Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Grass Really Isn’t Greener

Back in February, a lot of Knick fans were hoping for some kind of change to jump start their lifeless 2010 season. New York was 19-34 (.358) and seemingly stuck in a mire. By the 20th they had dumped Nate Robinson, Jordan Hill, Jared Jeffries and a bunch of draft picks for a winter rental of Tracy McGrady, Eddie House, Bill Walker, and Sergio Rodriguez. Some fans saw McGrady, a former All Star, as a potential great player. For instance a friend of mine on facebook wrote “T-Mac, now a Knick, hopefully he stays healthy and has a couple more good seasons left in him.”

Since that trade New York’s record hasn’t gotten better as the team has won only 5 of the last 15 games. Neither McGrady nor his new teammates have been able to turn the tide. In fact the Knicks won the only game that McGrady missed (against the Hawks), so he hasn’t been as effective as my friend expected. Personally, I wanted the Knicks to change because the team had been monotonous, and after the trade the new players were intriguing to watch. But ultimately, to paraphrase Bill Parcels, you’re as interesting as your record. And the results from the new group of players has been just as bad as the old group.

There are a few positives to take from this trade. The first is Bill Walker, who is playing reasonably well and could be a cheap and productive roster filler for 2010 and beyond. The second is New York’s first hand look at McGrady, House, and Rodriguez might prevent them from spending too much on any of these players. They haven’t looked particularly good, and although each may have something to bring to the Knicks past this year, none are playing well enough for the team giddily overpay them. The last positive is the extra minutes for Toney Douglas. Although it would have been possible for the team to play him without this trade, with D’Antoni’s mindset that may have not occurred. But the removal of Nate Robinson helped pave the way for his minutes, along with the equally poor play from Duhon/Rodriguez. With the team counting every summer 2010 penny, having two guys that make relatively little but that can crack the rotation will be key for the future.

93 comments on “The Grass Really Isn’t Greener

  1. Thomas B.

    I think a number of people were hopeful that McGrady could turn the tide for the Knicks–I was not one of them. Bill Walker has been a pleasant suprise. I’ve been calling for more time for Douglas ever since Duhon and Hughes made it clear that they have no interest in being effective offensive players. When was that, late November?

    You are right that moving Nate cleared room for Douglas. I did not factor that into my evaluation of the Robinson trade. We need to know what we have so we can make the shopping more effective this summer.

    You mentioned “overpaying” a time or two in the article. So what would be the fair market value of McGrady, et al. this summer? I don’t think Rodriguez is worth his Q/O. I think Walker is worth slightly more than the veteran’s minimum for a player of his experience. Walker will be offered that much by most teams looking for inexpensive scoring. I could see a team offering McGrady the MLE for 2 years but I’m not sure he could much more than that at his age/injury history.

    I think with McGrady the only option is to sign him quickly to a reasonable deal or renounce him. I guess reasonable is defined in terms of how his contract limits the Knicks search for top free agents. I’d love to see Mcgrady back for a 1 year at the veteran’s minimum, but not much more than that.

  2. ess-dog

    I think we renounce T-Mac right away. He hasn’t shown much.
    I’m glad the team is more watchable, but almost all of these players don’t matter. What matters is cap space.
    I think the only way we get Lebron is if we pair him with another star: regardless of who you really think has the most talent, that would be Bosh, Wade or Stoudamire. Maybe Joe Johnson. I just don’t see Bron coming over to play with Lee.
    What makes the most sense based on talent and age is a Bron/Bosh combo. You have to figure Bosh is leaving and how could he not jump at a D’Antoni/Lebron/NYC package? I guess Wade’s a possibility if he doesn’t commit to Miami.
    But Wade will probably try to recruit to get another star in Miami- probably Bosh, Amare or Boozer.
    The only places 2 of those 4 can get max offers is Miami, NYK, and the NJN. Chicago is in the mix for one if you like young star point guards and good centers.
    I think we’re in a good spot if these players really mean what they say: that they only want to win championships.

  3. Thomas B.

    Z,

    Yes team option on Walker for about 834K. I think he is worth the 400K cap hit to retain him.

  4. Ted Nelson

    I was absolutely amazed to look at the standings for the first time in a while and see that the Knicks are in 10th place in the East. Even more amazed that their 4-6 record in the last 10 games is the best among non-playoff teams in the East. Of course, it’s pathetic: they’re 10 games out and it’s totally irrelevant since they don’t have their pick… but I’m pumped. As much as the Celts’ announcers are the worst known to man, one of them did make a comment about the Knicks misery over the last decade that rang true.

    Walker definitely is the biggest positive that came of the whole thing. Maybe Giddens can do something too… I was about 90% wrong on that trade, the 10% right coming just because Eddie House stinks.

    McGrady is doing about what I expected–maybe a tiny bit less–so for me the biggest disappointment is Sergio Rodriguez. This was maybe his bst chance to date to show he belongs in the NBA as a rotation player or starter. He hasn’t been totally terrible–better than Duhon this season certainly–but I was hoping for a lot more. Marca had a story yesterday about Real Madrid going after him this offseason. Doubt the Knicks will stand in their way with more than a minimum deal.

    “So what would be the fair market value of McGrady, et al. this summer?”

    Fair open market value I would call the MLE or maybe $4-5 mill for McGrady. He’s a disappointment given talent and past production, but he’s still about league average. I believe the MLE is supposed to be a league average salary. The injuries are a concern, though, which probably drags it down to $4 mill or so. I think Rodriguez is worth his qualifier of $2.8 mill: he’s a solid back-up PG for an up-tempo team. If he wants to stay in the NBA and CJ Watson walks, he should look at Golden State. Walker, I would maybe say about $2-3 mill based on the upside and intrigue. How he plays from here on will say a lot, though, since he has such a short track record… he might just about double his NBA minutes before the season is over. Then again, it might behoove the Knicks to hide him. Knicks have an option on him for $854,389. Not sure if that million throws off their FA plans or not.

    Of course, it’s not an open market and the Knicks have other priorities. For the Knicks, I would probably agree with vets min for T-Mac. They have some goodwill built up by “saving him” from Houston and giving up tons of assets to do so, and it’s not like he needs the money. He probably goes to a contender on a min deal, if the Knicks score in free agency maybe that’s them. Minimum for both Rodriguez and Walker probably, too. I doubt Rodriguez takes the min given the offer he’ll get from Real, unless he doesn’t want to give up on the NBA and loves D’Antoni. Walker seems certifiably nuts and is not hiring an agent. If the Knicks don’t exercise their option, who knows what he’ll do.
    Of course, if they strike out in free agency and are looking to fill their roster with competent placeholders and those guys haven’t signed elsewhere, splitting $10 mill up between the 3 wouldn’t be the worst thing.

