Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Death Knell of David Lee as a Knick?

Beyond the early rumors leading into the draft that the Knicks were willing to move David Lee for a top-five pick, a few things happened later Thursday night (into Friday morning) that made it appear as though David Lee is not long for the Knicks.

Here are the pieces of news that will make David Lee fans (which apparently does not include Mike D’Antoni and Donnie Walsh) sad:

1. After drafting Danilo Gallinari, Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni was interviewed about the pick, and stated that he envisioned the 19-year old 6’9″ Italian as a power forward in the mold of Boris Diaw and Dirk Nowitzki.

2. After the draft, a rumor began that the Charlotte Bobcats, who drafted DJ Augustin, were discussing a deal with the Knicks involving David Lee and the Bobcats point guard, Raymond Felton, as the primary pieces. Frank Isola posted on his blog:

The selection of Italian forward Danilo Gallinari could mean the end of David Lee’s Knicks career.

I’m hearing that the Knicks could be working on a deal with the Charlotte Bobcats to acquire point guard Raymond Felton for Lee, who played for Bobcats coach Larry Brown.

Coincidentally, the Bobcats selected Texas point guard D.J. Augustin with the ninth overall pick. Charlotte’s second point was French center Alexis Ajinca.

When Mike D’Antoni coached the Phoenix Suns he gave the front office a the thumbs-down to drafting Lee because he felt that Lee wasn’t a good enough shooter.

The Knicks had spoken to the Memphis Grizzlies about trading Lee and Malik Rose before the draft to acquire the fifth pick.

3. Finally, early Friday morning, the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Memphis Grizzlies put together a mega-deal, with Minnesota sending the draft rights to #3 pick OJ Mayo, Marko Jaric, Antoine Walker and Greg Buckner to Memphis in return for the draft rights to Kevin Love, Mike Miller, Brian Cardinal and Jason Collins.

Suddenly, Memphis now has four young guards, ranging from promising to really promising, in OJ Mayo, Mike Conley, Kyle Lowry and Javaris Crittenton. They also do not really have a power forward of note (Hakim Warrick is their current power forward). Earlier in the day there was a rumor that David Lee, via his agent, informed the Grizzlies that Lee would never sign with them long-term. Later in the day, Lee’s agent claimed that not to be true.

So while no deal appears especially imminent, the signs apepar to point to D’Antoni and Walsh being very open to the idea of trading Lee, and as is usually the case in the NBA, if teams keep talking about trading you, usually they do end up trading you.

Hopefully all of the smoke here is just a smoke screen, and there is no fire – but I am not hopeful for Lee’s future as a Knick.

162 comments on “The Death Knell of David Lee as a Knick?

  1. Z

    It’s hard to keep track of these late night transfers…

    But none of them necessarily spell the end of Lee in NY. Lee for Felton sounds like fan blog chatter. Lee to Memphis for Conley or Lowry is possible, I guess, but after that Turiaf/Farmer rumor that circulated earlier, I’ll believe a trade when I see it.

  2. JK47

    After drafting Danilo Gallinari, Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni was interviewed about the pick, and stated that he envisioned the 19-year old 6?9? Italian as a power forward in the mold of Boris Diaw and Dirk Nowitzki.

    I like the Gallinari pick, but this statement by D’Antoni is puzzling to me. Gallinari is a perimeter player– he has zero “back to the basket” game, doesn’t rebound very well and looks kind of skinny even for a 19-year old. I think of him more like a slower Toni Kukoc or a Detlef Schrempf type of player. Hoping for a Dirk Nowitzki is wishful thinking.

  3. Brendan

    If you go by the local press coverage, you may as well knot the rope and kick out the chair right now, eh?

    As much as it will drive me nuts if Lee is traded for magic beans because Walshtoni don’t like his game, let’s keep in mind- it’s really easy to get overly emotionally attached to David Lee just because he was one of the few Knicks with a heartbeat of late. If there’s a deal out there which makes the Knicks better but requires him to be the centerpiece, it has to be done. That deal is obviously not the rumored Felton deal, but if there’s a Mayo deal…?

    At some point the Knicks may need to roll the dice on something like that, because the alternative is adding one piece per year in the lottery, at best.

    Incidentally- what was that, three times traded in one night for Darrell Arthur? Welcome to the league, kid….

  4. Brian Cronin

    Oh yeah, totally, Lee should not be untradeable, by any means.

    And if it was a case of the Knicks getting some great offer they couldn’t pass up, fine.

    Instead, though, you know very well (and I mean that as a general you, not, like, you, Brendan, specifically ;)) that when your coach and GM don’t like a player, they sure as hell aren’t going to get back in trade what the player should be worth.

    Logic – David Lee is worth X.

    Illogical GM and Coach who do not like Lee for stupid reasons – David Lee is worth < X.

    So while the Knicks should be looking for X, they’re going to be willing to take < X, which is absolute and total bullshit.

    I can’t believe Isiah freakin’ Thomas knew enough not to trade David Lee, but Walsh and D’Antoni don’t.

    All last year (and the year before), people like Bill Simmons joked about how you just knew the Knicks would trade David Lee, because Isiah is a moron. So we finally see Isiah replaced, and what do the new people do? They want to trade David Lee!!

    What’s even more astonishing is that if Mark Jackson was the pick, who is 180 degrees different from Mike D’Antoni, we probably still would see Lee on the block!

    The new thing in the NBA is about how GMs are getting smarter (hence the fact that everyone wants to trade for David Lee)- yet the Knicks surround themselves, apparently, with the old crowd.

  5. knicked up

    Just more of the same from the Knicks. A dubious pick in coach D’Antoni and an even more puzzling pick in the “Italian Kid”. It’s becomming harder and harder to keep the faith. Lee was one player on that godforsaken roster who looked like he gave a crap, now he’s on the block? If there’s light at the end of the tunnel, it’s real hard to see from here. Speaking of tunnels, for me, next stop may be Brooklyn.

  6. DRed

    Brian, you’re right. It’s really pretty simple. David Lee is good. We shouldn’t trade him for someone bad, like Raymond Felton.

  7. caleb

    Anything could happen, but I’m not too worried about the chatter. For one thing, it’s all coming from the press which we know has no clue about David Lee… this stuff isn’t based on reporting, just speculation, and we know that in the eyes of Isola, he’s just the backup power forward… so of course he would be on the block.

    Meanwhile, D’Antoni has a good track record — I can’t think of a single example where a better player wasn’t getting minutes. Walsh has a pretty solid record, too.

    Of course D’Antoni’s going to say that Gallinari is a PF, because he is. I liked the pick – I think he was the best player available – and you can sort out the needs later. If he turns out good enough to challenge David Lee, that’s not a problem — both will have huge trade value, or maybe we can go with an unconventional lineup.

    And if they do end up trading Lee for a top prospect like Conley — well, I’m okay with that.

  8. caleb

    oh yeah… “When Mike D’Antoni coached the Phoenix Suns he gave the front office a the thumbs-down to drafting Lee because he felt that Lee wasn’t a good enough shooter.”

    – this doesn’t mean much. Even if you assume it’s true, Lee got picked 30th, remember? Every team in the league thought he wasn’t good enough to go sooner. Don’t think that would happen now, and we have no idea what D’Antoni’s current opinion is.

    I do like the Gallinar picki, but the best thing about last night is what we didn’t do — give away assets to move up, or make some crazy deal to put us in an even deeper hole. (If we trade Lee and Chandler for Mayo today, I take it back).

  9. Brian Cronin

    Agreed, that bit is BS.

    But all the other smoke? It seems to me that there is a fire with all that smoke.

  10. caleb

    There COULD be fire — but I haven’t seen a single rumor with any meat to it. The Felton thing sounds semi-real, but that probably just means Larry Brown offered Felton for Lee. Doesn’t mean Walsh will bite.

  11. Ted Nelson

    It’s not looking too good on the DLee front, but I’m not forming any opinions based on rumors.

    First, of all: A #5 pick one day, a former #5 who hasn’t improved at all since entering the league the next… I would be pretty upset about Lee-Felton, but Lee’s value seems pretty solid.

    I’m not reading too much into D’Antoni or Walsh’s thoughts on Lee based on the rumors, either.

    On the one hand, it is true that when a guy’s name is constantly mentioned in trade rumors it usually means he’s on the block and will be traded eventually.

    At the same time, Lee is the Knicks’ most valuable trade asset. If you inherit a 20 win team, you have to explore all your options. Randolph and Curry are hard to move, so maybe Walsh is seeing what’s out there for Lee. I mean I think every single one of us (even Owen) is willing to say that Lee is not untradable depending on the deal.

    Is there any evidence of what side the rumors came from (I guess even those would be rumors at best). Maybe Walsh loved someone available at #5 or 2 guys available at #6, so he called Memphis up to see if Lee and taking on a bad contract would get him the pick, or maybe Memphis wants to know what the value of the #5 pick is but has no interest in trading it once they have a change at Mayo (who I think they gave up too much for). Maybe the other side had no interest whatever case it was or maybe they did, either way a rumor is born whether the trade was anywhere near happening or not. Could be the same thing with Charrlotte: the Knicks wanted to see if Lee’s former coach would place a really high value on him (say Felton and #20 or, better, #9 or maybe Feton, Morrison, #20/#9 for Lee and Jared Jeffries…), or Charrlotte wanted to move Felton so they thought hey this guy is a former #5 pick (who no other team would have taken #5…) we should be able to get David Lee for him…

    Maybe Walsh is leaking Lee for #5 pick rumors to establish his trade value, or maybe other teams really want Lee, Walsh has no interest and the leak comes from the other team. Maybe the rumors are altogether false… some journalist’s idea of what he would do if he were GM or some Bobcats’ or Knicks’ intern heard Bickerstaff talking to Walsh and told a reporter. Who knows. I’m just going to wait to see what actually happens.

    Caleb,

    Agreed on Gallinari. Lee at the 5 isn’t ideal, but the Knicks are trying to make the playoffs next year not win it all (I mean that would be nice, but not very realistic). Also, Danilo’s a rookie next season, expecting him to come in and be an All-Star is about as realistic as expecting the Knicks to win it all.

    As far as D’Antoni liking people rumors… What happened to D’Antoni not liking Danilo’s game. Clearly either false, his opinion changed, or Walsh just didn’t care.

    Brian,

    I agree with Caleb… considering Lee hasn’t been traded for Felton yet, Walsh didn’t like the deal or is at least hoping for a better deal. I love Lee, but if the Knicks can somehow get an All-NBA type player (current or, more likely, future) for him… TRADE HIM. They’re not that comparable of deals (considering all were overrated and or old while Lee is underrated and young), but Walsh traded ok to good players in Dale and Antonio David and Jalen Rose for good value in Indy.

  12. Plexxxx

    Other than the Times, all the NY papers mentioned that this might be the end of David Lee in NY.

    I like David Lee, a lot of the time it seems like he’s the only guy on the team that plays his ass off, but you guys overrate his value to the Knicks something fierce.

    Personally if we could parlay him into a TRUE point guard, I’m all for it. Conley would be a great pick-up, I’m not even necessarily against Felton either.

    Unless you have a transcendent player like Jordan, Kobe or LeBron, you’re not winning titles without a high quality point guard.

    Lee is athletic and popular, but he’s not much of a scoring option, he’s more of a high energy garbageman who would be outstanding on contending team. On the Knicks, who as a team have forgotten that it’s legal to play defense, his talents are somewhat wasted because the guys around him just don’t seem to care. I would like to think that would change this year, but with what we know of D’Antoni’s style, and the fact that most of the same guys will still be around, I’m not expecting much.

    His trade value will never be higher, and I think when he’s eligible for free agency, the Knicks will have to overpay to keep him around, and I don’t imagine at that point they’ll be good enough to throw big bucks at complementary players.

    I’m not saying they should do the Isiah Thomas “make a deal just to make a deal” Special, but they should explore all available options.

