Melo’s ( in terms of the support systems growing up).

    Karl’s way of dealing with Melo was very much like MDA’s. He left a lot of it for Grgurich. Plus, neither of them are black with Melo’s kind of background, which makes it a little more difficult at times.

  92. ephus

    Starting tomorrow night, both the Knicks and the Bucks have five games in seven nights, with the last game being against each other at MSG. The Bucks have a three game-in-three night stretch, with travel after each game (Boston, @Charlotte, Indiana). The Knicks need to come out of this stretch at least one game ahead of Milwaukee, because the Bucks schedule gets quite a bit easier.

    In a nightmare scenario, the Knicks could finish 34-32 and still not make the playoffs.

  93. Z-man

    I am thinking more and more that Indy will fade out of the playoffs (I was not impressed with them at all these last 2 games), and that Boston is not a lock either. Could turn out that the Knicks and Bucks both get in.

  94. Bruno Almeida

    ruruland: uh, and with Chandler on the floor the Knicks give up 4.7 more… Chandler’s +/- is nearly as atrocious as Amar’e’s.

    Both guys are playing excellent team defense now, something many didn’t think Amar’e was even capable of doing. Will Knicks fans write that off as SSS in the coming weeks as the stats begin to capture it, will they continue to talk about how the changes are merely final acts of despair, or will they embrace the new spirit of the team heading into the playoffs?

    My suggestion: Instead of picking apart the team for past transgressions, enjoy it because this could be a really special ride.

    We’re in the present now, and that’s a damn cool place to be as a Knicks fan.

    are you really saying that a team that’s capped out for the next 3 years and is not even at .500 is a “damn cool place to be”?

    dude, I get that you’re an optimistic, but saying that after 3 good games is nonsense, let’s talk about a “damn cool place to be” after we win a playoff series, please.

  95. ruruland

    Bruno Almeida: are you really saying that a team that’s capped out for the next 3 years and is not even at .500 is a “damn cool place to be”?

    dude, I get that you’re an optimistic, but saying that after 3 good games is nonsense, let’s talk about a “damn cool place to be” after we win a playoff series, please.

    Fair enough. Did you wait until after the Super Bowl to enjoy the Giants season?

    They’re capped out but they’ve only played a handful of games together, and it’s pretty obvious, notwithstanding freak injuries or really bad luck, what’s about to go down the next few weeks.

    I’ve talked all year about this run and I now I’m going to enjoy it.

  96. ruruland

    ephus:
    Starting tomorrow night, both the Knicks and the Bucks have five games in seven nights, with the last game being against each other at MSG.The Bucks have a three game-in-three night stretch, with travel after each game (Boston, @Charlotte, Indiana).The Knicks need to come out of this stretch at least one game ahead of Milwaukee, because the Bucks schedule gets quite a bit easier.

    In a nightmare scenario, the Knicks could finish 34-32 and still not make the playoffs.

    Boston has a much tougher schedule than either of the two and is playing considerably worse than both.

    All eyez on Philly right now…That’s what I’m thinking about, and they have an easier schedule.

  97. nicos

    Regarding Faried- I think the biggest reason he went as low as he did was that no one was sure a guy his size could defend the post and I’d say the jury is still very much out on that. Of course, he’s been so good on the boards and getting out in transition that he’s more than made up whatever shortcomings he might have. That said, there’s a reason Dejuan Blair has never played more than 22 minutes a night- if you’re a four or five who can’t guard the post at all, it’s going to be tough to get minutes. Watching Faried, I think most of issues are regular rookie stuff- getting lost on rotations and screens- but he really is at a big size disadvantage when guarding the post and it remains to be seen whether or not he can deal with a steady diet of guys like Pau or Zach Randolph for 30+ minutes a night and still be the energy guy he’s been thus far.

  98. Bruno Almeida

    ruruland: Fair enough. Did you wait until after the Super Bowl to enjoy the Giants season?

    They’re capped out but they’ve only played a handful of games together, and it’s pretty obvious, notwithstanding freak injuries or really bad luck, what’s about to go down the next few weeks.

    I’ve talked all year about this run and I now I’m going to enjoy it.

    the Giants had won a Super Bowl in 2007, and have been to another in the span of a decade (with a couple of playoff appearances) and very, very good management throughout at least the best part of the last decade.

    now tell me, does that seem similar to the Knicks?