    “I think with McGrady the only option is to sign him quickly to a reasonable deal or renounce him.”

    Yeah, there’s no reason not to renounce him. I don’t think you sign him quickly, though, because you have to go after the big fish before putting more money on the cap. He also might not want to stay in NY for the min if it’s on a sure thing lottery team.

    “You have to figure Bosh is leaving and how could he not jump at a D’Antoni/Lebron/NYC package?”

    A friend of mine had breakfast with a Raptors exec last weekend who told him they fully expect Bosh to leave.

    I agree that the Knicks are in a good spot, but the frustrating thing is that it still gives them like a 20% chance at best to get LeBron. Anything else will be a bit of a dissapointment for me, personally. I think at this point Lee’s credibility around the league is pretty high. His defensive shortcomings are well known, but so are RuPaul’s… I mean Bosh’s. At the end of the day the Knicks need a big bodied C who can play, but a. those aren’t too easy to come by and b. I’m honestly worried about D’Antoni’s ability to win with a real PF and a real C on the court together. Wish Dwight Howard was a FA… LeBron-Howard would guarantee global domination and probably a Celtics/UCLA type of decade of dominance. If LeBron wants to take the Jon Abbey rout and sign with a contender for the MLE, maybe take Orlando over LAL since Orlando he’d be putting over the top.

  5. Thomas B.

    Even if you renounce Walker, the NBA would charge the Knicks with a roster charge of about 450K. To keep Walker would only cost 400K more than the roster charge. Since you are not lilkely to get a player of his talent and experience for much less, you might as well keep him. My orginal point with Walker was is he worth the extra 400K? I think he is.

    Rodriguez, in my opinion is not worth the 2.8 million option. There are similar free agents points that would sign for far less I think. You could find a low turnover point to push the ball in the second round if you do your research.

    When I say sign McGrady quickly, I mean not to let his cap hold hurt your ability to sign free agents. You only sign him quickly if you want him and if the price is right.

  6. Ted Nelson

    Good point about Walker, didn’t think of the roster charge. Timing + cap space has to be considered a little, though. I doubt $400k will be what stands in the Knicks and two max guys or a few big FAs. If they’ve already signed Lee and a max guy and want Camby (for example) but their offer is short of another teams maybe that $400k does make a difference in pulling their offer closer, though. You probably just lock up Walker with his option, I’m just throwing that out there.

    I think Rodriguez is worth $3 mill, just not necessarily to the Knicks given their goals of signing some bigtime FAs. PGs with ast% of 36 don’t come up too often in the 2nd round. His scoring seems to have improved. He gets steals on D. TOs are a concern, but he’s in-line with Kidd and Nash in that category. He’s only 23 and already a solid NBA player. I would say $3 mill is worth it if it keeps him over here one more year to get a better look, all else equal. If the Knicks strike out in free agency or have $3 mill in space sitting around, I think that’s a good value to see if he can finally put it together at 24. Steve Nash had a good season at 23, but didn’t really break out until 26.

    I don’t see why McGrady’s cap hold is an issue. You HAVE to renounce him. He’s an unrestricted FA either way. Why rush to sign him and eat up even a little bit of cap space that can go to LeBron and Co.? If they know his $1 mill won’t hurt them and his presence makes them a more attractive location to free agents, I suppose.

  7. TheRant

    Last time I checked, taking on McGrady was all about dumping Jared Jefferies. So let’s not worry about him too much.

    He still has game, at least for 14 minutes or so, and would be terrific if he wants to play alongside two max free agents for about $2-4 million a year.

    Frankly, the best thing about McGrady was his quote, a day or two after signing, that went something like this: “I made $92 million. I’m set for life. My kids are set for life. If some free agents come in here, I’d be happy to play for much less money to try and make something happen.”

    When was the last time you heard *any* athlete say something like that?

    I’m also very happy with DWTDD and Bill Walker, as long as we don’t do anything that will have me typing on this board in five years that after paying Duhon $6M per year and JJ who knows what per year, here we are again doing it with role players.

    We need a few free agents and a bunch of people who can take $2M or $3M. And David Lee deserves $8M for his patience and his play. But even Joe Johnson doesn’t quite deserve max status. He’s old.

  8. Owen

    That is funny…

    Just noticed that they have the clutch stats for the year up at 82games. They show that in 139 clutch minutes this season David Lee has shot 68%, averaged 25 points per 48 (a touch below his season average), and committed just 1.7 turnover per 48. Not too shabby…

    Worth a gander. Lebron by the way is scoring 65 points per 48 in the clutch and averaging 26 free throws per 48. Pretty sick. While I have always made the argument that the same players who are good in the first quarter are good in the fourth quarter, James really does turn it on to a huge degree.

    http://www.82games.com/0910/CSORT6.HTM

  9. Ted Nelson

    Owen,

    That cannot be possible. Because Kobe Bryant calls himself Black Mamba and gives mean looks to the camera he is clearly the most clutch player in the NBA and the greatest player in the history of the world… The Chuck Norris of the NBA.

  10. TDM

    Kobe is so clutch, he could eat a Rubik’s Cube and crap it out solved.

    That aside, anyone see Jimmer Fredette (WHO?) take over the BYU – Florida game?

  11. Owen

    You guys are funny. A decade of suffering has helped our sense of humor at least.

    The tourney has been on fire today. Amazing game after amazing game. Go parity…

  12. Roadking

    Jimmer is awesome. He’s a great kid. I have known the family for years and play in a hoop league with his Dad. Our entire area up here is rooting for the kid. The kid is not just a shooter–he’s got a great handle. I would be so psyched if the Knicks got Jimmer!

  13. d-mar

    Ric Bucher is quoting a league source that LeBron would be more interested in coming to NY if Joe Johnson is signed. I would be very surprised if LeBron is talking to anyone about free agency right now, and I would also think he’d rather be paired with Bosh than Johnson. However, I’ll take any glimmer of hope I can get at this point!

  14. jon abbey

    “While I have always made the argument that the same players who are good in the first quarter are good in the fourth quarter, James really does turn it on to a huge degree.”

    I watched the last four minutes of CLE/IND the other night, a one point game at that point before LeBron just took over the game singlehandedly on both ends. from there, 8 points, 2 assists, 2 steals, 2 blocks, and a couple of other almost-blocks that he got called for fouls on. admittedly against a bad Pacer team with no Granger, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a perimeter player dominate the end of a game on both ends like that. I’ll be pretty surprised if anyone keeps him from the title this year.