    The rest of the roster is untradeable, nobody wants any of these guys. I would imagine that even if the contracts were more workable, teams still wouldn’t be interested because their attitudes are terrible.

    It’s almost as if every GM in the league got together and decided to dump their malcontents on Isiah because he’s the only one dumb enough to pull the trigger. It’s like the old Life Cereal commercial, “give it to Mikey, he’ll eat anything”.

    I don’t know what kind of plan Walsh has up his sleeve, but I would seriously consider releasing all (or almost all) these guys, eating their contracts and loading up the roster with CBA and D-League guys who at least somewhat fit D’Antoni’s system, give them all one year contracts and work from there. Obviously it’ll never happen, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t.

  13. Italian Stallion

    IMO, the idea that D’Antoni and Walsh don’t like Lee’s game is total nonsense. Even if it was true a couple of years ago, it’s old news. Lee has already demonstrated he has more game than he showed in college.

    I think you guys are still missing the key element that might initiate a trade.

    It’s about cap space, his monetary value, and the fact that he’s the only marketable asset the Knicks have that can bring a quality player back (potentially an experienced PG).

    The question isn’t whether Lee is good or not.

    The question is whether the Knicks can afford to pay him 7m-9m a year in a long term contract and still build championship team when they may have difficulty moving at least one of the four bad contracts they still have on the books now.

    As I said on another thread, you need three “all star” quality players or two “superstars” and a bunch of solid role players to be a contender. The Knicks have none so far. If you pay the #4 guy (LEE) 8m, it’s going to be tough to fit three all stars above him and still stay under the cap (especially if you can’t move Curry, Jeffries over time etc..)

    That’s why I’ve been pointing out Lee’s limitations. It’s not because I don’t love his game and attitude. It’s because it’s tough to justify 7m-9m for a 10/10 guy with a limited outside game that is also only an average defender.

    Given the Knicks financial position, lack of talent, and goal to get under the cap by 2010, to commit that much money to Lee, you’d have to be pretty sure he’s going to develop into an All Star or much more complete package.

    That’s the thinking. Some people may not agree, but it’s about the money relative to the Knicks needs and Lee’s game.

  14. Mulligan

    That Memphis-Sota trade confuses the hell out of me. What are they thinking? We need to steal a point guard from them, even if it’s Crittenton.

    The Lee for Felton rumors make no sense to me because if the knock against Lee is that he doesn’t have a shot well, Felton doesn’t have a shot either and has gotten worse each year in the league. It’s not happening.

  15. Dave

    IS,

    They’d have to pay Felton too if they made that deal. Don’t see cap space playing a role in a Felton-Lee trade.

  16. caleb

    “It’s because it’s tough to justify 7m-9m for a 10/10 guy with a limited outside game that is also only an average defender.”

    I know money is a factor, but you only trade your best player for another really good young player (like a PG), or as a last resort after you’ve exhausted all options for moving Curry, Randolph, Crawford and Jeffries. That won’t be for another year and a half.

    He also won’t be a 10/10 guy, in starter’s minutes – I think in a year or two you’ll be looking at an 18/12 guy, shooting 60%, playing average defense. $7-10 million isn’t overpaying for that — if it’s February 2010 and we’re facing a choice between Lee and enough cap space for Wade or LeBron, he’ll be easy to move.

  17. AncientMariner

    you think maybe DJ Augustin is the PG the knicks are targeting from the bobcats?

    wouldnt larry and MJ want to keep the Tar Heal player?

    there may be a three way in the works to get DJ to the Kicks and Lee to the Cats which includes dumping a Knick albatross.

    Cats taking DJ at 9 with Felton on the roster smells fishy.

  18. Owen

    Italian Stallion – I asked you this at the end of the other thread? What possible difference can paying David Lee 7-9 million make to our long range prospects? Right now, we have four guys making more than that and Quentin makes 8.

    It’s not like we are committing much money to Lee by making him the fifth best paid player on our roster.

    And we can still trade him if we need too. It’s not like all the teams trying to acquire him are doing it so they can have his services for one year. They are going to have to sign him to that 7-9 also. And they will be willing to trade for him later.

    There is not a chance in hell that Lee’s contract will represent the stumbling block that keeps us from getting Lebron.

    Lee does perhaps represent the opportunity to unload Craw and Curry or Randolph. That should be the focus of any trade. That could improve the team by making us worse in the short run and much much better in the long run.

    And I really don’t understand the outlandish reverence for point guards that seems to be circulating throughout the basketball world right now. Since when is having a good point guard more important than having a great power forward?

    The lesson of the last 20 years has been that you don’t need a good point guard. Chicago won six titles without a good point guard. The Lakers won three with Fisher, who is highly mediocre. Parker is a good player, but Manu and Duncan are the clear stars in San Antonio. Which leaves Billups as the only PG to be the star of a championship team, and even he was probably secondary to Ben Wallace that year.

    A great point guard is a wonderful thing to have, and a wonderful thing to watch, but Kidd and Nash have zero titles between them. And the most recent championship was won with a second year player from Kentucky and a bucket of bolts from Mars at the helm.

    Phew, heating up here….

  19. Brian Cronin

    Obviously it’ll never happen, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t.

    Yes, it shouldn’t, because then the Knicks would have almost all of those players on their salary cap in 2010-11 (you stay on the salary cap if you are cut), which would be just about the polar opposite of what the Knicks want.

  20. Plexxxx

    LOL true enough, I’m just tired of seeing the same miserable cast going through the motions season after season.

    Almost anybody would be better than these guys. I could deal with rebuilding, I’ve been calling for it for the last 7 years.

    I would at least understand if they had below average players gave it their best effort every night, but these guys are supposed to be good. There’s no chemistry and next to nothing in passion, it’s like they don’t care.

    I’ve reached my breaking point. For a long time I ignored all the complaints about Dolan, Isiah, Marbury, Curry, Randolph etc etc and convinced myself “it’ll get better, just give it time” but things have only gotten worse.

    They’ve completely screwed themselves. I will be SHOCKED if they can get under the cap enough by summer 2010 to get in position to get a top notch free agent, let alone actually be able to reel one in.

    For years they’ve insisted on treating their draft picks like soiled diapers. After Lee (who’s not a star) who was the last Knick draft pick to be a huge impact player? Charlie Ward? Hubert Davis? Mark Jackson???

    Blowing everything up and starting all over again is the only way to change things, but I suspect it’ll be too late for the 2010 free agent class.

  21. Thomas B.

    Were there any undrafted players that the Knicks could bring in for a look? The only name of note I can think of is Richard Roby.

  22. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger)

    Hold on a second let me rub my eyes. Nope still there.

    Are we really considering this rumor like there’s any truth to it? If I believed what I read in the papers, Lee wouldn’t have survived to draft day. Newsday’s Ken Berger wrote not one, but two columns about trading David Lee. The first titled “Donnie, don’t pass on chance to trade Lee” sounds more like a plea from a fan instead of news reporting. I guess when Walsh didn’t trade Lee immediately, Berger resorted to a more forceful title: “With eye on Mayo, Knicks’ Walsh looks to deal Lee”.

    If we believed everything the media fed us, Lee would have been traded forty or fifty times by now. Rumors are machinations of the writer. There’s little to no substantial value to them. Just look at history.

    For instance the rumors were that D’Antoni wasn’t impressed with Gallinari, so the Knicks were ready to draft everyone from Mayo to Westbrook to Gordon to Joe Alexander. How about Mike Fratello becoming the Knick coach a few years ago? Or Mark Jackson this spring?

    How did those rumors turn out? For all we know, this rumor might have originated from the Bobcats in order to get leverage from another team on Felton. Gee maybe there’s someone in the Bobcats organization that comes from New York & has ties to a few reporters?

    The Knicks may end up trading David Lee, and they may end up getting fleeced in the deal. But there’s no reason to get upset until something is official.

  23. Ray

    Nothings going on with Jared Jordan except that he still cant play D. We should have pulled out all the stops to get Mayo…Jeez. Now im hearing Minny dealt him to Memphis…im sick. As far as DAnillo goes we’ll just have to see. Summer league start in about 2 1/2 weeks so we’ll be able to see the kid live in action but then after that it will be nothing til’ preseason. One thing I hate about the NBA is that it seems like forever until the season starts. The season should begin in the summertime instead of winter. Go get um Danillo.

  24. Z

    “Were there any undrafted players that the Knicks could bring in for a look?”

    Jamont Gordon and Davon Jefferson were two underclassmen that lost their college eligibility and went undrafted.

  25. Thomas B.

    Any thoughts on ESPN’s draft coverage last night? I did not care for it. I really am tired of Stu Scotts attempts to urbanize his presentation. Seemed to be the same news from a diffrent talking head every 3 minutes

  26. daaarn

    That was actually one of the more boring drafts I remember watching. I was hoping for some more “big” trades during the telecast. I guess the fact that they leaked the big trades during the day made the draft anti-climactic by the end of the lottery. I was just hoping something else was going to happen. The Love-for-Mayo draft was kinda a surprise, but it came so late at night that I didn’t really care. And now these Lee-for-Felton rumors are just depressing. I agree that Lee isn’t untradeable, but unless we get something worth our while, I don’t see how trading Lee will help us any.

  27. TDM

    While I wouldn’t trade Lee for Felton, what’s wrong with Felton? The guy is a pass-first pg that relatively does a good job of taking care of the ball. His fg% increased 3% this past year. He hits 80% of his free throws. He gets a steal per game along with 3 rebounds.

    Are people just crapping on him because of the love for Lee, or do you think Felton would be bad for the Knicks?

  28. TDM

    Also, just to throw this out there… what if the trade were Lee for Felton, plus Charlotte’s #1 next year unprotected?

    Again, I agree that Lee was the only Knick showing heart last year, but Charlotte very well could be in the lottery next year.

  29. caleb

    TDM is right — Felton is not a bum. Pretty good passer, doesn’t turn it over much, very quick – I think of him as an above average defender, but I don’t really know. On the bad side, he can’t shoot at all (lifetime TS% under 50) and — more disturbing — hasn’t improved a lick since his rookie year.

    Still, he just turned 24 this week and could have a career as a passable starter or a very good backup… depending what sort of money he’s looking for, I could see making a trade offer of Nate Robinson, or Chandler, something like that.

    On the other hand, that would probably make our team a little bit better next year and the best long-term strategy is to be terrible and grab a high lottery pick.

  30. caleb

    “what if the trade were Lee for Felton, plus Charlotte’s #1 next year unprotected?”

    Nah — Felton’s not more than a backup on a really good team, so you’re basically trading Lee for the #8-16 pick — not worth it, in my book.

  31. caleb

    How about Lee, Rose & Jeffries for Okafor & Felton.

    Didn’t MJ draft Jeffries? That deal gives Charlotte some salary relief. On talent we win, but MJ might not know that.

  32. caleb

    oops, it actually costs Charlotte a few million extra, probably, but not much. Depends whether they prefer the talent. Same for us.

    On our side, we could save a few million by flipping Felton for a draft pick -he’d probably bring back something in the 20s, maybe even teens.

    Meanwhile, we’d get a guy about as good as Lee, IMO, who can actually play center. Healthy, I think he’s actually better — but healthy is a question.

    I’m not really pushing this one — just thinking out loud.

  33. Ray

    I never want to see Felton in a Knick uniform for what. Id rahter have Nate run the point. Despite his turnovers Nate cam in and single handedly kept us close in a number of games and if we only had a couple of people who we could go to in crunch time our record might have been different. We lost a lot of close games last year and for stupid reasons. Nate can shoot and get past defenders so ill take him over felton.

  34. KG

    Give it time… Aside from talent like a Patrick Ewing, it’s written in stone that the Knicks must always get rid of their draft picks in 3 or less years, and if they don’t, it’s because no one else really wanted them… If you’re a 2nd rounder, forget it… Don’t even show up to camp, too many bloated contracts. First rounders, be prepared to sit the pine. It’s always been that way. A joke of jokes to the NY fans who get hyped up about draft night… I mean honestly, the NY fans keep going to this event for what…To see a player get drafted who won’t even be in a Knick uniform in 3 years… And still, to this day, the NBA Draft and the NY Knicks home opener are my two favorite things about the NBA… When the playoffs return to NY I’ll add that back to the list.