  99. ruruland

    cgreene:
    confidence.Confidence is the thing that separates the top stars from the their peers for the most part.Once you are this level of an athlete it’s the mental edge that makes you better than your peers.That and work ethic.So the fact the coaches need to massage egos and press the right buttons is no surprise nor is it a disappointment.Riley and Parcells are great examples of coaches who knew how to do this and give their team an edge.I, for one, think it is the most important part of coaching.These guys have all seen the plays and systems before.I think it is a huge flaw of MDA’s that he literally scoffed at the idea for the most part and played Melo dead wrong.Steve Nash is once in a lifetime level in terms of athlete IQ and self awareness.I blame MDA in a major way for not getting the most out of the team because of this issue.

    great post…. some guys are super-human athletically, have such an advantage every time they’re on the floor, they don’t have to worry about that stuff until they meet PRESSURE.

    Look at all the issues Lebron has gone through in his career under pressure (not the kind where he’s a hero if he does it all by himself, but where the odds are much closer to even, that’s pressure)…….

    So many players in this league have performed differently in different situations…… Paul Pierce gets talked about a lot but he seems to be a perfect example.

    Take away the money and the media and they’re just human beings. But, most of these guys have developed a mental toughness and an ethic that seperates them from other talented humans. Everyone, I presume, has had work situations that were great and some that were unbearable..

    The only difference with the NBA is that when you close yourself off or aren’t committed to the group everyone knows about it, and it brings the whole thing down. cliche, yeah, but chemistry is…

  100. ruruland

    Bruno Almeida: the Giants had won a Super Bowl in 2007, and have been to another in the span of a decade (with a couple of playoff appearances) and very, very good management throughout at least the best part of the last decade.

    now tell me, does that seem similar to the Knicks?

    I get it. Really, I do. I read it every day. I read today’s over-the-top but well written-piece.
    Misery????Ok
    Somehow management has lucked into building a really deep and talented team that is starting to click….. My only point is that maybe you should try to enjoy it for what it is instead of worrying about the ways Dolan messed up in getting here.

    If none these awful moves had taken place, you might have more future flexibility, but you probably wouldn’t have a roster with this kind of potential. Somehow the basketball gods have shined — Lin, Chandler’s health, Novak, Davis return to health, Smith choosing NY, etc al.

    And let’s not pretend that all of these moves have been awful.

    And maybe, just maybe, Woodson was the right guy all along. If that’s true, then who really cares how they got there.

  101. jon abbey

    New Guy:
    Anybody follow the English Premier League?(I’ve seen a few passing comments that indicate a few of you do.)

    Woodson taking over for D’Antoni is pretty much a carbon copy of when Harry Redknapp took over Juande Ramos at Spurs.

    In case you want to know how that ended up, Spurs went from underachieving under a brilliant, technical coach who couldn’t get his lazy players to buy into a system that had proven to be successful and exciting elsewhere (specifically, at Sevilla), to realizing their potential under a players coach in Harry Redknapp who has the tactical awareness of a goalpost and whose practices are marked by, well…not practicing.

    I think we’re going to be pleasantly surprised at the results Woodson gets.And, much like with Harry at Spurs, we’ll also be frustrated as hell by his tactical ineptitude and lack of in-game management.But this is an age of player power, and no where is it more powerful than at MSG.Player power demands coaches who will do what the players want.

    I buy a lot of that, but D’Antoni was awful at adjusting and in-game management, Woodson already seems like a notch up there.

  102. ephus

    ruruland: Boston has a much tougher schedule than either of the two and is playing considerably worse than both.
    All eyez on Philly right now…That’s what I’m thinking about, and they have an easier schedule.

    Right now, the Knicks lose the tie-breaker to both Milwaukee and Boston. Even if the Knicks win their last game against Boston, probably still lose the tie-breaker (Division record (Knicks 4-5, Boston 6-3)). Need to win both games against Milwaukee to have a chance at that tie-breaker.

    I hope you are right that the Knicks leapfrog Boston, but I think it will come down to the last night of the regular season, Thursday April 26, Knicks v. Charlotte and Celtics v. Bucks.

  103. Z

    ruruland:

    My suggestion: Instead of picking apart the team for past transgressions, enjoy it because this could be a really special ride.

    We’re in the present now, and that’s a damn cool place to be as a Knicks fan.

