The Knicks Should Take a Risk

 

The New York Knicks are in a difficult situation going forward. Yes, they have cap space coming available this summer, but they also need to reshape a large chunk of their rotation.

Working under the presumption Carmelo Anthony isn’t going to be traded, he’s literally the only player you can consider a lock to be on the team past the 2014-2015 season.

Tim Hardaway Jr. and Jose Calderon are expected to be. Timmy because he is still on his rookie contract through 2016-2017 and Calderon is locked in through that same season at over $7 million per year. Amar’e Stoudemire, Andrea Bargnani, Samuel Dalembert, Jason Smith, Shane Larkin and Cole Aldrich are all on expiring contracts and presumably gone. Iman Shumpert, Quincy Acy and Travis Wear are restricted free agents. J.R. Smith has a player option and Pablo Prigioni has an unguaranteed contract year. The other two players most likely to be around are second-round picks Cleanthony Early and Thanasis Antetokounmpo.

When you add in their 2015 first round pick, president of basketball operations Phil Jackson will realistically need to fill four to nine roster spots next season. It probably will end up falling somewhere in the middle of the two.

Given this information, it’s logical that the Knicks should try to find more players they would want to keep in the long term. New York’s path to contention is more than a one-offseason rehabilitation project and no matter who is back an influx of talent is necessary. Both sides of the ball must improve, the defense is horrendous, but the offense is entirely reliant on Anthony.

With Melo on the floor they average 104.3 points per 100 possessions. With him off that drops to 94.9. The problem has been trending in the wrong direction for two years. In 12-13 the ORtg dropped by five points, but that was from 110.5 to 105.3. The 105.3 mark with Anthony sitting would have ranked as the ninth most efficient offense that season. In 13-14 it also dropped five points – the difference was a 101.3 mark with Melo off the floor ranked in the bottom third of the league.

The pattern shows how the Knicks supporting cast has been getting worse and worse. This is the reason I endorse the Knicks looking into the trade market and taking a risk on Cavaliers guard Dion Waiters or Hornets guard Lance Stephenson.

As a side note there are other players I’d target before these two, but these are realistic options based on their standing with their organizations. Taking a run at Terrence Jones would be fantastic now that the Rockets have signed Josh Smith — I don’t think the Knicks have the assets to make something like that happen.

I don’t even know if New York has enough to pull off getting Stephenson or Waiters, but anyone not named Melo you could put on the table and come out on the right side of a deal.

Despite a very popular anti Waiters and Stephenson culture that exists here is a list explaining why it makes sense for the Knicks to take a risk on either player.

  1. Stephenson is 24 and Waiters is 23. If the Knicks traded for one of them they would immediately become the second most skilled player on the roster. A sad but true statement.
  1. According to NBA.com New York averages the least amount drives in the league at 13.3 per game and the least amount of points generated by drives per 48 minutes at 7.1. In 32 minutes a game Lance averages 5.0 drives per game this season.  In only 22.8 minutes per game Dion Waiters averages 4.2 drives per game. Last season when Waiters was on a less talented team he averaged 7.4 drives per game in 29.9 minutes. This is an offensive skill New York desperately needs from its two-guard position with Calderon being more of a spot-up shooting complement.
  1. You’re buying low. People always want to trade for players playing well, but acquiring someone at their low-point can be beneficial because they cost less. Stephenson and Waiters are both better than what they’ve been this year and have the chance to grow into more. Reflect back to reason #1 — 24 and 23 years old. These are the type of players you want to give a shot despite their flaws.
  1. As was already established the Knicks aren’t competing for a championship next year, but obviously you would like them to go from dismal to in the mix for a playoff spot as a part of the lowly Eastern Conference. This still gives you some room for experimentation. Neither Stephenson nor Waiters are inhibiting other improvements to your roster short or long term. Both would essentially be a one-year tryout. Waiters is signed for slightly over $5-million next season before hitting restricted free agency, while Stephenson gets paid $9-million in 15-16 and it’s a team-option in 16-17.
  1. It’s time to stop trying to build the roster around signing max players. For once be realistic about what your options are. There’s no reason to save money for Marc Gasol this summer or Kevin Durant next because the Knicks aren’t going to get either player. Don’t do the Stoudemire thing all over again and learn from your mistakes. If the idea here is to build around Melo strive to accentuate what he does well and cover up the holes in his game. A roster is obviously always fluid, but attempt to acquire targets with the idea they will be with the franchise for a long time. Create an atmosphere that puts players in a position to succeed and not fail. This is an area the Knicks have failed in miserably through the years and it continues to this day.

It was by accident, but the 12-13 Knicks ended up being good because they were a team of parts that made sense with each other. It’s getting harder and harder to just throw together talent and have it be successful as we’re seeing with the Cavaliers, Suns, Pelicans and Nuggets. When you have the Warriors, Grizzlies, Spurs, Thunder, Clippers, Rockets, Trail Blazers, Bulls, Raptors and Hawks – that not only have talent, but are conceptually fluid throughout the organization and on the court – it takes a lot of facets in sync to compete.

Think what the Wizards were able to do when they traded for Trevor Ariza and Emeka Okafor that was widely criticized at the time. That move helped them establish a culture moving the organization in the right direction. This is the point where the Knicks are at. They are not a one-player signing, quick fix away. While the Wizards needed to create stability and a positive environment for John Wall, New York flat-out needs players who can potentially be really good at basketball. That sounds ridiculous and simplistic yet it’s factually accurate.