    Believe me though, for whatever reason, I can’t get enough of the New York Knicks

  35. Cole

    David Lee is the most consistent player the knicks have and the only player that comes out to play every night. For what reason would we trade him for an average point guard that will never help our team in the future. Hes one of the few pieces that should actually remain on this team. He is a vital role player and the type of player that is need to win a championship one day.

    As for Danilo i think hes great fit for our team. There were no players to draft in his place since westbrook and mayo were both gone. He will be a solid secondary scorer for us for many years and there is no reason to boo him. He might not be a 5 time all start but he will be a key player in the knicks success.

  36. Ted Nelson

    I was hoping to figure out a lot about Walsh’s plan last night. I might be getting a little feel for what he’s doing, but after hiring a coach and making a draft pick I have about as many quesions as answers.

    Some thoughts on what Walsh’s strategy might be:

    -He’s clearly not in a rush, which I think is a good thing. The draft was a bit anticlimatic, but he took a solid pick. Danilo probably has as low a “floor” as anyone at #6 (he has good passing and shooting skills so he can probably be useful even if he’s a career backup) and (while I don’t advocate drafting for need) he fills the Knicks’ ultimate need: basketball IQ.

    -After signing D’Antoni and drafting Danilo, defense seems to be a secondary concern (at least he didn’t sign D’Antoni and then draft a D-first guy). I agree with the logic that the Knicks have some decent offensive pieces but you’d have to turn over 75+% of the roster to be a good defense, so I think this makes some sense. I wouldn’t have minded a total rebuilding effort and a defense first attitude, personally, but offense-first might be a more practical approach.

    -He seems to be taking a win now approach. I mean he wouldn’t have gotten D’Antoni had he told him “we’re going to suck for 3 years, then maybe we’ll get better” but you also don’t get a coaches’ hopes so high that he says something along the lines of “we better make this pick count because we won’t be in the lottery for a while” if you’re going to gut the team. It’s only going to frustrate the hell out of him.

    -Maybe that’s why there are reports that Lee’s being shopped for mediocre PGs: he’s trying to put together a halfway decent (say .500) team so that players have trade value (even then Felton is no improvement over Marbury, so maybe not). I’m not a big fan of the lose now to win later approach: win now and later like Joe D’s Pistons and Paxson’s Bulls (until they didn’t win later this past season, but you have to assume they’re going to be right back to winning after their incredible luck… Rose ends up in his hometown after LeBron does? Maybe we need a #1 pick from NYC to win the lottery). I just hope he doesn’t buy the “the Knicks have TONS of talent, they just need a good coach and functional organization” logic… Those things are essential, but as everyone else is saying I could root for 12 NBADL players more than Randolph/Curry/Crawford/Marbury.

    -I’m still wondering if he’s going to try to inflate the trade value of the Randolph/Curry types (I think Crawford’s is about as high as it will ever be, unless he actually plays on a winning team or he puts up more PPG in a fast-paced attack), trade one or both of them for peanuts this offseason, or let D’Antoni sit them if they don’t help the team…

  37. KG

    This may have been answered somewhere else on this site but is Danilo definitely available to play for the Knicks next year? … What about any Euro contracts?

  38. caleb

    He said he’s coming over for sure — I think he is a free agent and was offered another long-term contract but says he will bag it to play for the Knicks.

  39. Brendan

    As I understand it he’s out of contract with Armani Jeans and free to play next year; it’s no Fran Vasquez deal.

    …is it a joke to far to say the Cock has escaped the Jeans?

  40. jon abbey

    “he fills the Knicks’ ultimate need: basketball IQ.”

    their ultimate need is still a franchise player. whether that’s currently Lee or Gallinari, probably every team in the league has someone better to build around.

  41. Ted Nelson

    “it’s no Fran Vasquez deal.”

    Or Fred Weis… Both would have been busts in the NBA anyway, maybe they could have managed to become rotation players but nothing special. Vazquez got 16 mpg last season (is 40 minute games) in FC Barcelona’s front court rotation that includes Denis Marconato, Jordi Trias, and Mario Kusan. That’s a great frontcourt rotation in Europe and role playing defensive bigs get more love in the NBA, but come on… Weis is a good rebounder, but he’s pretty stiff and scored 4.3 ppg last season.

  42. retropkid

    Walsh in no dope when it comes to David Lee, and won’t make a stupid trade for a lousy PG.

    But he also knows re-signing Lee will be expensive, and I can’t fault him for wanting to use that money elsewhere…ESPECIALLY if he can use Lee as a carrot to get somebody to take on Curry or Crawford.

    The plan seems to be:

    1. Keep Starbury for a year, he should have motivation to play well. Then dump him.
    2. Use Lee to dump Curry if you can…that alone would be enormous for us.
    3. Let somebody have Crawford for peanuts if you have to…or…let him come off the bench for energy but limit his shots.
    4. Get Bosh in 2010…probably can’t get LeBron, probably don’t want D-Wade after another couple of years of banging…
    5. Randolph? For all of his deficiencies, we don’t have anybody else who can consistently score 20 points for now…unfortunately, we need him to stay for at least a year…

  43. Ted Nelson

    “their ultimate need is still a franchise player. whether that’s currently Lee or Gallinari, probably every team in the league has someone better to build around.”

    The biggest need they could actually fill last night.

    I don’t agree with the whole “building around someone” philosophy. I think a lot of teams end up giving guys max-deals because they just want to “build around” their best player no matter who that is. They end up with some semi-star who scores a hollow 20 ppg and illusions of grandeur, but win 30 or 40 odd games and usually waste a late lottery pick or mid first either trying to find their “real franchise player” in some athletic teenager with no game or on a “role player” who isn’t even good enough to play in the league.

    The Knicks need to get at least two very good players if the goal is to win a title (at this point I’m praying for the playoffs, but I guess you don’t build a team saying “I hope we’re the 8 seed for the next decade”). You’re always really high on one “franchise player”, Jon, but how many teams have won a title with only 1 very good player. I mean TD has clearly been the best player in SA, their franchise player, but he’s had All-NBA players around him in David Robinson and Manu, plus a host of other very good players. KG seems like the ultimate example: Minnisota had the ultimate franchise player, and still blew. Put him with Paul Pierce, Ray Allen (both All-NBA guys), and Rajon Rondo (a future All-Defensive Team guy) and he wins it all. Kobe also to a large extent. By my count, in the last 20 seasons only Hakeem has won a title without an All-NBA caliber teammate (a major contributor who was All-NBA at some point close to the title: I’m not talking Cassell on the Celtics but not necessarily someone who was All-NBA that season as it’s a subjective award). Even Detroit, the “champion without a franchise player”, had 3 guys who have gotten multiple All-Defensive nods and two guys with multiple All-NBA selections.

    I don’t mean to put so much weight on such a subjective award, but I’m just using it because it shows that there is a concensus that player x was among the top 15 players in the NBA in a given year. Also, you can definitely have 2 or even 3 All-NBA guys and still not even get to the finals (Rockets or Suns). I don’t mean to oversimplify things so much, just that if you’re going to win the title you also definitely need 2 All-NBA guys not just one “franchise player.” I guess you could say that one of your two All-NBA
    caliber guys has to be first team to win it all. Although Detroit showed that’s not necessarily the case if your team is beautifully constructed.

    In terms of the Knicks: if Gallinari reaches his ceiling and is really the next Dirk (how ever unlikely that may be), I’d say the Knicks only need one more “All-NBA” player away. I mean that’s what happens in my dreams, but back in reality if he’s really Toni Kukoc with a J and the Knicks manage to add a top 3 pick next season and an established All-NBA guy in free agency or a trade I think they’re in great shape with Danilo as their 3rd guy and DLee as their fourth and some strong “role players” around that “core.”

    Anyway, now that my useless tangent is over, in my opinion the Knicks were more desperate for basketball IQ than a PG or outside shooting or a defensive presence.

  44. jon abbey

    I don’t have much energy to debate hoops these days, between my disdain for Stern and my disgust for the Knicks and it being the offseason, I’m going to try to lay low for a while.

    but I will say that KG being “the ultimate franchise player” is ridiculous revisionist history. if PJ Brown doesn’t play the game of his life in game 7 against Cleveland, KG comes up small and goes out in the second round.

    also, guys like Duncan and MJ make their teammates better, I don’t think Pippen or Ginobili would have developed anywhere nearly as well if they’d never played next to those superstars. guys like Duncan and MJ demand so much attention from the other team constantly, it just makes it easier on the other players.

  45. Ben R

    My biggest problem with the Gallinari pick is he plays a position that the Knicks actually already have young players in. Between Lee, Chandler and Balkman we already have three players to play the forward rotation. What we do not have is anyone who is starter quality at the 1,2 or 5.

    While I am not in love with Bayless or Gordon at least they are a huge upgrade over Marbury, Crawford and Nate, and maybe could be our long term starter at the 1 or 2.

    As for ceiling I do not see Gallinari as a better long term prospect than Lee, Balkman or Chandler. So long term where does he fit. I am all for picking the best player availiable but when he is worse than what you already have is it really a smart move.

  46. Thomas B.

    I dont agree that Gordon is a huge upgrade over Marbs, JC, or N8. The only advantage is Gordon’s money, and that does not apply to N8. Gordon is really JC with muscle. How is that an upgrade?

  47. Brendan

    Ok, this is totally OT, and I apologize; but it’s the offseason, so….

    Someone please explain Wilson Chandler to me? I hate college hoops with a fiery passion so maybe I missed something on that level which explains things, but at the pro level I’m seeing a #23 pick with medium athleticism who seems confused whenever someone throws that round orange thing at him. Even assuming part of this is due to Zeke’s anti-coaching and jerking around his minutes, I just don’t get it.

  48. Owen

    Brendan – Count me among those who share our puzzlement about the enthusiasm for Chandler. Fearless shooter, no question about it, but has not yet shown he is a good player in my book.

  49. Thomas B.

    I think Wilson Chandler is a guy who thinks “Let me just shoot this ball before something bad happens.” He has looked like a nice role player while the team was playing out the string. He is very much like Balkman in his play but he is much better on offense. He has shown some ability to steal the ball, block shots, and he is a fair rebounder. I think he was a good pick at 23 and i dont see many players taken after him that have looked better than him so far.

  50. retropkid

    Let’s face it, we fawn over Lee, Balkman, and Chandler — not because they are Walt, Willis and Dave DeBusschere, but because everybody else pretty much sucks, and we want to feel hopeful about something….

    If it makes you feel any better, I just got off the phone with my buddy who lives in Charlotte, and they had a chance at Lopez, and needed a center…and instead took a 5′ 10″ point guard (with a coach who only plays vets) and a French toothpick to guard the paint…

    We may move up one slot next year, miss the playoffs, but look down at the Bobcats at least!!!

  51. Thomas B.

    Would the Nets send Devon Harris our way for Lee, Rose, and Collins?

    Would Memphis take Randolph and Lee for Conley, Millicic, Jaric?, and a future pick?

    That deal saves the Knicks 10 million in 2010. Memphis might do it because the money for Milicic and Jaric is equal to Randolph over the next two years. And it fills the hole at 4 they have. Randolph can probably be more productive than Milicic and Jaric combined.

  52. jon abbey

    “We may move up one slot next year, miss the playoffs, but look down at the Bobcats at least!!!”

    I’d trade our roster for theirs in a second, not even close.

  53. retropkid

    “We may move up one slot next year, miss the playoffs, but look down at the Bobcats at least!!!”

    I’d trade our roster for theirs in a second, not even close.”