  15. ess-dog

    In my own personal quest to find out who’s better, Lee or Bosh, the stats provide some interesting help:
    -TS% is identical but Lee has a big advantage in eFG% (possibly because Bosh takes more outside shots and or 1 on 1 shots?)
    -Bosh actually has a very slight edge with true rebounding % thanks to his defensive rebounding (which is interesting because it seems as if Lee’s offensive boarding has gone down a touch.)
    -Lee has a large lead in assist % – 17 to 12% – not surprising as he’s become a “point-center”.
    -Big difference in blocks. Bosh gets a little over 2 a game, Lee gets a little less than 1. Height advantage. You’d think Lee might be helped here moving to pf.
    -Lee also turns the ball over a bit more.
    -Lee leads in Win Shares but Bosh leads in PER.

    Based on PER, you have to figure that no one is worth signing over Lee besides Lebron, Wade, and maybe Bosh. You could also make a case for Stoudamire, but not Joe Johnson. You’d be better off with a cheaper Ginobli than Johnson.
    So say you get Lebron, you have to figure that if you can get Lee for 5 mil less than Bosh, it only makes sense to go with Lee and possibly get a true center to play next to him (Camby?) Having Lebron and Gallo as the 2 wings could be awkward or it could work marvelously. Of course, this depends on what center you get.
    Compared to putting Bosh at center and having Gallo as your pf (and/or *gulp* starting Curry at center), and keeping Chandler as your sg, I think the first option seems more practical.
    The only thing is, maybe we don’t get Lebron that way, in which case, it’s better to team Lebron and Bosh or Johnson or even Lebron and Oscar the Grouch.

  16. KnickfaninNJ

    Most of you seem to have more faith in McGrady being a benefit in some way than I do. But not only did the Knicks win the one game he didn’t play in but, during the games he is in, the Knicks often do better as soon as he sits. And when I watch him play, he just doesn’t seem to be intensely into the game as much as he should. He makes lazy passes sometimes, he doesn’t go after rebounds sometimes and basically he just seems to pick his moments to expend energy and relax at other times. He’s not good enough at the moment to play that way. He clearly can shoot, but I don’t know if he does enough other things to want to have him around at all, much less offer him several million. The Knicks should just renounce him.

  17. Owen

    Not sure how much faith we all have in Mcgrady. I don’t have any, I know that.

    Lee is out tonight, don’t know why. Interesting to see the team without him.

  18. rohank

    At the game tonight. Walker looks great. Giddens not so much. Duhon turns it over no surprise.

  19. TDM

    Eddy Curry is listed as questionable. I say put him in even if he can’t walk. Just have him stand just outside the paint so he closes off the lane on at least one side of the basket. You know what I mean – kind of like if you put a lazy-boy recliner on the court.

  20. rohank

    Z – I’m not in NY very often so I take what I can get. Plus I figured this one would be close.

  21. Droidz1979

    another close game for the Knicks..without Lee and all, hope the W does keep coming.. at least the season won’t be that much of a disaster than it already is

  22. Thomas B.

    “At the game tonight.”-Rohank

    “Why?”- Z

    Clearly someone broke into his apartment and left him a couple of tickets.-Thomas B.

  23. Thomas B.

    I know I’m going to catch hell for this but:

    Is Toney Douglas the team’s best two-way player? I think he might be.

  24. Z

    Wow. Maybe the grass IS greener.

    Walker and Giddens box score looks real nice (Walker with 15, Giddens with 10 pts, 9 rebounds).

    And with Duhon’s team leading +15, the grass feels kind of like the infield at Yankee Stadium right now…

  25. BigBlueAL

    Joe Johnson with a buzzer beater to beat the Bobcats in OT, a 20 ft jumper over 2 defenders.

    Gallo is pretty close as the best 2 way player too with his vastly improved D. Chandler also isnt a scrub on D. Best thing is TD, Gallo and Chandler are all part of the future and all 3 at least play both ways capably.

  26. BigBlueAL

    Good thing the Knicks won tonight cause, especially with the depleted roster, they will most likely lose the next 5 games in a row and it could get a bit ugly in some of those.

    Got home just in time for the 4th quarter and must say even though the season has been a lost cause for awhile still fun and exciting seeing the Knicks pull one out in fairly dramatic fashion. Gotta hold on to 10th place in the East!!!! lol

  27. nicos

    One of the more enjoyable Knick wins of the season. Obviously Gallo early and TD late (with some nice play by Walker and Giddens as well) were key. Have to give AH credit for hitting the boards and actually trying to deny post position in the 2nd half. Also- You have to wonder about Gallo playing the 4 at all next year as he almost never guards the post- they used Walker on Brand rather than Gallo, maybe trying to keep his back from taking a pounding. And you could definitely see how much Lee’s motion and passing mean to the Knicks on offense- only 12 assists for the game.

  28. TDM

    Great 2 quarters by the Knicks.

    On another note, just saw that J Hill has notched 5 blocks against the Celtics.

  29. Frank

    Have to say — this might be the best game I’ve seen Gallo play. 25 points on 12 shots, was aggressive all night long, played excellent D. For tonight at least, I’m happy with our future core of Chandler, Gallo, and Douglas. Walker, too, is ours with team options at 800K/year for 2010-11 and 2011-12 if I remember correctly?

  30. rohank

    Anyone know what happened to Chandler and lee tonight?

    Btw @32 – Thomas B: if u want to leave me ur tickets to “crappy” games when I’m in town feel free.

  31. rayhed

    Holy shit- a darko sighting… hes got 12 points and 10 boards at the end of the 3rd against the lakers

  32. Z-man

    Was at the game last night, have to say it was very enjoyable. The crowd was very into it, maybe because the tickets are more accessible to the non-corporate community. Douglas and Gallo were tremendous. Douglas took over the game on both ends and looked a step ahead of everybody else. This guy can play, but even more importantly, has a huge set of cohones. You can see what Coach K loved in the guy. Gallo used his length and dribble more effectively and you can see him starting to become a little more Dirk-like.

    Other interesting observations: in the few minutes he played, Bender looked very comfortable in the center spot. I had been wondering why he hasn’t been put there more, since he is the only guy on the team that has the size to play there. It would also be easier on his knees if he stayed down low and concentrated on guarding the post and rebounding. Guess the broken finger makes the point moot, although I cant imagine Willis Reed sitting out with a broken finger.

    The Sixers are a mess. I don’t know if its coaching or just a bad mix of players, but they should have dominated inside in the second half. The Knicks were trotting out a bunch of guards and small forwards (AH in the middle) and the Sixers had no answer. Duhon and T-Mac were both terrible. Walker had some nice plays on both ends, Giddens contributed. All in all, for a nothing game in a nothing season, very enjoyable!