Stephenson and Waiters clearly have issues they need to overcome. The Knicks are in a position where they need to be searching out for talent wherever they can get it. These are two potential options that could pay off huge in the long run and if they don’t work out avoid decimating the franchise like other prior risks.

This isn’t crushing your future trading for Eddy Curry or signing your franchise over to the bad knees of Amar’e Stoudemire. What I’m talking about here is trying to create a low-risk, high-reward situation – there’s the potential to find a long-term, young, building block they will have a difficult time seeking out from other avenues.

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bgibberman

Representing all Knicks fans of Arizona. This is unfortunate for all of them. Unabashed lover of J.R. Smith.

108 thoughts to “The Knicks Should Take a Risk”

  1. I agree they should take risks. But there are also risks they can take that don’t involve controversial personalities. They can trade for young, unproven players that might get much better. One could argue that they did that with Quincy Acy. I’m sure there are other Quincy Acy’s out there.. This would involve developing talent rather than trading or hiring it. The Knicks havent shown any signs of doing this in the past, but getting rid of Outlaw for Wear was a good sign. Maybe this management team will be different from the past ones.

  2. I say we just go full European. We all love our Euro players. They hustle, pass, shoot and are downright lovable. I cannot watch american me first egos anymore. ( the above statement was made for the 98.3 percent of euros. the outstanding 1.7 percent is the only euro who isnt good and is already on our team)

  3. Dion Waiters and Lance Stephenson?
    I’m guessing you don’t watch a lot of knicks games, and don’t want anyone else to either.

  4. The only thing that’s going to fix this team is trading Melo……end of story.

    You can’t build a serious contender around a max player that is more or less average at every skill other than holding the ball, killing the clock, and creating bad shots for himself that he makes just often enough to make people like Wally Szcerbiak think he’s a superstar.

    I’m not even sure what I find more annoying at this point, watching Melo play and thinking about how much trading for him has screwed up this franchise or listening to Hahn and Szcerbiak be wrong almost every time they open their mouths on any subject including Melo. I can’t even watch the halftime and post game shows anymore.

    There is no reasonable path from where we are to where we want to go unless Melo is gone or we get incredibly lucky with multiple draft picks. Other than that, we should shut Melo down, let him get surgery, tank the season, pray we get a great player in the draft, and only add quality players and personalities at reasonable prices in the offseason.

  5. I’m definitely in the trade Melo camp. It’s become clear that we’re significantly further from contention than was generally believed when the decision to resign Melo was made. We’re at the point where realistically I can’t see us being a serious contender during the Melo deal under even the most flattering of circumstances. Even if we somehow hit a homerun in the draft, and did great on the type of high-risk/high-reward trade described, and made the best moves in free agency that will realistically be open to us (meaning that I’m not including Durant coming here as a possibility, since it doesn’t seem to be), I still don’t think that moves the needle enough for us to get ourselves in the elite championship contender group. Now maybe that’s overly pessimistic; after all, these things are hard to predict – sometimes a team blossoms into a contender unexpectedly, we did win 56 games two years ago, and being in the East helps, but I really don’t see it.

    All of which is another way of saying that the risk described in the article isn’t big enough. The Knicks need to take the risk of completely tearing it down. It may not work, heck it probably won’t work (cue THCJ with his article about how tanking doesn’t work) but it is the biggest risk we can take and has the corresponding highest reward. Trade Melo, restock the cupboard with draft picks and young players and go through a normal rebuilding cycle.

    We’re the worst team in the league, and there’s only really a couple young guys (including Larkin who we can’t even keep) getting significant minutes. The state of the roster is truly terrifying – in terms of a combination of current productivity and future potential it’s probably the worst in the league, indisputably bottom-3. Any plan that’s trying to get from here to contention in the next 3 years is delusional in my opinion. And that’s Melo’s time frame even if we’re generous about the state of his health.

  6. I’m actually in agreement with your reasonable, cogent take, tsam.

    The reason for that agreement is that tanking is a far superior strategy than what the Knicks have done for the last fifteen years. If Carmelo yields a pair of firsts and some awful contracts, you take it, because even the scratch-off tickets that are NBA draft picks are more valuable than Carmelo Anthony, who can no longer be evaluated as anything above an average NBA player. (Note that when the Knicks lose their three-year WP leader, they become a high lottery team. Coincidence?)

    The Sixers need to trade MCW for a decent PG and pray that Embiid is as good as his projections say he could be. That’s a much better outlook than “come join a 5-and-30 team to play with the great Carmelo!”

    Blow it up and give us some hope, I say. Just keep Cole around at $1M a year.

  7. To get to the next level, Cole needs to develop a reliable shot from 3-5′ from the rim. A change of form, something different than the short jump hook that he relies on now. He has trouble controlling his touch with it. He needs a shot that will give him more “feel”, or possibly something off the glass. Maybe he needs simply to modify his form with the short jump hook.
    Considering his ability to get offensive rebounds, as a reliable mop up guy on misses, his value would soar.
    If I was him, I’d watch four hours of Tim Duncan on Youtube everyday.

  8. I don’t agree with every word. From the stats above, the Knicks offense is consistently 5 points better with Melo on the floor. Of course, their defense might be worse with him on the floor, but I doubt it’s five points worse with him on the floor. Also, we probably can’t tank as well as the Seventy-sixers have done because we have a much worse base of draft picks to start with. So we will be really bad, probably worse than we are now (although I agree that’s hard to do), but always behind Philadelphia if we trade Melo for picks. I’d rather have a reasonable team to watch, even if it isn’t a top flight contender, than put up with a run of several something like 20 win seasons.