    So would I — but my buddy will tell you Okafor can’t play center, Gerald Wallace can’t play more than 60 games a year, Felton can’t run the point….Richardson is the real deal, and I love Matt Carroll, but…. It says more about how bad the Knicks are that you would trade rosters…

    If you added Lopez to that club they would’ve made the playoffs next year imho, I just don’t see Augustin doing that for them.

  54. Italian Stallion

    caleb,

    “I know money is a factor, but you only trade your best player for another really good young player (like a PG), or as a last resort after you’ve exhausted all options for moving Curry, Randolph, Crawford and Jeffries. That won’t be for another year and a half.”

    I agree that they probably shouldn’t move Lee unless they are getting back a piece that fits the long term puzzle. Before yesterday, that included a solid draft pick or good PG. As of today, IMO that means a good PG.

  55. Italian Stallion

    “Italian Stallion – I asked you this at the end of the other thread? What possible difference can paying David Lee 7-9 million make to our long range prospects? Right now, we have four guys making more than that and Quentin makes 8.”

    Owen,

    The fact that we have 4 guys making more than that and one making a similar amount is the very reason it matters. Randolph, Crawford, Curry and Jeffries will be tough to move. So you want to add another big contract? Granted Lee would probably be a lot easier to move assuming he’s playing well near 2010, but the calculation is whether he’s worth 8m and what you can get for him. It’s not whether he’s a good player or the Knicks best player.

  56. Italian Stallion

    The good news is that Walsh and D’Antoni seem to be very patient guys. So if Lee is moved we are likely to get back equal or better value and the player will fit the needs of the team better. I don’t there’s any reason to panic over specific rumors that don’t seem to make sense.

  57. ess-dog

    Even Chad Frog thinks we’re going to move Lee for a pg:

    “Gallinari is a talent and one of the few guys in the draft who could really be special someday. Those who are bashing the pick because Gallinari is a project should do their homework. Gallinari was the team leader on an Italian Euroleague team — and the Euroleague is much more competitive than the NCAA. Euroleague teams scrimmage NBA teams in the preseason and beat them from time to time. The fact that Gallinari has starred there at such a young age suggests that he’s more ready than most of the freshmen rushing into the league. And with Mike D’Antoni coaching him, you can bet the Knicks will play to his strengths.

    Gallinari has weaknesses — he has so-so lateral quickness and lacks muscle. I’m not sure he’ll ever turn into Dirk Nowitzki, to whom he’s been compared. And the Knicks still have a long way to go in the rebuilding process.

    But this was a good start for the Knicks. If they can use David Lee to get a legit young point guard, they’ll keep moving in the right direction.”

  58. Frank

    “As for ceiling I do not see Gallinari as a better long term prospect than Lee, Balkman or Chandler. So long term where does he fit. I am all for picking the best player availiable but when he is worse than what you already have is it really a smart move.”

    To be honest, has anyone on this board seen anything other than Youtube clips or read anything other than Chad “I’m even more ridiculous than the Knicks beatwriters” Ford about Gallinari? Walsh has an excellent track record with drafting and D’Antoni has a far better understanding of European basketball than any of us, not to mention developing young players well (. It’s not like these guys are proven crappy drafters where it might be justified for us to second guess them. But to say based on a couple of youtube clips that he’s no better than Lee/Balkman/Chandler is ridiculous. You’ve never even seen this guy play!

    I apologize to all those Euroleague watchers out there — I wasn’t talking to you.

  59. retropkid

    But this was a good start for the Knicks. If they can use David Lee to get a legit young point guard, they’ll keep moving in the right direction.”

    My view is getting a legit young point guard solely is NOT enough reason to move Lee…the minimum requirement is that you moved Curry or Crawford or Randolph with him … if you get a good young point guard too, hallelujah brother…but you need to hard-wire Lee to one of our mis-fits to justify moving him…

  60. Frank

    And for those of you who are about to say that D’Antoni doesn’t develop young players, I think he did a great job with Barbosa, Stoudemire, and Diaw. If Gallinari even turns into Diaw I have to say I’d be pretty happy, not to mention Kukoc or Nowitzki.

  61. ess-dog

    I liked the ESPN clips I saw on Gallinari much better than the youtube clips. He does have some Nowitzki, and he seems to have the hand/eye quickness to easily learn some post moves.
    One problem I see right now is: Too slow to play SF, too slight to play PF.
    But maybe he’ll hang in there and gain weight by the time Zach gets shipped and slide to the PF. He very well could grow an inch or two next year.
    I would turn Lee into Augustine in a heartbeat. I think DJ is for real and will become a better defender if he bulks up a little.
    But really I wish I was a Blazers fan (sigh.)

  62. Owen

    “Owen,

    The fact that we have 4 guys making more than that and one making a similar amount is the very reason it matters. Randolph, Crawford, Curry and Jeffries will be tough to move. So you want to add another big contract? Granted Lee would probably be a lot easier to move assuming he’s playing well near 2010, but the calculation is whether he’s worth 8m and what you can get for him. It’s not whether he’s a good player or the Knicks best player.”

    IS – I still don’t understand your logic. I guess your plan is to keep Craw, Curry, and Randolph, and then try to cut out enough space through trades to add Lebron to the mix. Then we can have Lebron for a year, while we rebuild. Then massively retool when all those contracts expire.

    Perhaps.

    At the end of the day, 8 million is compelling value for a player like Lee. I don’t see how the Knicks are hurt by signing him.

    Dave I think makes the right point. All the players you guys think are such deals to trade Lee for will cost just as much to resign. Conley’s rookie contract will run off just as Lebron is scheduled to arrive. If he turns out to be great, where are you getting the money to resign him?

  63. jon abbey

    the Knicks are not getting LeBron James.
    the Knicks are not getting LeBron James.
    the Knicks are not getting LeBron James.
    the Knicks are not getting LeBron James.
    the Knicks are not getting LeBron James.
    the Knicks are not getting LeBron James.
    the Knicks are not getting LeBron James.
    the Knicks are not getting LeBron James.
    the Knicks are not getting LeBron James.
    the Knicks are not getting LeBron James.

    repeat this as many times as you need before it sinks in. LeBron is going to NJ/Brooklyn or staying in Cleveland, that’s it. so come up with a new plan, because LeBron ain’t walking through that door.

  64. Thomas B.

    “To be honest, has anyone on this board seen anything other than Youtube clips or read anything other than Chad “I’m even more ridiculous than the Knicks beatwriters” Ford about Gallinari?”

    Frank, that’s really not that funny.

  65. Italian Stallion

    Owen,

    I don’t think anything the Knicks are doing is based on Lebron alone. They are trying to accomplish several things over the next several years.

    1. Accumulate at least three all star caliber players “that compliment each other” and fill as many of the needs of a contending NBA team as possible (inside and outside shooting, rebounding, speed, passing, defense, leadership, teamwork etc….).

    2. Provide them with a decent supporting cast.

    3. Not pay anyone more than their intrinsic value as an NBA player.

    They can accumulate those players via the draft, a trade, or free agency over time. Yesterday was step one.

    What that also means is that they will be trying to get rid of the overpaid players like Randolph, QRich, Jeffries, Crawford, James, Marbury, Rose and perhaps Curry (I personally think they are going to try to revitalize Curry under DAntoni). However, it’s only important to get rid of the long contracts because the shorter ones will expire and no longer interfere with the “sign a free agent” option as they try to accumulate some all stars.

    I have no idea what order they will do things in, whose going to be traded and who isn’t etc… I only know that these are long term thinkers that are “VALUE” oriented. They aren’t going to pay people more than they worth because they are good, popular, or the best player on the team.

    Lee is also a trading chip in that process with an intrinsic value as an NBA player and as a player specific to the Knicks and their needs. They will move him if they don’t think he’s worth 7m-9m and/or if they can get back better value to meet their long term objectives.

  66. Italian Stallion

    The Nets made a gargantuan error in resigning Carter to that long term deal to begin with. It was obvious that the Kidd, Carter, and Jefferson trio lacked many important aspects of a winning team, but they were also too good to get a really great draft pick. In the mean time, they were getting older. The Nets should have broken that team up at the start of last year instead of waiting until the end, getting stuck with Carter’s contract, and being unable to get much for him. That was a rare strategic error for the Nets.

  67. Italian Stallion

    Owen,

    One other thing.

    The days of getting players that don’t fit together, that are emotional basket cases, that are overpaid, that are self centered, and overpaying for players we already have etc…. are over.

    Isiah is gone!

    It’s now about long term economic value, combinations of players that fit together, are both statistically and emotionally solid, and that put team and winning first.

    It’s going to take time and patience, but we are on the right path. Be happy!!!!!!

  68. dpoke

    didn’t realize cardinal was included in the Mayo deal. Personally as a frustrated knick fan, I felt we should have chosen a point guard (Bayless, Augustin) over the Italian kid. This team needs a leader and you have to start somewhere. I don’t know (I don’t think anyone knows at this point) if this dude has the intestinal fortitude to handle us rabid fans.

    No offense, but this is not Italy. There’s gonna be a lot of pressure (and booing) if he does not live up to “expectations” early on. I also question his maturity as the NY media can turn quick on a playa.

    There are so many layers to consider when drafting a EUROPEAN TEENAGER to the media capitol of the world. I wish him the best (I have to!).

  69. Owen

    IS – So lets see, the plan is get rid of bad players while getting some good players? Sounds good to me. Where exactly does jettisoning Lee for an unproven point guard fit into this picture?

  70. TDM

    Has anyone seen a list of the best undrafted talent for this year’s draft? Anyone of any interest to the Knicks?

  71. Ben R

    Frank – I admit I do not know alot about Gallinari so I might be completely wrong. I hope I am, but from what I have heard he has poor lateral movement and has trouble keeping the more athletic european wings in front of him. If thats true he will get murdered on defense at the NBA level.

    I have also heard he is still growing and D’Antoni considers him more of a PF than a wing. If this is the case then my big worry is that he is a very poor rebounder. His rebs per 40 last year were 6.7 in the italian league and 5.3 in the euroleague. That is not good enough for a 6’9″ PF.

    I have no doubt he will become a good offensive player but I have serious doubts about his defense and his rebounding. I also do not like jump shooting, ball handling big men. I want my PF’s and C’s to play closer to the basket.

    I see Gallinari as more of a Radmonivic or Turkoglu not a Nowitski or a Kukoc.

  72. jon abbey

    “Accumulate at least three all star caliber players “that compliment each other” ”

    “Danilo, you look fantastic today! great suit!”

    “thanks, David! your girlfriend is really hot, by the way. does she have a sister?”

  73. justin o

    “Frank – I admit I do not know alot about Gallinari so I might be completely wrong. I hope I am, but from what I have heard he has poor lateral movement and has trouble keeping the more athletic european wings in front of him. If thats true he will get murdered on defense at the NBA level.”

    I have also heard he is still growing and D’Antoni considers him more of a PF than a wing. If this is the case then my big worry is that he is a very poor rebounder. His rebs per 40 last year were 6.7 in the italian league and 5.3 in the euroleague. That is not good enough for a 6?9? PF.

    well gallinari is going to get taller and wider as well as stronger, so if he can learn to box out he grad his share of rebounds, and if they use him to defend a for he might not have such a problem with the jumping and latteral moving as 4s r alot less athletic and likely to take u off the dribble genrally.

  74. Italian Stallion

    “IS – So lets see, the plan is get rid of bad players while getting some good players? Sounds good to me. Where exactly does jettisoning Lee for an unproven point guard fit into this picture?”

    It really has nothing to do with good players or bad players. It has to do with players being worth the money or not being worth the money, fitting togther or not fitting together, fitting a need or not fitting a need etc… with an emphasis on the long term.

    Your assumption is wrong. They won’t trade Lee for an unproven PG. “IF” they trade him it will be for a player that represents better “value”!

    If they can sign a PG with equal relative ability but that will cost less, they will do it because “it will cost less” (makes economic sense) and because they need a PG more than they need a PF.