    You just don’t understand Knick fans. (I wish for your sake that Carmelo was traded to the Atlanta)

  104. Bruno Almeida

    ruruland: I get it. Really, I do. I read it every day. I read today’s over-the-top but well written-piece.
    Misery????Ok
    Somehow management has lucked into building a really deep and talented team that is starting to click….. My only point is that maybe you should try to enjoy it for what it is instead of worrying about the ways Dolan messed up in getting here.

    If none these awful moves had taken place, you might have more future flexibility, but you probably wouldn’t have a roster with this kind of potential. Somehow the basketball gods have shined — Lin, Chandler’s health, Novak, Davis return to health, Smith choosing NY, etc al.

    And let’s not pretend that all of these moves have been awful.

    And maybe, just maybe, Woodson was the right guy all along. If that’s true, then who really cares how they got there.

    trust me, I’ll definitely enjoy it when (and if) this team shows consistency and starts playing really well for a sustained period… but it’s still too early.

    we’ve seen this very same team quit pathetically on a coach and lose 6 straight, after a season that started so promising, sucked for a while and was revitalized by Linsanity… you can’t expect everybody to think everything’s rosy after 3 games.

    I have said it before and I’ll repeat: I sure as hell hope you’re right in every word you say, I’m just skeptic after being a Knicks fan for the last 15 years or so.

  105. ephus

    Bruno Almeida: I have said it before and I’ll repeat: I sure as hell hope you’re right in every word you say, I’m just skeptic after being a Knicks fan for the last 15 years or so.

    +1.

    I see your fifteen years and raise you fifteen. Cut my teeth on Michael Ray Richardson and Ray Williams. I’ve seen the ball pulled away too many times to get giddy about a 3 game winning streak.

  106. ruruland

    Bruno Almeida

    , I’m just skeptic after being a Knicks fan for the last 15 years or so.

    I get that. And maybe because I’ve been fortunate enough as a Denver sports fan to see these kind of turnarounds, I’m entrenched in my beliefs in the improbable. Growing up watching John Elway at the old Mile High Stadium. Some of the things he did there are hard to classify as anything but miracles. The funny thing is was a certain feeling in those 4th quarters that he would pull it off — 75k in the stands and both benches knew it was coming and no one could stop it. The mid-90’s Nuggets team that upset Seattle and nearly came back from a 3-0 deficit against the Utah Jazz in the next series. The Rockies 21-1 run in 2007 to make the playoffs for the first time in 13 years, Rocktober, and then the second half run of 2009 under, you guessed it, a new manager.

    I had an up-close view of the 2005 Nuggets 31-6 run under George Karl….

    I always felt that this would happen with this team, not because I had some gut feeling about it, but because I think (and maybe I’m totally off-base and conflating memories with my ability to see the big picture in the present) all the necessary ingredients are there for it to come together really fast in a major, major way. They just needed someone to pop it in the oven–and that’s Woodson (not to push this poor, overworn metaphor any further but he looks like Chef from South Park)…….

    There are teams that play better with a new coach. Sometimes it’s in their shotmaking, sometimes it’s just improved effort. But the team that trounced Indiana twiceon a b2b2, the way they played, that’s something entirely different.

    You heard it in Walsh and Vogel’s comments afterwards, it’s a totally different beast. And for a lot of reasons, I think it will continue and only get stronger. They just needed that little push…

  107. d-mar

    ephus: Right now, the Knicks lose the tie-breaker to both Milwaukee and Boston.Even if the Knicks win their last game against Boston, probably still lose the tie-breaker (Division record (Knicks 4-5, Boston 6-3)).Need to win both games against Milwaukee to have a chance at that tie-breaker.

    I hope you are right that the Knicks leapfrog Boston, but I think it will come down to the last night of the regular season, Thursday April 26, Knicks v. Charlotte and Celtics v. Bucks.

    I may be setting myself up for the usual Knicks fan heartbreak, but I’m thinking bigger, as in the Atlantic division. The game vs. Philly on Wed. is huge in that regard (and I know I’m tempting fate assuming tomorrow is a win) We win that one, and then 2 more winnable games vs. Toronto and Detroit, and we”re riding a 7 game winning streak coming home to face the Bucks. If this team continues to treat every game like a playoff game, like they did the last 3, I see no reason why they can’t put a major win streak together.

  108. JC Knickfan

    d-mar: I may be setting myself up for the usual Knicks fan heartbreak, but I’m thinking bigger, as in the Atlantic division. The game vs. Philly on Wed. is huge in that regard (and I know I’m tempting fate assuming tomorrow is a win) We win that one, and then 2 more winnable games vs. Toronto and Detroit, and we”re riding a 7 game winning streak coming home to face the Bucks. If this team continues to treat every game like a playoff game, like they did the last 3, I see no reason why they can’t put a major win streak together.