    Of course we need to get more young talent on the team, but that’s not the same as a fire sale on Melo. The current management so far seems to be trying to get and develop young talent. Young inexperienced players on the the Knicks this year are getting much more playing time than they did under previous management and this was true even before injuries forced the Knicks to play anyone healthy. They should keep doing that. I still hold to my prediction that around January 10th they will start to get better results.

  9. I’m all about shutting Melo down and getting that knee taken care of. I’m not about trading him. There aren’t players that we can replace him. This coming draft doesn’t seem strong.

    I don’t want to see Early activated to play on this team.
    I don’t want to see Thanasis A. brought up from the D-league.
    I want Cole to keep playing and then get re-upped for next year.

    I would trade almost anyone else for a pick.

  10. There is no player that can come to this team and play at an elite level along side Melo. Whether it’s conscious, or subconscious, his domination of the ball, and volume of shots, will simply limit anyone from getting an opportunity to shine. Or, it would become an internal competition of high volume hero ball.
    As prolific a scorer as Melo is, his high volume/low efficiency shooting, along with lack of team leadership, will never amount to more than a low seed playoff berth and quick elimination in post season play.
    If it hasn’t already, at some point that will become PJ’s goal, just cnough to keep his legacy untarnished.

  11. #14. Hoolahoop i Disagree. I see the Melo situation as the Pierce Celtic one back in 08.
    Pierce was similer age as melo and coming off some aweful years with aweful teamates.
    He was then giftwrapped Garnett and Allen. Garnett immidiatly changed PPs culture and hunger on the defensive end.
    We have seen Melo play at his best with veteran leadership around him in Kidd , Chandler etc.. even if it was for one season.
    Now is the hard part, finding the 2015 versions of Garnett and Allen.

  12. I’m all about shutting Melo down and getting that knee taken care of. I’m not about trading him. There aren’t players that we can replace him. This coming draft doesn’t seem strong.

    The thing is, regardless of whether we trade Melo or not, we’re going to need to replace him. It’s not like Melo is just going to stick around forever. He’s 30 now. He has played 30,000 regular season minutes (already in the top-150 all time). He’s having knee issues, and the fact that the Knicks aren’t shutting him down is very concerning to me, not just because it’s stupid since we want to lose games, but because it seems to suggest they’re the kind of knee issues that can’t be fixed through treatment or surgery, they’re just something he has to deal with.

    It’s possible that Melo will have a long slow decline and that he will still be nearly as productive as he is now 4 years from now. But I don’t think it’s what’s likely to happen. It seems like the most likely trajectory is that Melo has only a couple more years at best at something approaching his peak before he succumbs severely to age and injury related decline. Hell, it’s possible that we’re witnessing the beginnings of that decline already.

    That means that by the time the Knicks are ready to be good again they won’t have “Melo” anyway. If we’re too stubborn to trade him now we may still Carmelo Anthony – aging millstone contract tied to a guy who can still light it up now and then, but who has lost a step he didn’t have to spare on defense and isn’t quite the tough-shotmaker on offense he was in his prime – but he won’t be the Melo you’re thinking of. That guy will in all likelihood be gone.

  13. I’ll say it again: Melo for Lin, Nash and a 2017 first round pick (plus a pair of second rounders). I’m not saying that Melo is the reason why we’re losing, but I see him as one of the reasons we won’t build anything resembling a contender in the next two to three years.

    Melo makes no sense here past this year. He got the money. Now, if he wants to get to winning, as he says so much, it’s time to go somewhere else where he can be the second/third best player and win something (not the Lakers, though – cough, cough).

    I want to be able to dream again. This season has sucked every last drop of optimism out of me for the foreseeable future.

  14. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that Melo is bad value on a mega-max contract that runs for another billion years. That contract is becoming more and more of an unmovable object by the day. A max contract for a one-way player who adds nothing of value other than his mediocre efficiency high volume scoring is a terrible, awful investment. It’d be great if Melo could be moved even for pennies on the dollar, but I’m afraid we’re probably stuck with the rest of his albatross contract. There are lots of people here saying “Melo’s perceived value is high” but I’m not so sure about that.

  15. Does anyone really foresee anything other than Melo being run into the ground by the time any draft picks materialize? As it is every third postgame or article mentions, him wanting to play in the All Star game in NYC and, as such, not shut it down. With Melo I get the distinct impression that the cart is driving the horse.

  16. I don’t think Kyrie is the problem there – I actually think he has done a nice job of adjusting to a secondary sort of role. I think the other 2 of the big 3 are bigger concerns. Love just hasn’t played well. Some of that is trying to find his way I’m sure. But he also just isn’t being as effective as in the past on things that don’t seem related to fit i.e., missing open shots.

    The bigger issues in my opinion are with Lebron. They have basically gone completely away from the changes he made to his game in Miami and completely reverted to Cleveland Lebron. They don’t use him off the ball really at all, and they don’t use him in the post whatsoever, it’s all high pick and rolls with Lebron playing the point guard role basically. He’s obviously good at that, but not as good as he once was due to a loss of quickness and ability to finish at the rim in traffic. It’s hard to know whether the blame for that is with Blatt or Lebron, but my instinct is Lebron. I think he has always fancied himself as a PG and really likes playing that way. Plus he just isn’t defending and his open indifference on that end of the court has been a big part of the bad body language issues they have.

    I worry that they’re dealing with an inmates running the asylum situation there. Lebron was infamous for having almost complete control before he left, and because he had all the leverage in deciding to come back I think he has basically retaken that role. I worry that firing Blatt will only reenforce that behavior when it seems like what Lebron actually needs is a strong voice to get his ass back in gear (I think leaving the Riley/Spo partnership behind may end up being a significant blunder).