    They won’t sign a PG with less than or equal ability that costs more just because they need a PG.

    They won’t sign a PG less ability that costs the same just because they need a PG.

  75. Ben R

    Owen, Brendan – I too was at first puzzled at the enthusiam over Chandler. Looking at his stats for the year they are pretty poor. But when I started to look closer I saw a very promising trend.

    After rarely playing he finally got consistant minutes at the end of the season. He played consistant minutes in 21 of the Knicks last 23 games. He showed remarkable improvment during those 21 games.

    All the stats are per 36 minutes:

    In the first seven games he was awful:
    35.0% TS% – 20% 3pt%
    7.5 pts 6.1 rebs 1.6 asts 0.8 tos

    In the next seven games he was solid:
    52.8% TS% – 25% 3pt%
    14.9 pts 6.4 rebs 1.3 asts 1.1 tos

    In the last seven games he was great:
    56.5% TS% – 41.7% 3pt%
    15.4 pts 7.2 rebs 2.1 asts 1.6 tos

    I know that it is a small sample but it seems that once he started to loosen up and just play he became a very efficent player. I do not know if those last seven games are truly indicative of the player he will become or simply a hot streak but it is certainly promising.

    On top of that he seems like he will be a good defender and is already a solid rebounder. I also like that for the season he had more assists than turnovers which is very promising for a 20 year old rookie.

  76. Ben R

    IS – I think the big worry for many of us on this site is that Walsh and D’Antoni seem to view Lee’s value as lower than what many of us feel it really is.

    So while I feel confident they will wait until they get a deal that seems more than fair to them, to us it will still seem lopsided.

    Lee is on the threshold of becoming an elite talent and I would be sad if we traded him away for pennies on the dollar because Walsh and D’Antoni cannot see that.

    Every year in the league Lee has seen his scoring increase if it continues it is not inconceivable that Lee could average between 14-16 points a game next year, and between 16-18 during his prime.

    A PF that puts up 16+ points and 12+ rebounds on 60+% TS% is an all-star level talent. Unless something happens Lee will probably be at that level in the next couple of years. Walsh and D’Antoni do not seem to realize that. I just hope D’Antoni gets to coach Lee before he trades him, because once he gets to work with Lee he will see his real value.

  77. BGJ

    “And I really don’t understand the outlandish reverence for point guards that seems to be circulating throughout the basketball world right now. Since when is having a good point guard more important than having a great power forward?

    The lesson of the last 20 years has been that you don’t need a good point guard. Chicago won six titles without a good point guard. The Lakers won three with Fisher, who is highly mediocre. Parker is a good player, but Manu and Duncan are the clear stars in San Antonio. Which leaves Billups as the only PG to be the star of a championship team, and even he was probably secondary to Ben Wallace that year.”

    Chicago had the best player in the history of basketball, who pretty much played the PG and SG positions all by himself. There was no need for a dominant PG on Chicago’s team, all they needed was MJ and a good wingman(Pippen), along with role players.

    The Lakers play a triangle offense, which doesn’t need a PG. Not to mention they had Kobe and Shaq, which as also proven by the Heat, all you need is a dominant 2 guard and a dominant big man to win, PGs optional.

    Tony Parker was the Finals MVP. There’s that argument.

    PGs can either be a necessary part that a team will fail without, or a less important filler position depending on a team’s offensive system. Mike D’Antoni’s system NEEDS a PG, which the Knicks do not have. Marbury? Combo guard. Nate? Exciting, flashy scorer, but also is a combo guard who can not play any defense, not to mention he isn’t the greatest passer.

    The Knicks will need a PG in order to contend, which in the East, means around 40 wins. David Lee for Mike Conley would be my ideal trade, though Felton I think would flourish in D’Antoni’s system. He’s fast, a good passer, and the Knicks have other shooters that could make up for his lack of shooting.

  78. GiantsKnickFan420

    Ben, “Lee is on the threshold of becoming an elite talent”. I love lee, but elite is a bit much. Hes not a physical specimen, hes the blue collar guy. He gets his shots sent back way too many times for an elite talent. Lee’s one of those guys u need on championship caliber teams that can lift everyone’s energy level up because everythig that lee gets he earns. This is why he gets winded faster than most players and we’ve seen that when lee is tired he goes in a funk and stinks.Elite talents are elite becuase of their ability to produce by pacing themselves making things look easier than it really is, like Kobe. The cavaet is that Kobe is a physical specimen, an incredible athelete.
    Doesnt mean Lee sucks but hes not a franchise lifter obviously, which is what an elite talent should do. But hes someone that everyone in the NBA wants on their team for his abilities besides rebounding like his good passing and decent ball handling skills and paint-like drying improving jumper

  79. Owen

    Quite so, Ben….

    Re Chandler, fair enough. If he produces like he did in the last seven games, I am 100% for him.

  80. DRed

    What good shooters do we have? Our biggest problem right now is that we don’t have many good players. Trading one of the few we have isn’t going to help. The only reason we should think about moving Lee is to get rid of one of our terrible contracts. That’s it.

  81. Brendan

    “Mike D’Antoni’s system NEEDS a PG”

    Ok, two counter-points for discussion’s sake:

    - D’Antoni clearly had input into this draft and didn’t want any of the PGs available, who were highly regarded.

    - It’s worth asking if D’Antoni is capable of utilizing more than one system, or variations on the system he has. Could a player like Gallinari be the offensive initiator, given his stated passing and basketball IQ attributes?

  82. Brendan

    Oh and- thanks on the Chandler info, Ben. I’d checked out towards the end of last year and missed some of that, but that’s promising enough that I get the interest now.

  83. cmac

    Why don’t you guys think the roosters ceiling is that high? He scored 19 ppg in the Italian league and won the up and coming award during the european championships. These are better leagues than the ncaa playing against fully grown men and he is only 19. I am really excited about this guy. You need to take the best available player when you are as bad as the Knicks. Ask portland about drafting for need and not taking Jordan. Not saying he is that good but you have got to start somewhere. This is a horrible team nobody should be safe from a trade. I love lee but he is not a player who is going to deliver us a championship. We are not trying to get to the playoffs next year. If we do thats great but we wont, and to be honest I don’t think it would be good if we did because the leadership will figure we are only a step away which we aren’t.

    I have not been immune to this either but we are all expecting the worst right now because we are so used to IT blowing everything. He isn’t here so lets relax watch clips of the rooster on you tube and wait for summer league.

  84. BiggieSmalls

    the way you guys talk up Lee you’d think he is the second coming..

    he’s a nice player but he is no where near being an elite player. He is incapable of creating his own shot in the half court. He gives up A LOT defensively and he generates most of his stats off of hard work and the mistakes of the people around him.

    I can see how knick fans are in love with him because he actually gave a sh!t when most of the players around him were mailing it in but come on.

    unless he miraculously learns to hit a 15 footer and can play defense he will be what he is. And what he is is a nice player who will NOT elevate the players around him, will NOT dominate his man defensively or be the type of player a team wants to build around..

  85. Mel

    here is an idea for moving Lee .

    Lee ,malik rose and collins for kirk hinrich and cedric simmons.

    at worst the knicks have a decent guard who has a decnding salary who will still be on the books in 2010 but at a bargain. a guard who plays defends and keeps people involved.

    the bulls get a decent productive 4 to backup gooden and if he develops , replace him in a year when he leaves or they choose not to retain him and give them the depth to be able to cash in tyrus thomas for whatever they can get of value, they also get a pg who is 2 guard sized to team with gordon on the 2nd unit,

    both teams get something they need.

    the draft coverage BTW was horrible , how many times did they really feel it was needed to mention how many freshman were getting drafted , and how many times did they simply repeat the same things to fill dead air, Bring TNT and barkley back at least he isn’t boring and overly repetitive.

  86. Leo

    GiantsKnickFan420, your comment that Lee is not a great physical specimen is simply false. Lee came out as one of the best athletes in terms of strength, agility, and leaping in his draft class’ NBA Combine test. There are athletic white players, you know.

  87. tdm

    “What happens to marbury”

    He plays one more year of organized ball, then heads to Italy to replace Gallinari.

  88. Z

    “No offense, but this is not Italy. There’s gonna be a lot of pressure (and booing) if he does not live up to “expectations” early on. I also question his maturity as the NY media can turn quick on a playa.”

    Everyone knows the Armani Jeans fans are the harshest, the rowdiest, and the most knowledgeable fans in the world. If he could make it there, he can make it anywhere…

  89. Brian Cronin

    Tony Parker was the Finals MVP. There’s that argument.

    That Finals MVP was a joke.

    I really hated that decision.

    The Cavaliers had a strategy – “Do not let Tim Duncan beat you,” so they constantly double and triple-teamed him, and Parker was the main beneficiary, and somehow, that means he is the most valuable player on the team?

    Not the guy who the other team is developing their entire defensive game against?

    When given open looks, Parker scored great. No doubt about it. He played well. But the only reason why he scored that much was because of Duncan’s presence – I think Duncan definitely was the MVP of that Finals.

    It was like when Barry Bonds set a MLB record for most intentional walks given, and the voters give the MVP to the guy batting behind Bonds, who got all the RBI opportunities due to Bonds getting walked in front of him!

  90. Owen

    I think all three of the SA big three were about equally productive. Parker got the MVP because he scored the most points, what else would you expect.

    Here is Kelly Dwyer on the Knicks draft…

    “The Knicks get a good-to-great player who should hold down that wing spot for a while. I don’t understand why the team would look to deal David Lee in any trade beyond one that would aid in dumping either Zach Randolph or Eddy Curry off on another team; but then again, I really don’t understand the sort of mind that would want to enter into this rebuilding mess to begin with.”

  91. jonesonthenba

    If the Knicks make any deal for Lee, it should be to the Grizzlies for one of their point guards. I personally like Crittenton more than Conley, but either one of those guys are going to be good starting point guards in this league.

  92. GiantsKnickFan420

    LEO, Lee is athletic and agile. But he doesnt explode off his feet, does get a good lift off a jumper or hook. A physical specimen for me is Howard and Amare and lebron etc. This is what prevents him from being that “elite” player that many refer to. An elite player has to be able to create ANY shot he wants at anytime, they use their superior atheletism to things that others cant, and to create oppurtunities for others. Defenses dont start talking about lee on offense, and if he was to become this “elite” player, he would have done so already, his jumper is still “improving”. I think he is who he is and still has some chance to be better but hes good in his role, but we shouldnt be getting carried away here about who/what lee is.

  93. Frank

    “I see Gallinari as more of a Radmonivic or Turkoglu not a Nowitski or a Kukoc.”

    So again, I haven’t seen much of Gallinari but by all reports he has way more handle and offensive potential than VladRad, who is nothing more than a shooter. Even if he turns into Turkoglu rather than Dirk or Kukoc, I think I’d be happy… 19.5ppg, 5.7 rpg, 5 apg, 40% from 3pt range, on 58% TS% is not so bad in my book.

  94. Z-man

    Ben R and Owen,

    If Lee is as good as you think he is (or will be as good as you think he will be) why couldn’t the knicks deal him on draft night? It’s not like they were asking for the world in return. Is the entire NBA that oblivious to his talents?

    Maybe it’s because Lee did not develop at all this last year, and may have taken a step back, indicating that he is closer to his true potential than you think. Maybe they see that he is an absolute mismatch against the truly elite PFs in the league.

  95. Owen

    Man, the Lee-baiting is incessant around here.

    The guy has a bad season where he averages 13.4 and 11 per 36 on 60% ts% (Lamar Odom 13.5 and 10 on 58% ts% this year) and people want to ship him out of town for one of Memphis’ backup point guards.

    Unreal….

  96. Italian Stallion

    One thing I think needs to be pointed out is that I don’t think they can get rid of both Lee and Randolph this year because they won’t have enough rebounding to win anything let alone start a fast break.

    Curry can’t board and that is not one of Gallinari’s strengths at this stage.

    They need to get rid of Zach’s contract, but they probably aren’t going to get a good PG back in return.