    If they continue to play defense which includes boxing out and rebound. Yes I can see 7 game win streak also. Philly game is away and Philly is off tomorrow. Indiana only team Knicks have beaten on the road that is Playoff team. This would be huge boost confident if they pull that off.

  109. ephus

    d-mar: If this team continues to treat every game like a playoff game, like they did the last 3, I see no reason why they can’t put a major win streak together.

    Right now, there is no reason why the team cannot put together a major winning streak, but there also is no reason to assume that they will. The problem, for every team, is that with so many games compressed into such a short period of time, one injury could cost three or four games. For example, Tyson Chandler’s wrist injury.

  110. Bruno Almeida

    ephus: Right now, there is no reason why the team cannot put together a major winning streak, but there also is no reason to assume that they will. The problem, for every team, is that with so many games compressed into such a short period of time, one injury could cost three or four games.For example, Tyson Chandler’s wrist injury.

    yeah, it’s not a season where we can safely predict hot / cold streaks, it’s a very strange year indeed.

  111. ephus

    Saturday night’s game between Indiana and Milwaukee promises to be one of the ugliest of the year. Both teams will be on the third day of three-games-in-three-days and both teams will be travelling.

  112. ruruland

    I see something along the lines of 9/10 of their next 11 with possibility of 13 game winning streak heading into Chicago.

    Philly close with Charlotte middle of second.

  113. Mulligan

    Two predictions, just from glancing at the standings: 1. None of the playoff teams in the east will have .500 or lower records going into the playoffs. 2. Next year will be the closest to parity both between the two conferences and between playoff teams in the conferences. We’re practically already there, with teams 3-8 all being within a few games of each other. I think this would be even more pronounced if we had a full season with more time for rest.

  114. ephus

    ruruland:
    I see something along the lines of 9/10 of their next 11 with possibility of 13 game winning streak heading into Chicago.

    Philly close with Charlotte middle of second.

    Can I get a pair of your rose-colored glasses? You really expect the Knicks to win 9 or 10 out of their next 11. If Knicks just go 7 and 4 (which I think would be great) are going to post comments that you are disappointed with the performance?

  115. daJudge

    I know this is total armchair psychology, but please bear with me, or tune me out if you like. I thought about what could motivate a millionaire player that has had many accolades before even becoming a pro. It’s a tough question. One thing that D’Antoni wasn’t and did not try to be was a father figure to his guys. Don’t ask me how I know this, but I do. Even if he tried, he would not have succeeded it seems. I am not criticizing him in this regard. I do think that many people, not just athletes, can be motivated to do great things with a father figure that imposes accountability , reward and care. Just because you have found yourself in a position where you make tons of dough does not alter basic human needs. This is particularly true with males who have grown up without a Dad. Many of us have competed in sports on a level that is important to us individually. Have any of you played for a coach that occupies the position of surrogate father? IMO, this can motivate well beyond X and O’s and really taps into something very deep. Perhaps we have found such a person. Certainly there are players on the Knicks that do not need or will not even recognize this impact. I’m thinking of Lin, for example. But others may react very strongly to this type of person. Some coaches think that these are pros and they need no motivation. Others think they make so much money, they should just do their freaking job. I don’t think it is that simple.

  116. Cousyfan

    I watched the Magic-Heat game Sunday and the 76er-Bobcat game tonight.
    I believe strongly we can beat both 76er and Heat when the time comes; the Knicks only need to be focused. And Woody will keep them focused.
    Go Knicks!!!

  117. Mulligan

    Wow. Checking in on this boston-atlanta game. Looks like the 9th round of a heavyweight fight and we’re halfway through the second quarter… Dudes look EXHAUSTED.

  118. ruruland

    ephus: Can I get a pair of your rose-colored glasses?You really expect the Knicks to win 9 or 10 out of their next 11.If Knicks just go 7 and 4 (which I think would be great) are going to post comments that you are disappointed with the performance?

    I’ve been talking about this run all year long. Everything is there for it to happen now.