  17. Adding Dion Waiters to this dumpster fire would be a classically Knicksy move. Waiters may be very skilled at some things, but he’s not very skilled at putting the ball in the net. And his TS hasn’t improved after 3 years in the league. It didnt improve while the team around him got much better. And I can’t think of any reason it would improve drastically on the Knicks. He was a bad draft pick who is blossoming into a bad basketball player. We need to stay the fuck away from players like Dion.

  18. Josh Smith would have been another “buy low” candidate, and fortunately Phil wanted nothing to do with that mess. Re: Lance – word from the Pacers camp is that none of the players want Lance back. Are they all a-holes, or is Lance just a terrible teammate? A big NO to him (and also Waiters)

  19. The Cavs are kind of “meh” because they don’t defend. Kyrie is about as effective a defender as Jose Calderon, Kevin Love has always been a poor defender, Shawn Marion is old and even LeBron has lost a step. They allow a high eFG% and even with Kevin Love they’re an average rebounding team.

    Not enough two-way players over there.

  20. Resident Melo fanboy here. I don’t understand the need to trade Melo. Can we actually see what happens in FA and the draft picks first? We’ve seen for years when there are good players around Melo he wins. If he is shut down after all star he should be fresh for next year and if jax does his job there should be a mix of vets and youth to surround him.

  21. Melo is the most underated player In the nba

    It’s like that scene in the Princess Bride with Patinkin and Shawn.

  22. Resident Melo fanboy here. I don’t understand the need to trade Melo. Can we actually see what happens in FA and the draft picks first? We’ve seen for years when there are good players around Melo he wins. If he is shut down after all star he should be fresh for next year and if jax does his job there should be a mix of vets and youth to surround him.

    First off, it’s a big “if” as to whether he actually will get shut down after the All-Star break. As others have noted, who is to say that this is even a knee problem that rest will fix?

    But the more important part is less a matter of Melo himself and just his age (and his body type). I think Melo’s game will age well, but it sure as shit doesn’t look like his body will. Remember Charles Barkley during his early 30s (not even his mid 30s, his early 30s)? That’s basically the sort of thing we’re already seeing Melo go through – the constant banging on a body not really built for constant banging.

    In the dream scenario where Jackson hits a home run on the first rounder and adds some amazing free agent in year one (the latter scenario doesn’t even seem particularly likely), the Knicks likely still aren’t a legit contender until year four of Melo’s deal (with an outside shot at year three). So you’re already at the end of the contract that you’re paying this guy mega-max money for. What in the world is the point of that? Paying a guy mega-max money so that maybe you’ll compete for two out of the five years?

    It makes more sense to send him to a team where he can compete for twice as many years of his contract. It’s all about optimizing what you have to work with.

    But don’t worry, it will never actually happen. The Knicks will be tied to Melo for as long as Melo wants to be here, which I suspect will be the rest of his career. I’m pretty sanguine about the whole thing by this point. I’ve followed them through so many shitty awfully planned seasons, six-seven more aren’t too much, I guess.

  23. There’s a difference between risk and suck. Next time you watch Dion Waiters play basketball, think to yourself “Dion Waiters, you risky!” See if it feels right.

  24. @27 I’ve only seen it once but I remembered I loved it. I’ll watch it again and get back to you. :)

    @28

    Yea I mean I wouldn’t mind if they trade him as I said before. But I just think they should give it a shot first, because as we have seen before assets don’t always = winning in the long run

  25. Yea I mean I wouldn’t mind if they trade him as I said before. But I just think they should give it a shot first, because as we have seen before assets don’t always = winning in the long run

    They don’t always mean winning in the long run, but the Knicks have not even tried it in thirty years! Thirty years! And the last time they did try it, it worked! Think about that – the last time they actually tried rebuilding around draft picks, it worked and led to a decade of contention! So their approach is, “Well, we tried that once and it worked. So let’s never try it again.” It’s lunacy!

  26. “And the last time they did try it, it worked!”
    I don’t think that it’s accurate to say that, 30 years ago, they “decided” to build through the draft but rather, they said, “Hey look at that! We won the Ewing lottery! Let’s build around HIM.” If they win the lottery and the guy they get turns out to be Ewing caliber, I think that the Knicks will be more than happy to decide to “build through the draft.”

  27. Heck, before Ewing they had built a very good young team through the draft, a team that fell apart due to drug abuse and injuries, but still a very good young team (there they used multiple high draft picks combined with a big free agent).

  28. assets don’t always = winning in the long run

    Nothing always = winning. Every asset can be viewed as ping pong balls in a lottery. Players decline. Players get hurt. Players struggle to coexist with other players. A title contender is a giant machine of fragile parts.

    The problems with pieces like Melo (and Amar’e and Marbury before him) are…

    1) When they break, they can set your franchise back years. At least if your lottery pick flops, you can opt out of his contract after year two. If Melo’s knee causes him to morph into a $24m/year version of John Salmons, well, the Knicks are screwed through the end of Melo’s deal.

    2) Draft picks that do pan out will give you a much larger net reward. You get them for cheaper than later in their careers and you are virtually guaranteed to get them during their healthiest most productive years thanks to restricted free agency.

    As long as the Knicks plan to keep Anthony, they are under enormous pressure to win now, cornering them from a negotiating standpoint. The reason the Rockets are good now is because of Morey’s willingness to go in any direction that the market dictated. He would trade vets for young assets or trade cap space for picks or trade picks for vets or use cap space on free agents. The only criteria was that he brought in more “ping pong balls” (i.e. odds of being great) than he gave up.