  33. TDM

    @43 – Darko has been starting for the Wolves the past 2 games. I watched the LA/MN game last night and he looked pretty good. That said, Bynum was out for the entire 4th quarter, and this was probably Darko’s best game as a pro. 16pts, 12 boards, 3 assists, 1 steal, 1 block.

  34. Brian Cronin

    Was at the game last night, have to say it was very enjoyable. The crowd was very into it, maybe because the tickets are more accessible to the non-corporate community.

    I think Simmons had a good point where he noted that the Garden sure is a nice sales point for any incoming star free agents – “Look how excited we get over a meaningless game against a team who sucks, imagine what it would be like if we had a good team again?”

  35. Ted Nelson

    As meaningless as it actually is, finishing 10th might help the Knicks in free agency. No one will be fooled into thinking they competed for the playoffs, but they can sell that they’re just shy of the playoffs and finished strong with young guys who might mostly still be around next season. It’s something anyway.

    “Toney Douglas is sort of making Donnie Walsh look like a competent drafter.”

    Yeah, in case Reggie Miller (11th overall pick), Dale Davis (13th), Antonio Davis (45th), Al Harrington (25th), etc. didn’t already do that. Nice to know he didn’t suddenly forget how to build a team after several decades of doing it. Maybe the Knicks should just get Kobe to draft for them since he can do no wrong…

    “this was probably Darko’s best game as a pro. 16pts, 12 boards, 3 assists, 1 steal, 1 block.”

    Not far from it, he’s had some good games in Orlando and Memphis though. One late season game against the Lakers in 07-08 he had 20 pts, 12 rbs, 4 blks, and 3 asts in a win over the Lakers for example.

  36. Brian Cronin

    Oh yeah, Ted, definitely.

    Douglas and Gallo playing well (and Walker being Walker) are very notable parts of the Knicks’ sales pitch to star free agents.

  37. supernova

    The knock on Walsh’s drafting ability in one of the earlier posts, is one I have heard before, but overall I do not believe his record is all that bad. In terms of his just his Knick picks so far it seems a bit early to make a judgment, but IMHO they all look promising. Douglas seems to be a great late round find while Gallo in what is essentially his rookie season shows a ton of promise. Gallo really seems to me to have all the tools to be a complete player and though he has had rough patches, I think overall has progressed well in this his first year. In terms of Jordan Hill, he did not get much of a chance to show his stuff here, but looks like he could be a solid player, maybe not spectacular player, but solid player for years to come. Presently in Houston, his TS% is 54%, and he comes off a recent game with five blocks. Again, too early to tell, but he also seems to have the tools to be a good player for years to come. Therefore, I am not one who thinks Walsh lacks expertise in the drafting department. I believe these picks coupled with some nice finds during his Indiana days show he clearly knows what he is doing in terms of drafting.

  38. Brian Cronin

    Jordan Hill was a terrible pick.

    Although, perhaps in a roundabout way, drafting a player like Hill was almost a blessing, because if Walsh had done a better job with that pick then he never would have traded it away in the TMac deal.

  39. iserp

    I think it is also easier to trade a big than a guard. So he might have drafted him with a trade in mind.

  40. Brian Cronin

    He might very well prove valuable to Houston, but it’s not like they’d have drafted him #8 overall.

  41. jaddddd1

    Hill was a terrible pick not because he isn’t good, but because of who was passed up. We really needed to come out of the draft with a PG who could run D’Antoni’s high-octane offense (Toney might wind up being that guy), and Jennings and Lawson were still on the board when we took Hill. Hill essentially had the same skill set as Lee, high energy guy who is a good rebounder and has a nice mid-range stroke, it was a waste of a pick.

  42. Brian Cronin

    Hill had a good first half in limited minutes against his old team, as did T-Mac. In fact, they are both the leading plus/minus players so far in the game (Hill is tied with David Lee and Toney Douglas at +12).

  43. Brian Cronin

    The Rockets just scored back to back buckets where Budinger was all alone on the other side of the court where Lowry hits him with a full court pass.

    Once is fine – credit to Lowry and Budinger.

    But back to back times?!?

  44. ess-dog

    Houston must be missing Landry.
    I was thinking the same thing as BC. The “problem” was (I’m assuming) that the Walsh gang had already targeted their pg with the Lakers pick, so it would’ve been hard for them to take a point that wasn’t Rubio or Curry with the 8th pick. They didn’t like Holiday or Jennings, Lawson didn’t make sense that high… and I think they just liked Douglas the best out of the options they had.
    I guess they could’ve went with Derozan. Blair would’ve been a good pick in retrospect. But I’m not sure why they didn’t trade up or down on draft day with the 8th pick. I’m assuming they tried everything to trade up, but you could’ve traded down and come away with say, Lawson and Cassipi, or Holiday and Gibson.
    It’s moot anyway at this point. But I’m still happier with the trade than I would’ve been had we kept Hill and not done the trade.

  45. jaddddd1

    I can’t believe Chris Rock just went on his own 7-0 run to essentially end the game. Typical Knick loss, we have no “closer” at the end of the game, seems like a lot of guys are afraid to shoot it, like they aren’t supposed to be the one taking big shots.

  46. Brian Cronin

    Douglas misses a three but Lee gets the offensive rebound and kicks it out to a wide open Gallo who decides to…not shoot the three.

    The crowd was audible in their groaning. The possession ended with an ugly shot attempt by Walker.

    Aaron Brooks (who had made two quick buckets to give the Rockets a 2-point lead) was one-on-one with Gallo, who played him about as well as a guy like Gallo can play a guy like Brooks, forcing Brooks to shoot an ugly jumper over Gallo’s arms with the shot clock about to expire – and the shot goes in, Rockets up four.

    Ugh.

  47. Brian Cronin

    Also, seriously, Knicks, how about not attacking Jeffries?!?! That’s four charges he’s drawn in the fourth!!!

  48. Brian Cronin

    And Douglas is playing really well, but holy crap, three ugly turnovers in four possessions.

  49. Brian Cronin

    Finally, while the game is basically meaningless and most of these guys have no future with the Knicks, so I guess I can’t get on D’Antoni for not exactly giving much of a shit, doesn’t D’Antoni seem to have awful end of the game plans?

  50. nicos

    Would like to have seen them at least try go to Gallo in the post in the last two minutes as he was either getting off a good shot or getting fouled. That said, this game pointed out there are two different Gallo’s on defense- on the ball, he’s very good, even on that last Brooks make he did a good job keeping a much quicker guy in front of him. Off the ball, not so great. Lost guys back door, at least one of the Budinger run outs was his fault, failure to get over screens gave up some open threes etc… Still, he obviously has the makings of a very good defensive 3, I don’t think he’s nearly as good when guarding 2′s which forces him to be much more active off of the ball (and he’s guarded the post so rarely that it’s impossible to guess how he do seeing a steady diet of 4s.