  119. ruruland

    daJudge:
    I know this is total armchair psychology, but please bear with me, or tune me out if you like.I thought about what could motivate a millionaire player that has had many accolades before even becoming a pro.It’s a tough question.One thing that D’Antoni wasn’t and did not try to be was a father figure to his guys.Don’t ask me how I know this, but I do.Even if he tried, he would not have succeeded it seems.I am not criticizing him in this regard.I do think that many people, not just athletes, can be motivated to do great things with a father figure that imposes accountability , reward and care.Just because you have found yourself in a position where you make tons of dough does not alter basic human needs.This is particularly true with males who have grown up without a Dad. Many of us have competed in sports on a level that is important to us individually.Have any of you played for a coach that occupies the position of surrogate father? IMO, this can motivate well beyond X and O’s and really taps into something very deep.Perhaps we have found such a person.Certainly there are players on the Knicks that do not need or will not even recognize this impact.I’m thinking of Lin, for example. But others may react very strongly to this type of person.Some coaches think that these are pros and they need no motivation.Others think they make so much money, they should just do their freaking job.I don’t think it is that simple.

    You’re definitely onto something.

  120. daJudge

    Thank you Ru-ru. I hope I do. Without being patronizing re: players, I know a few things about kids and motivation. I don’t think grown men are that different. When do we really grow up anyway. The other thing I find interesting is that Coach was earning about $20,000 per day. What about his motivation to change and adapt to his squad. Got to go.

  121. ephus

    ess-dog: This is shocking. Does Sacto really have 15 guys better than Hickson?

    Losing is a disease, as contagious as bubonic plague. Hickson was a free agent after this year, so not a big loss.

  122. Z-man

    We can talk hypothetically about win streaks here, but the Knicks have to approach the rest of this season one game at a time, or even better, one possession at at time. They can’t start thinking streaks, schedule, playoff position, etc. Stay focused on the here and now. They certainly did that in Indy.

  123. BigBlueAL

    New Guy:
    Anybody follow the English Premier League?(I’ve seen a few passing comments that indicate a few of you do.)

    Woodson taking over for D’Antoni is pretty much a carbon copy of when Harry Redknapp took over Juande Ramos at Spurs.

    In case you want to know how that ended up, Spurs went from underachieving under a brilliant, technical coach who couldn’t get his lazy players to buy into a system that had proven to be successful and exciting elsewhere (specifically, at Sevilla), to realizing their potential under a players coach in Harry Redknapp who has the tactical awareness of a goalpost and whose practices are marked by, well…not practicing.

    I think we’re going to be pleasantly surprised at the results Woodson gets.And, much like with Harry at Spurs, we’ll also be frustrated as hell by his tactical ineptitude and lack of in-game management.But this is an age of player power, and no where is it more powerful than at MSG.Player power demands coaches who will do what the players want.

    I joked on Twitter when D’Antoni left that the Knicks should hire Jose Mourinho for next season lol

  124. BigBlueAL

    I would freaking love to go 4-0 this week but I will gladly settle for 3-1. Of course they have to win next Mon vs Milwaukee regardless of their record this week.

  125. Bruno Almeida

    is it just me or Gerald Wallace looks kinda pissed to be on this crappy team with Deron basically having guaranteed he’s gone?

  126. d-mar

    BigBlueAL:
    I would freaking love to go 4-0 this week but I will gladly settle for 3-1.Of course they have to win next Mon vs Milwaukee regardless of their record this week.

    You’d think they’d be motivated for Philly after the hurting they put on us at MSG. (And hopefully Lou Williams doesn’t make every shot he takes)

  127. massive

    KG played 37 minutes tonight. It’s looking like Boston is gonna overwork their starting 5, so I’m expecting them to slump.

  128. BigBlueAL

    d-mar: You’d think they’d be motivated for Philly after the hurting they put on us at MSG. (And hopefully Lou Williams doesn’t make every shot he takes)

    Sure, but going into Philly on the 2nd night of a back-to-back while Philly has the night before off wont be easy regardless of how motivated the Knicks are.

    Just saying losing that game shouldnt get this board going crazy and pissed. Now losing any of the other 3 games this week would be cause for complaining.

  129. d-mar

    Wow, Orlando scores a total of 59 points at home vs. Chicago without Rose (including a whopping 11 in the 4th quarter) Doesn’t get much uglier than that.

  130. villainx

    Z-man:
    We can talk hypothetically about win streaks here, but the Knicks have to approach the rest of this season one game at a time, or even better, one possession at at time.They can’t start thinking streaks, schedule, playoff position, etc. Stay focused on the here and now.They certainly did that in Indy.