  29. Team-building is a game of resource optimization within a rigidly defined set of constraints (cap rules, player availability). Resource value isn’t fixed, and basketball is additionally fascinating for all of its harder-to-quantify aspects (teamwork, chemistry, system, coaching, etc).

    The Knicks are obviously atrocious today and will be for the rest of this year. It’s not totally grim for the next couple of years, really. With a high lottery pick coming and cap space to spend, things could actually turn around quickly… though it’s at least as likely things will stay bad.

    The main thing is maintaining the ability to continue building a roster through the few methods available for improvement. In other words, avoid bad contracts and don’t sell your picks! Too late for the latter, sadly, but let’s see what the front office does in the offseason. There are *always* undervalued assets, players you don’t expect to break through but suddenly do. I think most would agree that if we had given up that first round pick for Lowry INSTEAD of the Bargage Man (not in addition to) things might look better today. Then again, we might be a low lottery team instead of a high lottery team. As Son of Tastycakes likes to say, “bad luck, good luck, who knows?” If Bargnani taking Melo’s minutes for the rest of the year helps us land the next Patrick Ewing…. (I’ll still be pissed when the Raptors select with our pick next year)

    The Melo contract isn’t so bad for the value of Melo as a player, it’s bad because of the no-trade clause, which takes an asset that could potentially be worth “a couple of lottery picks” or “different useful players”, and turns it into an unmovable albatross. For what it’s worth, my ultimate preference is for the team to trade Melo for picks and youth and start a ground-up, proper rebuild, but I don’t think it will happen.

    Dark days.

  30. Resident Melo fanboy here. I don’t understand the need to trade Melo. Can we actually see what happens in FA and the draft picks first? We’ve seen for years when there are good players around Melo he wins. If he is shut down after all star he should be fresh for next year and if jax does his job there should be a mix of vets and youth to surround him.

    The problem is that there are serious costs associated with waiting to see what happens. First of all, Melo’s value is going to consistently decline from here until the end of his career. That’s a relatively minor concern unless he suffers a severe injury at which point there is literally no going back. If tomorrow it emerges that Melo needs serious knee surgery all of the sudden his value plummets, and you probably can’t trade him for 12 months. Every day you don’t deal him you’re taking that risk. How serious of a risk is that? It’s unclear but Melo’s health hasn’t exactly looked great this year.

    The second factor is that every year you wait to start rebuilding is essentially a year further in the future you’re pushing the completion of the rebuilding cycle. It’s not like two years from now you decide to trade Melo and you just sidestep into the alternate universe where you traded him in December 2014. No, if you trade Melo in December 2016, even if you miraculously get a comparable package of assets to what you could get today, those assets are still going to be a 2018 first round pick instead of a 2016 one (as an example).

    And all of that is so that we can wait and see…what exactly? Even as the resident Melo fanboy do you really think there’s more than a 5% chance they’re a top-2 or 3 seed in the East next year? The year after that? It’s like trying do draw into an inside straight draw. The bad poker player says “You never know what can happen, let me just wait and see, I can always fold after”. The good player folds the hand and plays the next one.

  31. Rebuilding would be alot easier if they had their 2016 1st rd pick. I cant imagine the front office wants to go thru another year like this one when at the end they dont even get their lottery pick. So Im sure they will do everything they can this off-season and during next season to put a team together that competes for a playoff spot even if its only the 8th seed.

  32. @37 who could have thought we would be the #1 seed for a great deal of the 13′ season? It shows that smart vets and players who mesh together and optimize their talent can win. Playing Melo at the 4 with shooters and defenders can yield a successful team.

  33. So in 2013, we gave up our 2016 first round pick to get Andrea Bargnani, probably the worst big man in the NBA, and then refused to part with our 2018 pick to get Kyle Lowry, who is now a top 10 (maybe top 5?) point guard in the NBA.

    The Knicks in a nutshell.

  34. Trading Melo is the smartest long-term move, but it just ain’t happening. You have to build around him with cheap surprises. I would be all for trades this season if anyone wanted our crap parts. Maybe trade Shump (the only guy with any value) for a big, mean pf that can play both ways efficiently, but particularly on defense. I would trade Calderon and JR as fast as possible to get that money off the books and hopefully get some 2nd rounders. I would dump the other Smith and Wear and bring up the Greek. In free agency, I would target an athletic, underachieving pg that is around age 26-27 and hope he’s ready to mature a la Lowry, and for God’s sake, re-sign Cole! I would draft BPA next year (duh) and buyout at least one Euro surprise. That’s really all you can do.

  35. I guess the questions go like this:

    1) the Knicks are facing at least another 1.5 years of not being a top team, so which do you think will on average end up having more value in 2016 — $25m in cap space and 1-2 1st round picks or 32 year old Carmelo Anthony?

    2) The risk of seriously damaging the Knicks’ future is far higher if you keep Melo than if you trade him, so how much does that move the needle?

  36. How would Portland do in the East and how hard would it be for the knicks to build a similar team? Dragic and Matthews are FAs that could help.

  37. “Maybe trade Shump (the only guy with any value) for a big, mean pf that can play both ways efficiently, but particularly on defense.”
    And you think that a team who has a big mean pf who can play both ways efficiently is going to trade him for a guard with a separated shoulder who has 4 months left on his contract who, at his best, is a good defender and lousy offensive player? Good deal if you can find it.