    On another topic- How does anyone feel about Amare’s recent resurgence? Does it help or hurt the Knicks in FA? If keeps it up for the rest of the year he’ll move past JJ and maybe be even with Bosh as the third best free agent. I can see him going to Miami and forcing LeBron to feel like he has to have a similar sidekick (which he can’t do in Cleveland).

  51. BigBlueAL

    Didnt see the game today but looking at the box score the only 2 guys I care about now looking up are Gallo and TD and at least stats wise another great game for both of them today. Gallo’s propensity to get to the ft-line now is really a nice development and bodes well for his future if he keeps this up.

  52. Z

    “I don’t like to play bad rookies, I like to play good rookies.”
    -Mike D’Antoni on Jordan Hill’s lack of playing time in NY

  53. Owen

    Hill was + 24.

    The 155 minutes he has played in Houston have been a lot better than what he showed in New York. Still don’t think he will amount to much.

    Douglas was great until he was awful at the end, with the two charging fouls into Jeffries and the turnover. I still don’t see him as a guy to have handling the ball at the end of the game, but his shooting leaves nothing to be deserved…

  54. BigBlueAL

    For all the talk about how good Hill is doing in Houston he is averaging what a bit over 5 pts and 5 rbs per game in 15 mins?? Not exactly much different from what he was doing here except for the fact that he is actually making some layups now where as with the Knicks he couldnt even make most of his layups during warmups.

  55. Owen

    Hill is averaging 4 more rebounds per 36 in Houston. I agree with you about his finishing, it was unbelievable poor in NY. But he looked good around the hoop today…

  56. BigBlueAL

    Yet Adelman has been quoted questioning Hill’s effort during games (Hahn mentioned this). Something D’Antoni mentioned a few times too.

  57. Ted Nelson

    Brian and Jaddddddddddddddddddd1,

    Who would you have drafted? Lawson? Blair? Who else? Those guys were drafted 9 and 20-odd picks later. Plenty of people here knew how good they were before the draft, but lots of NBA teams passed on them. If Jordan Hill becomes a solid NBA player with his Houston numbers and solid/strong defense he’s a good #8 pick. If a couple of guys drafted behind him are better he wasn’t the best pick on the board, but it doesn’t mean he wasn’t a good pick.
    You might rather have drafted Andrei Kirilenko or Manu Ginobili than Corey Maggette #13 in 1999, but that doesn’t make him a bad #13 pick.

    “They didn’t like Holiday or Jennings, Lawson didn’t make sense that high… and I think they just liked Douglas the best out of the options they had.”

    There were rumors Walsh was making noise within the organization of drafting Lawson #8, but you know… the guy is a terrible drafter who never built two separate contenders in Indiana… he’s terrible. Walsh came out within a few weeks of the season starting saying that the front office blew it on Jennings–blaming it more on the scouts than I would have liked, but still… and I’m not sold at this point that Jennings will be better than Hill. Holiday stunk at UCLA, it’s a bit like if Henson comes out of UNC this season and becomes good, not that Holiday’s killed it his rookie season. People are just looking at every PG drafted and assuming they are better than Hill because they were so obsessed with drafting a PG.

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/pcm_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=1&p1=gibsota01&y1=2010&p2=hilljo01&y2=2010&p3=holidjr01&y3=2010

    Per minute Hill has been better than Holiday (who is only 19) and Gibson (who is 24… but Douglas is ancient…).

    “doesn’t D’Antoni seem to have awful end of the game plans?”

    This is as impossible as Kobe not being the greatest human being to walk the earth. Clearly because D’Antoni won 10,000,000 games in Phoenix he is the greatest coach in the history of organized sports and questioning his coaching ability is blasphemous.

    ““I don’t like to play bad rookies, I like to play good rookies.”
    -Mike D’Antoni on Jordan Hill’s lack of playing time in NY”

    That was funny. Might end up meaning that D’Antoni is an idiot as much as it means anything. He also said that Darko was one of the reasons he didn’t play Hill……………………………..

    BBA,

    He has stopped taking a bunch of long jumpers. What’s caused that change, I don’t know. A bit odd to me that he was taking 60% jumpers as a Knick and is now taking 27% jumpers as a Rocket.

    “I agree with you about his finishing, it was unbelievable poor in NY.”

    Weird because he had an eFG% of .676 of inside shots as a Knick, but I guess he was terrible. Sort of like Walsh is terrible at building NBA basketball teams and Kobe is Chuck Norris in high-top sneakers.

  58. BigBlueAL

    I dont think its about not criticizing D’Antoni because he is a genius, its about evaluating his coaching with the crap rosters he has had these past 2 seasons is a bit unfair. Just like it is absolutely ludicrous to criticize Walsh for his talent evaluation so far in NY.

    To me neither one should really be criticized until next season. Both have pretty damn good track records to say the least (although people would like to pretend thats not the case which is ridiculous).

  59. Ben R

    My biggest criticism with Walsh as a drafter is he tends to always play it safe. Getting solid value and decent players but very few home-runs. I think he is overall pretty solid but in a year where we really needed a home-run with that #8 pick he merely got a single. Decent value at #8 but probably never much more than a rotation player in the NBA.

    It is just disappointing because more than half of the people on this website all wanted the same person, and reach or not, Lawson would look awful good in a Knicks uniform right now. Or how about both Lawson and Douglas, we could have 2/3 of a guard rotation locked up for the next 10 years.

  60. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    The problem with Walsh and D’antoni is that their personnel decisions have often conflicted with the analytical outlook, which makes one believe that they rely far too much on traditional methods of valuation. These methods are not the way that multi-million dollar businesses should be run.

    To reiterate what has been discussed at length:

    Blair and Lawson were the best possible picks for the Knicks, given their immediate need at an up-tempo PG and the impending need for a rebounding PF; Walsh and D’antoni drafted Hill, despite his questionable projections, and Douglas, despite his age (two years Lawson’s senior, I believe). The frustration that arises from the Hill pick is that his description as a “project player” suggests that the ego of the coach/scout overrides the data analysis of the numbers-cruncher, and this is the kind of behavior that puts franchises in an unfavorable position; in our case, we’ve suffered through ten years of near-unwatchable basketball, and that’s far too long.