    I know, that’s why I am not too concerned about playoff hypotheticals, only the next game against Toronto. Right now, they are on the outside looking in, when the Knicks control their own destiny, I’ll worry about playoffs. But right now, get the next W.

  131. jon abbey

    Denver is 11-16 since late January now, with a seven game road trip starting after one more home game.

  132. JK47

    Denver’s defense let them down again, as they surrendered a .595 eFG% to Dallas. Their schedule is pretty soft the rest of the way though, seven-game road trip notwithstanding.

  133. ruruland

    JK47: Denver’s defense let them down again, as they surrendered a .595 eFG% to Dallas. Their schedule is pretty soft the rest of the way though, seven-game road trip notwithstanding.

    It’s sort of soft opponent wise but they’ll have b2bs. They just don’t look good right now. Looks like Chandler will be getting a lot of minutes with Gallo. Half court offense is a joke right now. This guy used to come in handy against that team: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w9GuKZLpaaI

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I8RZIcxsdVo

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vlEGfkuHMBY

  134. Tony Pena

    Funny piece. Creative. But suggesting that those that don’t agree with you are unimaginative is arrogant. “There’s only one truth people”… Sounds a little like propaganda, don’t you think? After all most people in the media seem to think right now is that Melo is a disruptive teammate and that the knicks are dysfunctional, but yet have somehow won three in a row. The “populist”, underground belief would be that D’Antoni is a mediocre coach, and I haven’t seen much of that.

    Dolan is not evil, that would require him to be calculative, “shrewd, clever, slick”. He’s just another in a long list of meddling franchise owners who usually, royally, fuck things up. The D’Antoni experience is just not above criticism. With Phoenix AND New York the numbers suggest a flux of top third Offense, bottom two-thirds Defense. Thats’s very OK. He’s uncommunicative, yet has a big ego- hence his rigidity when it came to his system. Doesn’t seem to pay much attention to detail, and yet he’s supposed to be a leader demanding exactly that from his players. + and -‘s add up to mediocrity or good with potential depending on who you ask. I don’t see anything that screams greatness. Strictly basketball, D’Antoni and a great moustache are not martyrs.

    P.S.:
    Walsh was good, but Grunwald seems to be better. D’Antoni was OK, Woodson/Phil Jackson/ another good FO move seem better. Gallo is not, even if maybe not yet, better. Personally I don’t spend much money on the Knicks.

  135. Z-man

    JK47: Denver’s defense let them down again, as they surrendered a .595 eFG% to Dallas. Their schedule is pretty soft the rest of the way though, seven-game road trip notwithstanding.

    Wait, Faried didn’t have 30-30 on a .999 TS%? :)

  136. Frank

    massive:
    KG played 37 minutes tonight. It’s looking like Boston is gonna overwork their starting 5, so I’m expecting them to slump.

    Yeah will be interesting going into April what these older and less deep teams look like. If you look at Miami – LBJ has been AVERAGING >40 min/game since the ASB. They’ve been pacing Wade at about 34.5 min/game, but if you ask me, LBJ looked very tired in the finals last year – hopefully he gets tired a series or two before that if/when we play them.

    By comparison, our older guys (Amare, Melo, Tyson) have averaged 32, 32, and 31.4 MPG respectively since the ASB.

  137. TheRant

    Z: It’s 3:20 am and Jeremy Lin is the #1 trend on Yahoo right now. Linsanity lives on!

    School’s out in China.

  138. Robtachi

    So ESPN polls are for stupid poopyheads, but how in the H-E-double hockey sticks is Jeremy Lin crushing Derek Jeter as the most beloved NY athlete? Is this due solely in part to the new fanbase he’s awoken swarming this poll in droves?

  139. max fisher-cohen Post author

    @Tony

    Good points. I agree that D’Antoni is not above criticism and deserves his share. In fact, in a vacuum, considering the roster and the performance of the team only (no trades allowed), I think firing him was the right choice. If anything, it will clear up the question of whether this team can win as constructed.

    I guess what I meant by “those who lack imagination” was the people who live off clichés like Stephen A. Smith and, based on his decisions, James Dolan. Obviously Dolan is just a goof who likes to meddle. It’s the NBA. No lives are at stake. But that was the conceit of the piece, I guess — imagining that this was a country, and Dolan was its dictator, and losses actually caused legitimate suffering. In that alternate world, his ignorance and his meddling make him as evil as quirky but awful dictators like Gadaffi or Kim Jong Il.

Comments are closed.