  38. The Knicks are always in a bad situation because they’re always trying to salvage something that is unsalvageable. We don’t have the 2016 pick, so fuck it, let’s stay in “win now” mode, bring in whatever free agent and veteran minimum dreck we can find, then when that doesn’t work out trade away the 2018 pick for some other idiotic quick fix. Then when 2017 rolls around, the thinking is, “Well we don’t have the 2018 pick, so we might as well stay in win now mode.” Same shit, different decade.

  39. You’d also have to imagine that Melo is worth, at the very least, a 2016 first round pick, no? So at least they’d have another pick.

    But yeah, it sucks that they’d have to play a shitty 2015-16 only to watch yet another high lottery pick go to another team, but I believe that it is just a sunk cost of their past stupidity. After all, even if they do decently, they’re likely still giving at best a #15 pick to Toronto, so it is not like it is a matter of trading Melo and giving up a #3 pick to Denver vs. keeping him and giving up a #25 pick to Toronto. No matter what they’re going to be giving up a decent first rounder and that will suck no matter what.

    By the way, looking back, the 2016 pick was the one thing where I was just absolutely aghast at back in the day. All that stuff they gave up for Melo and a fucking 2016 first round swap?!!? Fuck the heck?!

  40. Carmelo Anthony for Kevin Love and Dion Waiters.

    Lol after this year are we still on the Kevin Love train? If Melo had performed like love he would be getting killed. I bet Lebron would Love that trade….see what I did there

  41. Melo’s playing a good deal worse than Love, and that’s with Love having his worst season in years. But hell, if you think Lebron would like that deal, then yes, that’d be awesome – I bet Melo might even consider it, despite Cleveland not being on his preapproved list of cities where it is okay to win a title.

  42. The sad part of this is that even with Love having a bad year, he’s still having a better season than Melo. And he is younger. With a better contract.

  43. Melo is hurt and is carrying the load. What is Kevin loves load? In what way is he having a better season tho? I’m curious

  44. Carrying the load for a 5-28 team? Has anyone in the history of the NBA ever been given credit before for “carrying the load” for a team with a .158 winning percentage?

    One player is averaging 24/7/3 on 20 field goal attempts a game.
    The other player is averaging 17/10/2 on 13 field goal attempts a game.

    Neither of them are playing a lick of defense.

    The second player is having the better season.

  45. To be fair, it’s not like Kevin Love has some glorious history of winning either. Melo gets bashed for not winning, but Love gets a pass because WS says so.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’d trade Melo for Love straight up and laugh all the way to the bank at the steal I just made, but that has more to do with age and contract really. At the end of the day, winning is what it’s all about (and other clichés), and on that end Love is not much better than Melo, and really is actually worse. We give Love a pass because he’s never been on a good team, but then Melo takes the lion’s share of the blame for this horrendously magnificent (or magnificently horrendous?) season. That’s some hypocritical logic right there.

  46. Love only has one more year on his contract after this one. Melo’s contract doesn’t run out until Hillary is starting her re-election campaign.

    Advantage: Love

  47. Count me out of the “bring in Lance or Dion” camp. It would be another situation where talent is thought of as far more important than basketball IQ.

    The perfect example of a guy who is woefully underrated in this sense is Tyler Hansbrough. Notice how Indiana got worse and Toronto got better when he changed teams, but he has gotten virtually none of the credit. He has barely enough talent to be an NBA player, but he has leadership, attitude and smarts. So long as he has a limited role on a team with a few 2-way players, he’s a great low-cost asset.

    The problem with this team is that we don’t have enough (any?) 2-way players. I am ambivalent about trading Melo. I think we can win with him and/or without him. But we have to start with building a competitive backcourt and a 2-way player in the post. We can draft Towns or Okafor, and get via free agency/trade a 2-way PG like Brandon Knight or Mike Conley, and a 2-way shooting guard like Wes Matthews or Arron Afflalo. I would avoid the “second max” alternative like Gasol. We have too many holes to fill.

  48. Don’t get me wrong, I’d trade Melo for Love straight up and laugh all the way to the bank at the steal I just made, but that has more to do with age and contract really. At the end of the day, winning is what it’s all about (and other clichés), and on that end Love is not much better than Melo, and really is actually worse. We give Love a pass because he’s never been on a good team, but then Melo takes the lion’s share of the blame for this horrendously magnificent (or magnificently horrendous?) season. That’s some hypocritical logic right there.

    Is Melo seriously getting the lion’s share of the blame for this season? I certainly don’t blame him at all for this season. I thought that the idea of signing him to a five-year mega max contract when the absolute best case scenario for competing with him was year three (absolute best case – year four is more likely) was lunacy, but that’s not about him being a bad player. He’s a very good player. He’s having his worst season in years but he’s still having a decent year, which is a lot more than nearly all of his teammates can say. Melo should be judged the same way Love should be judged, just on how well (or how poorly) they play on the court. Everything beyond that is management’s fault. It’s management’s fault that they signed Melo to this crazy contract, not Melo’s.

  49. @53 record and contract is irrelevant. I’m simply speaking of roles on the team. If Melo was the third option shooting the percentages that love was shooting and being the non factor that love is what would we say? You guys keep qualifying with age and contracts. Love is supposedly better now so what does any of that have to do with it?

  50. Also, I keep reading that we “can’t” sign Larkin. However, isn’t it true that we can offer him up to $1.6 Million? If so, why is everyone so sure that he will be offered more by another team? He is playing to a WS 48 of .058 and has a TS of .515. He actually might get significant playing time on the 2015-16 Knicks, which isn’t the case for most NBA teams that would sign him. Is he anything more than a 3rd string PG on a good team at this point?