    The fact remains that the same principle that applies to the drunken, slovenly girl your buddy just started dating applies to the young NBA player: what you see is what you’ll get, and odds are, nothing’s going to change that. Through the correct appropriation of college statistics we can get a good idea of whether a player will be successful in the NBA. Blair and Lawson earned top marks across the board, and have met expectations. We’ve already traded away the #8 pick in last year’s draft, and the other player has sat behind Chris “NYC’s #1 Club Promoter” Duhon for most of the season. L

    If not for the enormous market (17M strong) and almost-undeserved stigma of New York Knickerbocker basketball, the Knicks would likely be a failed franchise in every sense (hello, Detroit Lions). It’s my belief that Walsh and D’antoni currently riding the wave afforded by a historically-abysmal executive/coach, and soon, that wave is going to level out unless luck (Team USA conspiracies) or intelligence (trusting data analysis) take hold. I pray that it’s the former, but the latter is preferable in most ways to the hubris of the eyewitness’s prediction.

  61. BigBlueAL

    I dunno how in the hell the Knicks couldve hit a “HR” with the 8th pick considering this whole draft has been pretty average to be fair. The 2 best players of this draft and the leading candidates for ROY (besides the god-awfully overrated Brandon Jennings) are Tyreke Evans and Steph Curry, both of whom were drafted before the Knicks pick and both of whom Walsh has gone on the record as saying were the Knicks top choices for this draft along with Rubio who also got drafted before the Knicks pick as well.

    I dunno of everyone hasnt been watching lately but Toney Douglas has proven to be a pretty damn good draft pick especially for being as late a pick in the 1st round as he was. You are telling me you still would rather have Blair and his ticking time bomb knees over TD right now???? BTW Lawson hasnt played since the end of February because of injury which was a huge question mark about him going into the draft.

  62. Ted Nelson

    My points are just:

    1. Hill is not terrible. He didn’t save the franchise as the #8 pick and that stinks, but he’s doing alright for a rookie. The consensus on this board seems to be: Wilson Chandler is the man just give him till his 4th full NBA season to prove it, and Hill is terrible and Walsh should be fired for even considering drafting that scumbag.

    As rookies: http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/pcm_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=1&p1=hilljo01&y1=2010&p2=chandwi01&y2=2008

    To date: http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/pcm_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=1&p1=chandwi01&y1=2010&p2=hilljo01&y2=2010

    b. Walsh has decades of success on his side, but often gets thrown under the bus. D’Antoni won a lot of games with one immensely talented team, but is often praised to the point of insulting anyone who dares to question his “authoritay.” Walsh’s track record does not mean he will succeed in NY, but it does mean that he’s one of the elite execs of the past 2 decades. D’Antoni just isn’t in the same class among coaches yet.

    “My biggest criticism with Walsh as a drafter is he tends to always play it safe.”

    I’m not sure this is true. Jonathan Bender, Al Harrington, Fred Jones, Danilo Gallinari… not “safe” picks. Especially since established vet Antonio Davis was traded to acquire the Bender pick. It’s not the draft, but trading Dale Davis coming off an All-Star season for a young guy who had never played wasn’t safe. Trading Jalen Rose for a nut job and a “stiff” undrafted center wasn’t safe.

    “Lawson would look awful good in a Knicks uniform right now.”

    I agree, and I liked him an awful lot before the draft, too. I still don’t think:
    a. it’s 100% clear he’ll be a better pro than Hill, probably 80% clear but they’re both rookies and Hill MAY NOT be TOO far behind: http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/pcm_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=1&p1=lawsoty01&y1=2010&p2=hilljo01&y2=2010 Maybe Lawson continues to improve and Hill IS a bum, but the rookie difference isn’t THAT great that it couldn’t be overcome as early as next season if Hill does improve and Lawson has a sophomore slump. That’s not to say I wouldn’t rather have Lawson, because I would.
    b. it’s entirely clear D’Antoni wouldn’t have not played Lawson. Hey, there was Nate, and you know… Duhon and Hughes… and ….. Sort of the same way he explained away not playing Hill. We had Lee… and Harrington…. and I tried to play Darko for two games…. and there was Jeffries… I saw no reason to play Hill over Jeffries because he was so awesome.
    c. it’s sure that Walsh wouldn’t have traded a better rookie for cap space just like he did Hill.

  63. Ted Nelson

    THCJ,

    If you draft two good players, it’s hard to be TOO critical. At the end of the day you might be able to say they could have done a better job, but the Detroit Lions… How often in the last decade have they gotten 2 legit starters in one draft? And they play in a sport where there are over 4 times as many starters per team. Neither Hill nor Douglas has proven to be a legit starter yet, but both have a good chance.

    Blair and Lawson are having better rookie seasons (overall and on a per minute basis) than Hill and Douglas, but they’re not light-years ahead: http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/pcm_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=1&p1=lawsoty01&y1=2010&p2=blairde01&y2=2010&p3=hilljo01&y3=2010&p4=douglto01&y4=2010

    BBA,

    I agree with your comment, but I think that draft is way underrated. I guess average might be fair (I’m really not sure and haven’t analyzed it in depth enough to say either way), but it was billed as the worst draft of all time which I really disagreed with. I think that throws off the whole discussion in all sorts of ways (maybe more on my side than yours, but who knows).

  64. BigBlueAL

    Yeah its not a horrible draft at all but Im not sure how many, if any, truly great players are on this draft. Alot of nice starters/role players which is why I said average since to me for a draft to be great or better there has to be a few All-Star caliber players which Im not sure if there are yet (of course Blake Griffin being out the entire season is a big factor along with Rubio not playing).

    I totally agree with your praise of Walsh and his track record, I of course remember his Pacer teams of the mid 90-s to 2000 and was very impressed with the 2004 Pacers team, unfortunately the brawl in Detroit basically ended that team’s run which was sad since that team couldve very easily made it to the Finals in 2005. Of course I think you are a bit way too critical of D’Antoni and dont give him enough credit for what he did with the Suns because he was basically the 1st coach in the NBA to get back to playing an offensive system and totally move away from the NBA of the mid 90′s to early 2000′s.

    But like I said if this team struggles next season (even if they dont get Lebron I fully expect for them to at least put a team together talent wise that should be good enough to win close to 50 games and fight for a Top 4-5 playoff seed) than it is totally open season on D’Antoni and cries for him being fired would be totally justified.

  65. Ted Nelson

    BBA,

    Yeah, I just react strongly to any critique of the 2009 draft since it was so stigmatized. That’s what I meant by “(maybe more on my side than yours, but who knows)”
    Agree that having two of the top 5 picks not play their rookie seasons makes it hard to judge, not to mention that any draft is hard to judge after one season. Could be better than a much more hyped 2008 draft.

    I think D’Antoni is a good NBA coach. I’m reacting to the praise he gets and the constant questioning of Walsh’s ability. Still, D’Antoni won over a short time frame with a team that kept it’s core largely in tact and hasn’t proven to be able to effectively adapt his system at all yet (Denver, Shaq, NY…). I think any praise of D’Antoni can only go so far.