    Lee is their only valuable trade asset, but if you move him for a PG, you are stuck with Zach for at least another year.

    I’m not sure how they get out of this pickle.

  97. nj hoop

    Not sure why everyone is calling LeBron to NJ a “done deal”? He becomes a free agent in exactly 2 years and there is absolutely zero chance that Brooklyn arena is completed by then. And with the way the real estate market is going, who knows about the future of that whole development? So you think LeBron won’t mind cooling his heels in the swamps of Jersey for a few years while he waits to christen a new arena? I understand the Jay-Z connection, but I think it’s far from a “done deal”

  98. Z-man

    Owen,

    I am not bashing Lee, just pointing out what every GM in the league seems to see that you and Ben R don’t. Do you honestly believe that Lee made significant improvement last season? I am only saying that Lee’s lack of significant improvement last season strongly suggests that what you currently see is close to what you are probably going to get, and that the rest of the league seems to feel the same way, based on what is being offered for him.

    I just don’t get why some people are insistent on projecting him out to a future 16+ and 12+ player and why guys keep making excuses for him not being one now (Isiah’ poor coaching, ZR taking his minutes, nagging injury, etc.)

  99. Ben R

    Z-man – He averaged 13.5 pts and 11.1 rebounds per 36 this year on a team with bad point guard play, a disorganized offensive system, an undefined role, and no plays ran for him at all.

    I do not see why him someday averaging 2.5 more pts per 36 is unrealistic. His jumper is making huge strides, he shot 41% on his jumpers compaired to 29% the year before. He is also still 3-4 years away from his prime.

    Also his rebounding took a hit because he shared the court with Randolph alot and any rebounder will see his rebound numbers decrease when next to another elite rebounder.

    He would not even have to take a huge stride to improve both his scoring and his rebounding from last year. A secure starting job in a ball movement based offense not next to Randolph should pretty much do the trick.

    Also when I said elite I was talking like top 10 PF not like top ten player in the league, I know he will never be a LeBron or a Howard.

  100. Z

    “Also his rebounding took a hit because he shared the court with Randolph alot and any rebounder will see his rebound numbers decrease when next to another elite rebounder.”

    That argument works both ways, though. Your sentence could have just as easily read about Lee two seasons ago:

    “his rebounding took a [bump] because he shared the court with [Curry] alot and any rebounder will see his rebound numbers [increase] when next to [the worst rebounding center in the league].”

  101. Ben R

    Z – I would agree with that. Lee’s rebounding probably did take a slight bump up next to Curry and a slight bump down next to Randolph.

    But either way even at 11.1 per 36 it puts Lee as one of the best rebounders in the league and since he will not, hopefully, be playing too much next to Randolph in the future getting back to 12 per 36 seems very likely.

    Also just a side note most of the top rebounders this year played next to poor rebounders.

    Howard – Lewis
    Camby – Martin
    Chandler – West
    Jefferson – Smith

    So Lee’s productivity next to Randolph is even more impressive.

  102. Z-man

    Why would no GM in the league offer more than they are for a future or present top-10 PF in the league?

    There is a mistaken notion that if someone’s minutes increase to 36, their productivity is guaranteed to increase proportionately. What’s to say that the difference between 29-30 mpg fringe starter-6th man #’s) and 38-42 mpg (top 10 at position minutes) would not further expose flaws in Lee’s game? Those minutes would likely come against better players, would put Lee at greater risk of foul trouble and/or being exploited on the defensive end. Perhaps conditioning and ability to withstand the pounding becomes more of an issue, especially given Lee’s hustle and work ethic; his stress injury and slow recovery from it come into play. And his supposed increase in % on jump shots is the most misleading stat ever, it is well known by GM’s and coaches that Lee’s lack of a perimeter game is a serious negative for him.

    His shooting % numbers actually went down last year, so I guess he must be missing more dunks and layups if he’s hitting more jumpers. I would love to see where that 40% stat comes from in game conditions.

    I don’t think Lee’s playing with Eddy is the issue per se, but he played on a lousy team that had loads of garbage time to augment his stats (this is not about his work ethic, which is outstanding beyond question.)

  103. Z

    Yeah– I think I’m coming to realize that rebounding is an over-used stat. I think the reason it is used so widely in basketball is because it is one of the few individual stats that are tangible to the fan at home (that and points).

    Steals, blocks, and assists are largely dependent on other players and/or factors that blur the actual significance of the statistic. But rebounds, like points, can be tallied by the casual observer and noted as having made an impact in the game.

    Because of the relative ease by which rebounds are awarded, I think they have become a standard by which to rate players, but perhaps it is a false standard all together?

    Rebounds say very little about a player. A good rebounder is not necessarily a good defender. In many cases (Randolph, et al) a rebounder is made better by playing worse defense (sagging off his man or not seeing the play through in order to attain rebounding position). On top of that, rebounds say very little about a game. How often is the team with the highest individual rebound leader the team that wins the game? Enough to make it relevant?

    Rebounds are like RBI in baseball. On good teams everybody gets ‘em. The guys that hit the most HRs get the most RBI, but with that comes a lot of striking out with runners in scoring position. A lot of guys have built hall-of-fame career numbers by hitting three run HRs in games their teams lose 11-4 (Sosa, Palmero, etc…). Meanwhile David Eckstein has two more rings than ARod. In the end it really doesn’t matter how many RBI individual players get, just like it doesn’t matter how many rebounds any one player gets. It looks gaudy on a stat sheet, but does it really tell a story except: a) the guys teammate did a good job of forcing a miss, b) the ball bounced his way, and c) he did a good job using his big butt or long arms to reel it in. It’s like holding serve in Tennis.

    I do think offensive rebounding is a significant stat that deserves to be separated from rebounding totals because it illustrates a moment in a game where a player has a tangible individual effect on a game. It is an offensive event that can be quantified. In fact, I propose the league eliminate rebounding numbers as they currently exist and instead implement a system of Offensive rebounds for/against, much like holding serve/breaking serve in tennis.

    I’m speaking a priori here, but I guess after 30 years of seeing the game through rebound and point stats, I am starting to reconsider whether rebounding even holds any usefulness as a metric for rating players.

    (But, in reality, I’m probably just trying to diminish the notion that Zach Randolph has any value what-so-ever just because he has good rebounding numbers…)

  104. Ben R

    Z- I totally agree that offensive rebounding is a much much more important stat than overall rebounds. Also to futher the argument against rebounding as an important stat often times rebounding can be inflated, or deflated because a player defers to teammates on easy rebounds like Curry does, or “steals” easy rebounds from teammates like Randolph and Kurt Thomas do.

    Lee though is not just a good overall rebounder but an exceptional offensive rebounder. And the team has consistantly rebounded much better when he is one the court. So I do not believe his rebounding prowess is overstated.

    Z-man – It has been discussed alot on this website but I will state it again most players, see an increase in per minute stats when they get more minutes not a decrease in them. So if anything more minutes will help Lee’s stats rather than hurt them. Also Lee has been very productive in the games he plays 36 minutes plus, not visably suffering from fatigue or having to play with starters.

    Lee’s shooting numbers went down this year because he had a stretch early in the season, when he was coming back from injury where he really struggled but seemed to be back on track by midseason. Also while Lee’s percentage on jumpers increased alot so did the amount he took so he was shoting more jumpers which hurt his overall shooting percentages.

    Lee’s problems with his jump shot are widely overstated. Lee shot 41.0%, Duncan shot 37.8%, Bosh shot 40.6%, Randolph shot 38.6%, Jefferson shot 37.5%. Clearly Lee’s jumpshot is good enough to hang with these 20 point per game PF’s.

    As for the offers we got for Lee, Memphis seemed willing to give up the 5th pick which is what Seattle got for Allen last year. So I think he is pretty highly regarded around the league. Also Lee becoming a top 10 PF is not a given, he could take a step back, so he is still a bit of a gamble. I just would like to see him get a real chance so we can see exactly where he stands before we trade him for someone with alot less realized potential.

  105. jon abbey

    “I will state it again most players, see an increase in per minute stats when they get more minutes not a decrease in them.”

    I know this has allegedly been “proven”, but it’s a case by case basis, every player is different, and players that rely on crazy, nonstop energy (like Ginobili, for instance) simply can’t play 36-40 minutes all season and maintain their efficiency and health. I tend to think Lee is in this category also, but hopefully we’ll get a chance to actually see for ourselves sometimes while he’s still in orange and blue.

  106. Z-man

    Ben R,

    I would have made the Lee for #5 deal in a heartbeat if I was the Knick GM. By the time the Knicks have a chance of being real good (3 years?) I think that all 5 of the top picks should be a lot better than Lee, including Love. Did the Knicks balk on this alleged deal or did Memphis?

    I think your point about per minute stats is based on a false premise. Players usually get more minutes when their play dictates that they deserve them, so naturally their stats will reflect the improved play. I would also argue that there is a break even point, e.g going from 10 to 20 or 20 to 30 is likely to gain in per minute stats, while going from Lee’s 30 to 40 will tend to reduce the same stats because his game doesn’t merit those minutes. (Has anyone factored this into their analysis?) That being said, I agree with Z’s take.

  107. bud

    I’m not a Walsh fan, as there is no reason to be, since he did not excel in Indiana, and looks and sounds like a boxing promoter from the 1940′s who lost his fedora, but I don’t think he is dumb enough to trade a player of David Lee’s caliber just for the sake of clearing up minutes for other guys per the new head coach’s preferences. The Lee rumors seem to involve moving him because a big extension will interfere with the team’s free agency plans in two years. That seems like a justifiable rationale for trading him, though seeing him go would be disappointing.

    I’d like to know if the rumors are accurate, if we are looking to do this.

  108. Italian Stallion

    IMO, one thing that doesn’t get factored enough by some people is who a player played against. Players off the bench often get matched up against other bench players.

    For example:

    Suppose a rookie gets 15 minutes a game and scores 8 PPG. There’s no way that’s going to translate into 16 PPG if he starts next year unless he improves a lot. Almost without question a lot of the 8 PPG he scored as a rookie came against second string defenders and at garbage time.

    In fact, if he does score 16 PPG (which many would do) it’s becauase HE DID IMPROVE A LOT. That’s why he got the minutes to begin with. However, the quality of the competition often masks the statistical improvement.

  109. Italian Stallion

    >Lee’s problems with his jump shot are widely overstated. Lee shot 41.0%, Duncan shot 37.8%, Bosh shot 40.6%, Randolph shot 38.6%, Jefferson shot 37.5%. Clearly Lee’s jumpshot is good enough to hang with these 20 point per game PF’s.<

    I don’t think this is 100% true.

    A player’s shooting stats are often dependent on his role on the team. If a player is one of the primary scoring options on his team, he will often be forced to take a mediocre or bad shot because the shot clock was winding down. He will also almost always be covered tightly. That will hurt his stats.

    I don’t want to defend Crawford’s or Randolph’s
    shot selection because they are both flawed in that area, but they were the Knicks primary scorers. Many of the bad shots they took during the season were the result of “HAVING” to the take a bad shot because time was up. Most of the rest of the time they were also covered well because they were the primary scoring threats.

    When Lee gets the ball on the outside, his defender often sags off him to double team down low because he knows that Lee is reluctant to take an outside shot and will look to pass instead. When Lee does shoot from the outside, it’s almost always an extremely high quality shot because the defender GAVE IT to him.

    If Lee were perceived to have a good outside shot and be a major scoring threat and option, his outside shot stats would go way down because the quality of his shots would go way down. Defenders would be right in his face and he would be one chucking up 20 footers with 2-3 seconds left on the clock more often.

    This is actually the minor problem with Lee (and other non centers without much of an outside game). Because he’s sometimes reluctant to take that outside shot, the defense can make it more difficult on post players and players driving to the hoop by sagging off him.