  51. @54 totally agree I generally think the high WS players are better and would like to acquire more of them. However this whole thing is singly about winning and Kevin Love has done none of that. And now that he’s in Cle and he’s playing poorly and the team is under achieving it’s a bit more of an indictment on him. His level of bad on defense almost negates is efficiency on offense. I mean that’s the knock on Stat right?

    I had exactly the same thought as DRed on the trade. And you know what? I think Cleveland bites at that. You guys think the length of Love’s contract makes him more appealing to Cleveland? I think they’d rather have Melo who’s boys w LBJ locked up than risk losing Love for nothing. Love is absolutely going to go out and test the market and I think LeBron just showed everyone how surprising that can end up. Love has ego and he’s gonna listen to LA and frankly I think the Knicks as well.

    How about an S&T w Love and Melo at year’s end? Knicks could start over w Love, a top 3 pick and $30M in cap.

  52. I also agree w Z-Man. Use this summer’s cap space on several useful players and don’t try and swing for the fences. Mathews and Dragic? Sign me up anywhere.

  53. If the Knicks part ways with Shump, they’re going to have $22 million to spend. That’s not enough to get Matthews and Dragic. Dragic is going to get close to MAX and Matthews’ floor will be $9 million a year. Look at what Ariza just got. Matthews is clearly better than him.

    I’m okay with the Knicks splitting their money up on multiple good players, but we just need to be more realistic about who they can get. Brandon Knight is more like it. I’d be all for Brandon Knight.

  54. The Bargnani trade was a disaster. As to Lowry, we refused to give up a young asset and a #1 pick for a guy that was an unrestricted FA at year’s end and we could have lost for nothing. Lowry might have made us a playoff team last year, but that would have made it less likely that Woodson gets fired and Jackson gets hired.

    Even if Lowry signed here for $12 mill per, whow much better would we be right now, and at what cost? Can’t we use $12 million in cap space to get a similarly effective player AND have our #1 pick in 2018?

    By “tanking” this year, we have dramatically improved our chances of drafting an impact player this year. The top 5-6 players in this draft are all potential all-stars. Beneath them, the pickings are much more slim.

  55. I am still fine with turning down the Lowry trade based on what we knew at the time (which is the only way you can ever judge a trade). As it turned out, he would have been worth it, but there was no way for us to have known that at the time that he was about to become one of the very best point guards in the game. It was unforeseeable.

    But yes, the one lucky thing that has happened to the Knicks in years is that they’re playing awful enough to get a likely top five pick. I’m really quite thrilled about that turn of events. I keep expecting this team to go on an extended .500 stretch but so far so good (or should I say, “bad”).

  56. Also, I keep reading that we “can’t” sign Larkin. However, isn’t it true that we can offer him up to $1.6 Million? If so, why is everyone so sure that he will be offered more by another team? He is playing to a WS 48 of .058 and has a TS of .515. He actually might get significant playing time on the 2015-16 Knicks, which isn’t the case for most NBA teams that would sign him. Is he anything more than a 3rd string PG on a good team at this point?

    I think the point is that if you develop him and he’s good, then you lose him. If you develop him and he sucks, you won’t want him. So either way he’s not worth developing, since the end result is that he won’t be on the 2015-16 team.

  57. But even if we “develop” him, he is not going to be an NBA starter any time soon, and probably not even a rotation player on anything but a bad team like ours. I should clarify that trading Calderon and “playing” him (i.e. more tanking) is what I’m suggesting rather than benching Calderon and “developing” him. If he plays like he has thus far, we should be able to sign him if we want to.

  58. If the Knicks part ways with Shump, they’re going to have $22 million to spend. That’s not enough to get Matthews and Dragic. Dragic is going to get close to MAX and Matthews’ floor will be $9 million a year. Look at what Ariza just got. Matthews is clearly better than him.

    I’m okay with the Knicks splitting their money up on multiple good players, but we just need to be more realistic about who they can get. Brandon Knight is more like it. I’d be all for Brandon Knight.

    Couldn’t they open up an extra $4m by using the stretch provision on JR? Wouldn’t that open enough money to theoretically get Dragic and Matthews.

    Brandon Knight would be nice but why would Kidd and Co let him out of Milwaukee?

  59. Wasn’t there rumors about the Knicks trading for Jeff Teague after the Lowry deal fell through. I think the hanging factor was asking the Hawks to take on Felton’s contract.

    Almost a year later and Teague play is making his $8m a yr contract look pretty good. Calderon is making about 2m less collectively over 3 yrs.

  60. I’m actually not sure on what the Teague deal ended up being. It began with them looking to get the 2018 pick from the Knicks, but I don’t recall where it ended.

  61. Couldn’t they open up an extra $4m by using the stretch provision on JR? Wouldn’t that open enough money to theoretically get Dragic and Matthews.

    Brandon Knight would be nice but why would Kidd and Co let him out of Milwaukee?

    Yes, they could get an extra $4 million by waiving JR. So yes, there Matthews and Dragic would be theoretically possible.

    Knight is a long shot, as well, but I could see Milwaukee theoretically passing on him if he gets, say, a $10-11 million a year offer from the Knicks. They didn’t sign him to an extension, after all, so they can’t be TOO into him.

  62. Knight is a long shot, as well, but I could see Milwaukee theoretically passing on him if he gets, say, a $10-11 million a year offer from the Knicks. They didn’t sign him to an extension, after all, so they can’t be TOO into him.