    “1st coach in the NBA to get back to playing an offensive system and totally move away from the NBA of the mid 90’s to early 2000’s.”

    I don’t think this is fair. Geoff Petrie had the Kings built around offense (Adelman as coach) starting in the late 90s. Don and Donnie Nelson were doing the same for Mark Cuban in Dallas around the same time. George Karl had coached some relatively fast paced offensive teams in Seattle during the deadball 90s and was bringing that style to the Bucks in the late 90s. D’Antoni didn’t have a full season in Phoenix until 04-05. Generally, I think the NBA was going in that direction as evidenced by rule changes.
    Bryan Colangelo also deserves as much credit as D’Antoni, if not more. How dumb would it be to hire Jeff Van Gundy or Scott Skiles to coach a team with a core of Amare, Marion, and Joe Johnson that was signing Nash and Q Richardson as free agents??? Some people might have done it, but it would be stupid. Colangelo had uptempo offensive talent and hired an uptempo offensive assistant who he then promoted to head coach. Maybe Colangelo got a bit lucky with the way things turned out, but my point is just that D’Antoni might have simply been in the right place at the right time in Phoenix. Replace him with Adelman, Don Nelson, George Karl, Eddie Jordan, etc. and the results might have been just as good or better.
    On the other hand, how many NBA decision makers can claim as good a track record as Walsh for as long? He was like the Kobe Bryant of executives in Indiana. D’Antoni is maybe the Amare of coaches at this point, and like Amare we’re waiting to see what he can do without Steve Nash.

  66. supernova

    In regards to Hill I earlier said that he could turn out to be a solid player. It is entirely way too soon to make any judgment on this guy. Calling him “terrible” as someone did earlier I think is simply out of line. The guy simply has not had enough minutes yet for any of us to evaluate whether he will evenutally be good or not. He had so little playing time in NY, but slowly seems to be getting slightly better numbers as he gets regular playing time.

    As for drafting either Blair or Lawson, over Hill, well IMHO that seems to be a bit of hindsight at this point. Based on everything I read at the time, Hill was probably the best available player available on the board at that time. Yes, he was considered raw, but basically the so called experts said he had a huge amount of upside potential. From what I have seen from him, I would still agree with that assessment. Yes, in hindsight, it would seem that Lawson would have been a better fit for this team, and maybe Walsh could have traded down to get him, but drafting Lawson at #8 would not have made sense. At the time Hill was rated much more highly.

  67. Brian Cronin

    As for drafting either Blair or Lawson, over Hill, well IMHO that seems to be a bit of hindsight at this point.

    You should have been here for draft night. ;)

  68. Frank

    I also have no patience for people who are bashing Donnie right now. Sure, the team is horrible right now. Sure, maybe Lawson would have been a good pick. But for pete’s sake, look at what he’s done here!

    - In two years he has taken us from salary cap hell to the most cap room in the NBA, all without giving up SIGNIFICANT long-term value (ie he kept Gallo and Chandler).
    - He drafted Gallinari, who shows glimpses of being a Nowitzki-type talent.
    - He spent nothing but Dolan dollars to get Toney Douglas, who looks like a plus defender and at the very least an average combo-type guard on offense. You CANNOT expect anything more out of the #27 pick (you can hope but not expect).
    - He traded for low-risk possibly high-reward players like Bill Walker, Giddens, and S-Rod.
    - He hired D’Antoni, who despite the last 2 years, is highly respected by the player royalty around the league, making it more likely that we will, indeed, be able to sign players like Lebron/Wade/Bosh.

    The cost?
    - A mediocre-to-serviceable big man (Hill).
    - A pretty good but overpaid defender who is not part of the long-term plan (Jefferies)
    - crowd favorite, my wife’s favorite player, but not-part-of-long-term-plan Nate Robinson
    - swappage of late-lottery to late-teens draft picks in 2011
    - a 2012 1st round pick
    - two seasons of suckage instead of two seasons of mediocre-no-chance-of-contention-plus-salary-cap-hell-forever. That’s a wash as far as I’m concerned.

    So seriously people, let’s give Donnie a break. He easily deserves an A for his job here. I would’ve liked Lawson also – if he had done that, then he would get an A+ (although we probably would not have room for 2 max FA at this point). Re: Blair – he looks like a nice player, has nice per-36 numbers. But for an inside player he has a relatively average TS (55.6), has a significantly negative +/- (despite being on the floor with Duncan most of the time), and has a TO rate in the Eddy Curry range. Not to mention that his legs may fall off tomorrow.

    And Re: D’Antoni — IMO there are two types of good coaches in this league: those who get the absolute most out of no talent (Scott Skiles, for instance), and those who take a good team and make it great (ie. Phil Jackson). He definitely is NOT in the Skiles group, and possibly is in the Jackson group. Losing to the Spurs dynasty is no indictment of his coaching style or skill, especially since it basically happened because of Horry’s mugging of Nash. So I’ll reserve judgment on him until we are, at the very least equally talented as the team we’re playing any given night.

  69. Nick C.

    Frank, what do you expect, a lot of people on this board were calling for Walsh’s head, questioning his wisdom or even comparing him unfavorably with Isiah after the Balkman trade which was months at most into his tenure. LOL

  70. Ben R

    Frank – Im not a Walsh basher, but I don’t think he is doing a great job. He has been okay.

    He has gotten us cap room but in his desire to get two players he wanted in Harrington and McGrady two of the cap clearing trades were not optimized. I think we could have moved Jeffries for alot less than what we paid to move him if we had not cared about who the expiring contract was. I also think Crawford could have gotten us a long term asset (late first, young player) had we traded him for a poor player with an expiring contract rather than Harrington.

    His draft record so far is also okay; Gallo is a good pick (though the consensus pick when Walsh picked him) and Douglas seems to be a great one (considering when they were picked) but Hill was a poor one.

    He also has a number moves he failed to do that has hurt the team; He failed to lock up Lee long term last summer which has cost the team millions if they do resign him this year. Or if he has no intention of keeping Lee they failed to maximize his value by trading him before last summer. He also failed to get any value for Harrington since it is clear he won’t be back next year.

    My big concern with Walsh is that he has not shown he puts enough stock in advanced statisitics. I think the best GM’s seem to take more of a moneyball approach and anyone with that approach would have seen McGrady as a bad player, Hill as a reach at #8 and Lee as a necessity to lock up long term.

  71. Ted Nelson

    Ben R,

    I don’t know what grade I would give Walsh–certainly I don’t think he’s done a perfect job (though I will if LeBron signs with the Knicks)–but I don’t completely agree with your take.