  110. Ess-dog

    This is partially true I.S., but don’t forget, Crawford and Randolph also just throw up shots for no reason at all. Craw will pull up during a 3 on 2 break and shoot a 3 just because he is a little more open that usual. Zach will get the ball 3 seconds into the shot clock and heave up a 20 footer just because his defender wasn’t in his face. There is no ball movement on the knicks looking for high percentage shots, in half court or on the break. Lee is probably one of the better players at selecting his shots and finding the open man. He’s not Gasol or Duncan with his passes, but he’s better than a lot of PF’s including Randolph. These are non-stat skills that are imortant in any player. What worries me about Crawford and Randolph is that neither seems too good at this yet despite their age. Randolph actually can find the open man when he tries, but he looks for the ‘assist’ not the third pass to set up the play. We need more players with fundamentals, not less.

  111. Ben R

    IS – The mid range shot is statistically the least efficient shot a player can take. The only time you want a player, whether it be Gasol, Lee or Nash, shooting a mid range jumper is when he is open.

    Also if an offense is being run correctly a team should not have to settle for many hand in your face 2 seconds left in the shot clock shots.

    This ability to “create your own shot” is wildly overrated because good offenses create shots for their players.

    I agree an offense needs one or two players that can score when the offense breaks down and that is not Lee. But that only slightly diminishes his offensive ability and honestly being able to convert 60+% of the shots the offense creates for you is much more valuable than being able to “create your own shots” and struggle to play within the offense.

    A well run offense is like a engine, Lee makes any engine run better by being able to function within the offense, passing when he has no shot and scoring at an extremely high rate when he has one. Lee cannot drive the car by himself but when part of a coecive unit he is as valuable offensively as almost any PF in the league.

  112. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger)

    “If Lee is as good as you think he is (or will be as good as you think he will be) why couldn’t the knicks deal him on draft night? It’s not like they were asking for the world in return. Is the entire NBA that oblivious to his talents?”

    Z-man – how do you know that the Knicks were trying to deal Lee, what they were offering, and what offers came in from other teams? Maybe the converse is true. Maybe the other GMs weren’t offering enough for Lee, because he’s too value. I mean how many GMs have a young player who is one of the better at his position that they’re looking to trade?

    “I know this has allegedly been “proven”, but it’s a case by case basis, every player is different, and players that rely on crazy, nonstop energy (like Ginobili, for instance) simply can’t play 36-40 minutes all season and maintain their efficiency and health.”

    I see. Something that’s reveals itself in just about every per-minute study is “proven”. But something you just thought of (energy players “simply can’t play 36-40 minutes”) is absolute.

    “IMO, one thing that doesn’t get factored enough by some people is who a player played against. Players off the bench often get matched up against other bench players.”

    Shown time and time again to not be true. I’m not even going to bother to refute.

    “When Lee gets the ball on the outside, his defender often sags off him to double team down low because he knows that Lee is reluctant to take an outside shot and will look to pass instead. When Lee does shoot from the outside, it’s almost always an extremely high quality shot because the defender GAVE IT to him.”

    Ok I’m tired of hearing this argument. Until someone shows me 5 video clips of David Lee’s defender sagging off him and Lee attempting an open jumper, I’m calling Shenanigans. I’ve watched just about every Knick game this year, and can’t remember a single time Lee’s defender decided he was going to go grab a coke and some cotton candy with Lee having the ball on the perimeter.

    “Rebounds are like RBI in baseball. On good teams everybody gets ‘em. ”

    This isn’t true. RBIs are largely based on the hitters in front of a player. Rebounds are largely based on a player’s skill (not solely, but largely).

    What’s with the Lee threads that brings out the crazy in everyone?

  113. Dave

    Just to add a quick note on David Lee’s jumpshooting.

    That stat of 42% doesn’t give a a very good picture.

    Looking at hotspots here …

    Lee has taken only 45 shots (roughly 8% of his shots) from outside of 15 feet and he’s hit only 15 of them. Only two of those shots (both misses) were beyond about 21 feet (both threes).

    Lee has taken 74 shots from outside 6-8 feet but inside 15 feet (roughly 12%). He has hit 31 of them which is the 42%.

    Lee has taken 497 shots in the paint (80% of his shots) and hit 295 of them for 60%.

    ………..

    Frankly his jump shot doesn’t concern me because he does enough elsewhere and there has been signs of improvement.

    I don’t think his jump shot will be an issue for D’Antoni either. D’Antoni will realize all the extra possessions Lee gives them and Lee’s movement off the ball offensively which gives perimeter players a target to hit for easy baskets. He’ll love that.

  114. Matthew

    IMO, the idea that D’Antoni and Walsh don’t like Lee’s game is total nonsense. Even if it was true a couple of years ago, it’s old news. Lee has already demonstrated he has more game than he showed in college.

    I disagree with that. GMs and coaches don’t really change their opinions on players all that much over time. Remember that the statistically paradigm in basketball hasn’t hit mainstream yet. We’re still living the scouting era. Scouting opinions don’t change based on productivity. If Lee still looks the same as he did back when, a lot of GMs and coaches still feel the same way.

    I see this a lot in the NBA, where a team is rumored to like or dislike a player and then years later it comes back. Like when JR Smith was rumored to be prized by Nuggets and they wound up signing him years later (even though he hadn’t lived up to the hype). Or when Kevin McHale disliked Gerald Green and when Green finally came to the Timberwolves he never played and was eventually traded for scraps.

    If D’Antoni truly was down on Lee before the draft, even knowing how productive Lee has been, i wouldn’t be that surprised if D’Antoni wants to get rid of him.

  115. Frank

    “”When Lee gets the ball on the outside, his defender often sags off him to double team down low because he knows that Lee is reluctant to take an outside shot and will look to pass instead. When Lee does shoot from the outside, it’s almost always an extremely high quality shot because the defender GAVE IT to him.”

    Ok I’m tired of hearing this argument. Until someone shows me 5 video clips of David Lee’s defender sagging off him and Lee attempting an open jumper, I’m calling Shenanigans. I’ve watched just about every Knick game this year, and can’t remember a single time Lee’s defender decided he was going to go grab a coke and some cotton candy with Lee having the ball on the perimeter. “”

    Mike K – i have to agree with IS on this one — this happened ALL the time last year, not sure what games you were watching. There were multiple times in each game where Lee would find himself completely uncovered from about 18 feet. Sometimes he would drive it, which is good, other times he’d just hold it and then pass to another covered person, which completely stops the offense, and other times, especially later in the year, he would occasionally shoot it.

    “What’s with the Lee threads that brings out the crazy in everyone?”

    I think it’s that he’s a player that is not obviously an excellent player to the casual watcher — and then that is superimposed on people like Owen who would not trade him for Kobe Bryant.

  116. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger)

    Originally Posted By Frank
    “Mike K – i have to agree with IS on this one — this happened ALL the time last year, not sure what games you were watching. There were multiple times in each game where Lee would find himself completely uncovered from about 18 feet. Sometimes he would drive it, which is good, other times he’d just hold it and then pass to another covered person, which completely stops the offense, and other times, especially later in the year, he would occasionally shoot it.

    Just went back and watched 2 games where Lee had 2 jumpshots in each game. Two of them were off pick & rolls where Lee was left open for a jumper (hit 1 of 2). One was off a Crawford drive & pop. (Lee makes a nice step in to keep Gadzooks off him and hits the jumper). The last was a rebound from about 6 feet with the clock expiring at the half.

    So I’ve still yet to see a single instance that you’ve described above.

  117. Italian Stallion

    >>“IMO, one thing that doesn’t get factored enough by some people is who a player played against. Players off the bench often get matched up against other bench players.”<Shown time and time again to not be true. I’m not even going to bother to refute. <

    By who?

    A purely statistics guy that doesn’t bother to actually watch games. LMAO

    Seriously, you don’t need stats for this. The person you are asked to defend and the person that defends you 100% without any question impacts your own stats. To think this is not true is so silly, I can’t even debate it. Why don’t we just look at the stats for the last 5 minutes of any game when one team is ahead by 25 or more and both benches are empty to determine if we have any hidden talent in our 10-12 guys?

    Lee obviously doesn’t get a lot of garbage time minutes, but he still comes in off the bench. That translates into slightly softer assignments both offsensivly and defensively than if he started. It’s probably minor enough to be difficult to measure, but I’d bet my life against a dollar it’s true.

    Stats are invaluable tool, but measuring ability is enormously complex because there are so many interelated factors. You simply have to watch games and have a keen perception about what is causing or contributing to some stats that makes the raw data misleading.

  118. Frank
    Originally Posted By Frank“Mike K – i have to agree with IS on this one — this happened ALL the time last year, not sure what games you were watching. There were multiple times in each game where Lee would find himself completely uncovered from about 18 feet. Sometimes he would drive it, which is good, other times he’d just hold it and then pass to another covered person, which completely stops the offense, and other times, especially later in the year, he would occasionally shoot it.

    Just went back and watched 2 games where Lee had 2 jumpshots in each game. Two of them were off pick & rolls where Lee was left open for a jumper (hit 1 of 2). One was off a Crawford drive & pop. (Lee makes a nice step in to keep Gadzooks off him and hits the jumper). The last was a rebound from about 6 feet with the clock expiring at the half.
    So I’ve still yet to see a single instance that you’ve described above.

    Mike- I have no ability to watch the games again so it is difficult for me to reply to that. Certainly it happened less at the end of the year than earlier in the year. My wife can certainly vouch for the fact that she always gives me dirty looks when I’m screaming at the TV or at the game for Lee to shoot the open 15-18 footer.

  119. Ben R

    Whether or not players sagged off Lee when he has the ball is not the issue. I do not remember seeing it but whether it happend does not matter. What matters is the consequences of that. If Lee was a liability on offense and his presense made it easier for players to double in the post then Curry, our resident low post scorer, would see his stats decline when Lee was on the court.

    But in reality Curry has seen both his fg% and his pts per 40 increase when Lee is on the court:

    2006-2007
    Curry with Lee on the court:
    62.7% FG% – 25.1 pts per 40

    Curry with Frye on the court:
    54.2% FG% – 19.8 pts per 40

    2007-2008
    Curry with Lee on the court:
    57.0% FG% – 20.6 pts per 40

    Curry with Randolph on the court:
    53.2% FG% – 20.0 pts per 40

    As you can see Curry is more effective playing with Lee than the more “offensively” minded PF’s with jump shots we have paired him with. Lee actually makes Curry better in the post. As for overall, Lee made the Knicks 2.6 pts per 100 possessions better this year and 8.9 pts per 100 possessions better last year.

    All the evidence points to the fact that Lee has a positive effect on both Curry and the Knicks as a whole on offense.

    As for the playing against weaker competition it is simply not true. Teams do not sub out entire squads so at any given time there are almost always at least two starters usually more than that. So when Lee is on the floor most of his minutes come against the other teams starting PF. Lee is not a player playing 15 minutes a game, Lee has played almost 30 minutes a game for the last two years, he has started many games and he has seen major minutes in overtime and at the end of games.

    I have seen no evidence that Lee has struggled in fourth quarters, overtimes, when he starts or when he plays 35+ minutes. Until I see even a glimmer of evidence that this is true I will assue that Lee, like most players, will actually do better in a larger role.

  120. Matthew

    You all have to admit that people on this blog have a tendancy to absolutely fall in love with a single player on the Knicks and then drastically overrate them. Yes, Lee is underrated on the national level, but he is overrated on this blog. I remember last year a few people saying they wouldn’t trade him straight up for Al Jefferson (and Al Jefferson was enough to land Kevin freaking Garnett).

    I also remember when people here had a huge crush on Michael Sweetney. Maybe not to the same degree as Lee but it was similar “back-up quarterback” scenario.

  121. Owen

    Mike – Did we overrate Sweetney’s numbers? Or his ability to control his appetite?

    Given all the Lee baiting going on around here, never mind the David Lee for Javaris Crittenton trade proposals, I don’t know how you can say Lee is overrated….