    Crawford was traded a few months later and all GS got was two bad players with contracts that expire at the same time as Harrington’s: Speedy Claxton (who has played 44 games in 4 seasons) and Acie Law. Harrington looks like a GREAT haul next to that. If nothing else maybe he could have been traded for a long-term asset before this deadline, as you yourself point out.
    The problem with the Knicks taking on any kind of long-term asset at the time of the Crawford-Harrington deal is that every dollar counted. They still weren’t where they needed to be under the cap.
    Finally on that deal, Walsh has stated that his goal was to get under in 2010 while being as competitive as possible in the meantime. Harrington was a decent option in that regard. He’s been a strong rotation player for the Knicks. On that goal overall, of course, Walsh has largely failed and the Knicks have mostly stunk.

    T-Mac I really have no idea. That was a high price to pay, definitely. Was there another Jeffries offer out there? I have no idea. I never heard any rumors, for whatever that’s worth. Jeffries is not exactly a desirable contract.

    Gallo was only the consensus pick because of his link to D’Antoni. That’s why he was going to the Knicks in so many mock drafts.

    How can you evaluate Jordan Hill’s career before his rookie season ends?

    “He failed to lock up Lee long term last summer which has cost the team millions if they do resign him this year. Or if he has no intention of keeping Lee they failed to maximize his value by trading him before last summer.”

    I would assume, for what my assumptions are worth, that Walsh is taking a wait and see approach on Lee. I think that is BY FAR the best way to play it. Is paying 1-4 more million per year to Lee such a high price that you’d sacrifice a shot at LeBron? A shot at LeBron and Wade? I think this is the only way to go. See what LeBron and the other top free agents are thinking once their contracts end, Lee being one of those top free agents.

    “He also failed to get any value for Harrington since it is clear he won’t be back next year.”

    I think that’s fair. I would have traded Harrington if anything decent was on the table. The only possible justification I can give is that Walsh may have alienated D’Antoni by giving away a player he liked and making him feel like he wasn’t really trying to win now, but even if that’s the case I don’t really agree myself.

    “My big concern with Walsh is that he has not shown he puts enough stock in advanced statisitics.”

    This is definitely a concern for me. I don’t think it’s a necessity, but I agree that it’s stupid not to take advantage of all available information when making multi-million dollar investments. If he gets LeBron I’m really not worried, but if not then I’m more worried.

  72. Ben R

    Ted – I think most of your points are completely fair. First off if Walsh gets LeBron all other sins are erased. But I think he could have done a better job so far, and he has not given me confidence that all will be well if we miss on LeBron and Wade.

    Your assessment of the Harrington trade is fair. It might have been wishful thinking that we could have gotten an asset out of Crawford. But on the McGrady trade it sure seemed like Walsh zeroed in on McGrady and then overpaid because he wanted him. History has shown that moving a midsized contract with one extra year for an expiring costs about one late lottery or two late 1st round picks. Hill was a #8 pick so he alone should have been enough. Also Jeffries is not a useless player and is only making a couple million more than his actual value so as long as the expiring contract was a useless player we might have even had to pay less, like just the 2012 pick.

    As for Hill I am not hopeful. The knock on him coming out of college is he was an inefficient player and so far in the NBA he is just that. He is not a young rookie so his potential for growth is limited and unlike Douglas, Blair, Lawson or many other rookies he has not shown me the glimse of potential to be anything more than a rotation player at best and I think a top ten pick needs to be more than that, plus his work ethic has been criticized at both places so far.

    I would also say that passing up on Lee is looking pretty bad at this point. 2-3 million per is the difference between a good contract and a bad one. We probably could have gotten Lee for a contract starting at 7-8 million, now I would be shocked if his contract starts at any less than 10 and would not be surpirsed if it starts closer to 12.

    If Walsh wanted the space he could have traded Lee at the beginning of summer. If he was making 8 million on a five year contract we could trade him for space in a second and probably get an asset in the process. A good player on a good contract is never a bad thing and passing on it so we can have lots of cap room is an unnecessary gamble.

    Walsh has not been bad but I would give him probably a C+.

  73. Ted Nelson

    I agree on the McGrady deal, though I don’t know Walsh’s motivations. Morey might have known that Walsh had no other prospective trade partners and was pretty screwed. Maybe Walsh could have called up his buddy Kahn to at least float a rumor that he wanted Jeffries…
    I think Jeffries is largely useless. He’s a versatile defender and knows the game, but he’s miserably bad offensively. You can get better wing defenders who at least don’t suck offensively for minimum deals most years.
    One issue is that the Knicks devalued Hill as a lottery pick by never playing him and letting negative rumors about D’Antoni’s dislike for him and questioning his work ethic slip. If they had leaked rumors that he was really amazing but just needed some time to develop… If they had played him and used him effectively… maybe they don’t have to give up so much. Then again Jeffries was his direct competition for minutes, and I have no idea whose value it helped them more to raise. If they never raised Jeffries’ value maybe Houston never considers that deal.

    Hill has played so few NBA minutes that it’s really hard to say what he is or isn’t. His TS% literally jumped by 9 basis points based on one game.
    He’s shown me quite a few glimpses, however fleeting. His jumper is smooth, though woefully ineffective. He finishes pretty well at times, though horrible sometimes too. He’s athletic. I’ve seen good flashes and some horrible flashes. With only 432 minutes under his belt it’s hard to say which will win out. The work ethic is a worry.
    22 is not that old. Plenty of guys improve into their mid-20s, David Lee being a prime example (again work ethic is a worry). His upside is not what it would be if he was 19, but that’s purely theoretical upside. You could look at when he picked up the game and his questionable work ethic and either say a. he’s the next Jerome James or b. he’s learning the game and hasn’t matured enough yet to have a strong enough work ethic… once he develops and matures mentally, watch out. There’s a bell curve a player’s career will follow on average, sure, but that tells you next to nothing about any given player.

    Again, I don’t think 2-3 mill per year is worth handcuffing yourself in the chase of the guy I think will retire as the GOAT. I would be shocked if Lee’s contract starts at $12 mill and increases annually from there. More likely it will start at $8-10 mill and end up with an average annual salary of $10-12 mill. Locking up Lee would look a lot better now IF he still proceeded to have yet another break out season. Still, given what he knew at the time I think Walsh made the right decision. If some team had made Lee an offer, he would have had a different and tougher decision to make. Worst case it’s a timing problem, and I find it hard to blame an NBA decision maker for not being able to look into the future. Sometimes it looks like they can, but I think that what looks like incredible timing can sometimes also be luck.

    I would probably give him a B/B+. He’s cleared the cap for the biggest FA year ever. I don’t know if I would have gone that route or not, but he choose it and went all in. He’s also added/retained some young talent along the way.

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