  122. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger)

    >>“IMO, one thing that doesn’t get factored enough by some people is who a player played against. Players off the bench often get matched up against other bench players.”<Shown time and time again to not be true. I’m not even going to bother to refute. <

    By who?

    A purely statistics guy that doesn’t bother to actually watch games. LMAO

    I watched just about every Knick game last year, not to mention a ton of non-Knick games. What would make you assume that I don’t watch games? Maybe I should assume that you never watch games, but instead you rely on conventional wisdom and what the media tells you to think? Sure seems so.

    There’s a link at the top called: A Layman’s Guide to Advanced NBA Statistics. From there are links to many studies done showing that per-minute stats are not affected by low-minutes (IE coming off the bench). If you’d like to be taken seriously, read it. You can feel free to come up with your own studies refuting these if you are unconvinced.

  123. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger)

    Mike – Did we overrate Sweetney’s numbers? Or his ability to control his appetite?

    It’s possible that I overrated Sweetney, but there aren’t many guys from those Sweetney Knicks that are in the league. There were 19 players that put on a Knick uniform, and there’s what 6 players still in the league. I’m sure my shortstop skills would look great on a little league team too.

  124. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger)

    Mike- I have no ability to watch the games again so it is difficult for me to reply to that. Certainly it happened less at the end of the year than earlier in the year. My wife can certainly vouch for the fact that she always gives me dirty looks when I’m screaming at the TV or at the game for Lee to shoot the open 15-18 footer.

    Frank – I’m fine with both of us keeping our eyes open on this during summer league, preseason, and during the season. I think Lee’s jumper progressed as the season wore on, and I think next year people will see him differently.

  125. Frank
    Mike- I have no ability to watch the games again so it is difficult for me to reply to that. Certainly it happened less at the end of the year than earlier in the year. My wife can certainly vouch for the fact that she always gives me dirty looks when I’m screaming at the TV or at the game for Lee to shoot the open 15-18 footer.

    Frank – I’m fine with both of us keeping our eyes open on this during summer league, preseason, and during the season. I think Lee’s jumper progressed as the season wore on, and I think next year people will see him differently.

    Sounds like a plan. I’m actually excited for this year to see what tricks D’Antoni has up his sleeve. Given the improvement in DLee’s free throw shooting from year 1 to year 3 of his career, I have high hopes that he’ll have shot 10,000 15-18 foot jumpers by the end of this summer and that this whole conversation will become moot. I hope he stays on the team – would only trade him for top flight back court talent such as Conley. I haven’t seen much of Crittenton but nothing about his stats make me think he’s a better prospect than Conley. I did see Conley play a fair bit his only year in college and caught him a few times in Memphis and I liked what I saw, especially later in the year.

  126. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger)

    Sounds like a plan. I’m actually excited for this year to see what tricks D’Antoni has up his sleeve. Given the improvement in DLee’s free throw shooting from year 1 to year 3 of his career, I have high hopes that he’ll have shot 10,000 15-18 foot jumpers by the end of this summer and that this whole conversation will become moot. I hope he stays on the team – would only trade him for top flight back court talent such as Conley. I haven’t seen much of Crittenton but nothing about his stats make me think he’s a better prospect than Conley. I did see Conley play a fair bit his only year in college and caught him a few times in Memphis and I liked what I saw, especially later in the year.

    Agreed. I hope you’re still here in November & December so we can revisit this discussion. (It’d be nice if Lee were still here too).

  127. Ben R

    Jefferson is a nice player but I think to a large degree his scoring numbers are inflated by playing on such poor offensive teams.

    Since getting major minutes he has played on the 28th ranked and 27th ranked offenses. His scoring this year took a major jump but his TS% actually went down slightly and is a fairly average 53.5% this year and 54.0% for his career. Also while putting up good rebounding numbers he has yet to play next to even an average rebounder so his rebounding numbers are probably slightly inflated as well. Also his assist rate of about 7% is also fairly poor.

    All in all I would put Lee’s value to his team as pretty close to Jefferson’s. His role is different but his 13 pts per 36 on over 60% Ts% is actually harder to replace than Jefferson’s 21 pts per 36 on less than 54% TS%. I mean Crawford scored almost 19 pts per 36 on just under 53% TS% and I think almost everyone here will agree his offense is less than good.

    Maybe I am overselling Lee but I would put him as a second tier young player. Not a star in the making like Bynum, Deng, or Calderon but I think right along the lines of Granger, Ellis, Jefferson, Aldridge, Harris, Smith, or Rondo (although I would say Rondo is slowly getting into the star status).

    As for Sweetney if you look at both his college stats and his stats while playing in NY it is impossible to not be very optimistic about his future. Unfortunatly he lost the battle to weight and could not fulfill his potential. That does not mean his potential was not there he just failed to reach it.

  128. Owen

    Meant to address that Sweetney post to Matthew….

    Here is a list of NBA 2pt field goal percentages from 82games….

    http://www.82games.com/FGSORT7.HTM

    The top of the list is Kyle Korver at 53%. League wide ts% is something like 51-52%. There were exactly three players who shot more than 50%. Why everyone cares so much about 2 pt jumpshooting from power forwards I don’t know. The data is very clear. You make your money in the NBA behind the three point line, at the free throw line, and in the paint.

    Ben – Excellent posts.

  129. Ben R

    Owen – Its nice to be on the same side of a issue. I remember all the Curry discussions we had.

  130. Z

    “RBIs are largely based on the hitters in front of a player. Rebounds are largely based on a player’s skill (not solely, but largely). What’s with the Lee threads that brings out the crazy in everyone?”

    Perhaps, but I think my point went a bit past that obvious contrast. I’d say a small percent of RBI actually have an effect on the outcome of a game, yet it’s a stat that builds hall-of-fame careers and multi-million dollar contracts. I think the same is true for rebounds. Rebounding, like run producing in baseball, is a team stat that individuals get too much credit for, and has become a false-idol of sorts when assessing individual players.

    This comparison has little to do with Lee or his value to a basketball team.

  131. Duff Soviet Union

    Owen, while I agree with your general point that a midrange jumper is probably the most over-rated skill in basketball, I think those 82games numbers overstate the case as they don’t take fouls drawn or turnovers into account. If it’s possible to do a breakdown on that, I’d like to see it. I’m pretty sure turnovers increase the closer you get to the basket and free throw attempts do the same. Still, I bet that overall the mid range game is basically the dead zone of NBA offensive efficiency. This should be easy to test if you have data breakdowns like 82 games does. Just run a correllation between 2 point jump shots taken by team and offensive efficiency and the inverse numbers for defensive efficiency.

  132. Z-man

    While it has declined in importance league-wide (which I think has hurt the game) there are a number of NBA stars that seem to thrive on the mid-range jumper, such as Wade, Boozer, Bosh, Pierce, Anthony, J O’Neal.

    In Lee’s case, considering he never takes 3′s and is already pretty good around the basket (although I think he regressed slightly last year}, this is the area that has the most potential for improvement in his offensive game.

    Ben R- To penalize Jefferson’s numbers for playing on a bad offensive team is unfair. Maybe Jefferson is hurt by being the only player the defense has to game plan for. Maybe Lee’s numbers are inflated by playing on a lousy team that misses so many shots, providing more rebound and garbage point opportunities, and that has played in so many blow-outs.

    Lee also leaves much to be desired defensively. Where does he rank among top-minute PFs in shot-blocking? He’s 3 years into his career and has good enough ups, can’t he get at least 1 per game?

  133. Ben R

    Z-man – The only reason I mentioned Jefferson’s team was he was the primary scorer on a bad offensive team. I think that reflects poorly on his ability to carry a team offensively.

    I believe that shot-blocking is overrated. I think there are only two kinds of shot blockers in the NBA. Ones that impact the game with their shot blocking; Camby, Mutumbo, Mourning and those don’t. While Jefferson is a much better shot blocker than Lee I do not believe the one extra blocked shot a game has a major impact. So I believe that Lee’s below average shot blocking is not a big deal since PF’s are rarely called upon to be a team’s primary shot blocker. Also there are many good shot blockers that are bad defenders and bad shot blockers that are good defdenders.

    Also Jefferson is a terrible defender. I remember how much he struggled defensively in Boston and though I did not watch Minnisota play I looked at the plus minus stats for Jefferson and I was blown away.

    I do not put a great deal of stock in plus minus, unless they are very lopsided, like +/- 6 or more. Jefferson makes Minnesota an unbelievable 12.1 pts per 100 possessions worse on defense. I have never seen a player have that major a negative impact. In fact in the 2917 minutes Jefferson was on the court Minnesota was out scored by 11.5 pts per 100 possessions, and during the 1027 minutes he was off the court minnesota actually outscored their opponent by 0.2 pts per 100 possessions.

    After seeing these splits I actually would not trade Lee for Jefferson because those numbers put up huge red flags in my mind regarding Jefferson.

  134. Z-man

    Ben,

    I’m not suggesting that Lee needs to be a shot blocker as much that I am expressing a concern about his defensive play in general. I don’t think that any part of his defensive game is particularly strong for PF, especially post defense against tougher PFs.

    My instincts tell me that +/- stats are reliable for players playing major minutes on lousy teams. This is not to argue that Jefferson is a good defender, he might not be at this point. That being said, I think Jefferson is both beter right now and has more upside than Lee, so we will just have to disagree on that one (I do think most GMs would be on my side on this one.)

    That being said, like you, I would like to see Lee on the Knicks for another year to see whether his lack of development this year had anything to do with his injury in early ’07. My guess is that it did not, and that he will not develop much more, but as a diehard Knick fan, I would love to be wrong.

  135. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger)

    “If Lee is as good as you think he is (or will be as good as you think he will be) why couldn’t the knicks deal him on draft night? It’s not like they were asking for the world in return. Is the entire NBA that oblivious to his talents?”

    I found this in today’s Post.

    “I love David Lee,” D’Antoni said. “I read someplace, he doesn’t fit my style. Let’s see, he averaged 10 rebounds, 10 points. He fits anybody’s style. To be creative, he’s the best we have to be creative. [But] the franchise will do their job of exploring every option. At the end of the day, I’d be very happy to coach David Lee.

    “But again it’s the business, it’s the future and we’re doing what you can within certain parameters. It’s overblown because everyone that calls asks about him because he’s the main guy. And it should be a compliment to him. It hasn’t happened. I don’t expect it to happen. If it did, it would have to be somebody good.”

  136. ben bow

    why the hell is everyone so against trading lee for felton????? lee is way overrated by all knicks fans, simply because compared to the rest of the team he is great. raymond felton is one of the higher class PG’s in the league. this season he averaged 7.4 assists a game. that was seventh in the league. i thought one of our weaknesses was a need of a pass first point guard????? also, now that we have gallinari, we have a PF to replace lee, so its not a big deal. Finally, i’ve heard many people say he hasnt improved over his time in the league. i disagree. his assist number has gone up each year he’s in the league, and his fg percent has risen. i think that he will probably continue improving, and best yet, he’s only 24, with a low salary of 3.3 mil. if we got felton, i would be a happy knicks fan.

  137. ben bow

    jesus christ. i’m reading some other posts that are terrible as well. putting lee in the same category as monta ellis?? hell no. monta ellis is a frikin monster. he’ll be an allstar soon. this season he scored over 20 pts a game, and had like a 53 fg percent as a sg. also, same category as al jefferson? thats really unlikely. you guys say stats dont matter, but if stats dont matter, just watching jefferson play he’s alot better. he can actually post somebody up, unlike lee. i dont think i’ve ever seen david lee post someone up, and he’s like 6 10 or something. jefferson is a monster down low, way better then lee is. if we could trade lee for him, i’d do it in a heartbeat, then build around jefferson and gallinari. can you build around lee and gallinari? hell no. lee isnt a franchise superstar kinda player. personally, jefferson is.

  138. bfellow

    This rumor would be true if Zeke was running the show and thinking whats for tomorrow’s dinner.

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