    True but he was not playing at this level last year. It’s kind of like Tobias Harris situation. They both have improved enough to have forced their teams hands. However, $10-11M is a lot for Knight and maybe Harris for that matter.

    Why does it seem like Shump is the only young player to underachieve in his contract year. Lol.

  63. Agreed, $10-11 million is a lot for Knight, but that’s where they’d need to go if they want to force Milwaukee’s hand. If they can’t get a single star like Gasol, I think getting two $10-11 million two-way players is the way to go. Knight and Matthews would work well.

    Matthews could play a small ball 3 easily with Melo going to the 4.

    This all requires them to get a top five pick, of course, as the top five has a lot of strong post guys, which would allow them to use their free agency money on guards instead of forwards/centers.

  64. I don’t think Matthews rebounds well enough to play the 3 in small ball lineup.

    Speaking of Portland, I wonder what they will do with batum if he continues his bad shooting year. Now he is a buy low player the knicks should take a risk on if he comes available.

  65. http://espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=qyt7zxl

    I would do Kevin Love and Waiters (also Cleveland has a plethora of second-rounders but they can’t trade a first until 2018) for Melo and Dalembert in a millisecond, FYI. Also, has Love officially opted in for next year or can he still opt-out? Truthfully I prefer that he opts out (Yes, at this point I’d rather give up Melo for basically nothing than wait to pull the trigger until he is untradeable) or that we trade him away but isn’t this the foundation of a trade?

    My question: why isn’t Melo demanding a trade? He’s smart enough to know that the Knicks won’t be contending any time soon. Is this really going to be a case where we’re held up by his no-trade clause until he demands a trade out of NY and we have zero leverage and get a terrible package for him.

    Isn’t Cleveland the perfect situation for him? Why wouldn’t he want to go there right now?

  66. Like I joked earlier, Cleveland is not on his predetermined list of cities where he wants to win a title.

    But more seriously, I think not wanting to pull his kids out of school in the middle of a school year is a reasonable concern for him to have. He has all the money in the world now, I think stuff like his family’s happiness is actually pretty big for him.

  67. We all need to holler at Phil on twitter.

    Also, those misers in Chicago gonna pay jimmy his money now. No way they let him walk.

  68. I don’t want to dehumanize Carmelo Anthony’s children but the fact that “they are enrolled in school” is part of the basketball operations decision for the team is the Knicks-iest thing ever. He didn’t seem to have any issue pulling them out in a school year four years ago?

  69. I don’t want to dehumanize Carmelo Anthony’s children but the fact that “they are enrolled in school” is part of the basketball operations decision for the team is the Knicks-iest thing ever. He didn’t seem to have any issue pulling them out in a school year four years ago?

    Well, I think that was said more in response to your question as to why Melo hasn’t asked to be traded yet, not why the Knicks haven’t tried to trade him.

  70. I’m really not too worried about the New York Knicks. We have Cole Aldrich and hopefully a top 3 pick that turns into Jahlil Okafor. I’m also hoping that the Bulls don’t match the max contract offer sheet that you have to put out for Jimmy Butler, and maybe we can swing a Calderon and Tim Hardaway Jr. for D-Will trade in the off-season for the remaining cap space (Calderon and D-Will have the same contract length; D-Will just feels like a better fit for the triangle as somebody who can attack unbalanced defenses from the weak side). In my dream scenario, we go into the season with a starting 5 of:

    PG: D-Will
    SG: Jimmy G. Buckets
    SF: Melo
    PF: Jahlil Okafor
    C: #FreeCole

    That team can at least win a playoff series in the East, and then they’d have three young players to build around for the foreseeable future in Butler, Okafor, and Aldrich. It fits because The East Is Big™ and I have faith in our chances of winning this lottery, since the 30th anniversary of the Ewing Draft is this upcoming draft and the NBA loves a good story line behind their draft lottery winners. I’m hoping everything gets fixed this off-season, and this is one way I can see it happening. Of course this would also be the greatest Knicks’ off season ever, but a guy can hope, no?

  71. Also, those misers in Chicago gonna pay jimmy his money now. No way they let him walk.

    I’m sure the world felt the same way about the James Harden situation (who was clearly a top 10 player before he got traded), but we saw how that ended. Never underestimate the stupidity of one team, even if that team is a successful team.

    The two situations are different with Durant and Westbrook already being max guys, but Rose and Noah are both making 8 figures plus Gibson and Gasol also make big money. I really feel like if somebody offers Jimmy Butler a max deal, they’ll say to themselves “he’s not worth it” and let him walk. At least I hope that’s what happens after the Knicks offer Jimmy Butler max money.

  72. Ok, I’m all aboard the FreeCole train but let’s not get carried away here. Any future in which we are “building around” Cole Aldrich is not a particularly good future. He’s a nice piece, and would make a decent backup center on a good team…but he’s no Anthony Davis.

  73. I dunno, a .583 TS% and 11.3 rebounds per 36 from a 26 year old seems like something you want to keep around. Even if he has a goofy 3 foot scoop shot as his go to move.

  74. I had a feeling I set off DRed’s Defend Cole alarm system.

    It’s not that he’s goofy (he is, but that’s not what it’s about). It’s about him not being able to play 36 minutes in a single game despite being 26 years old. A solid backup, but he’s just not physically capable of playing a lot of minutes for whatever reason (health? conditioning? I dunno). He’s definitely more than an “emergency center,” but a foundational building block on a title contending team? I think that’s taking the man crush we all have on him to an illogical extreme. But maybe that’s just me.

  75. My boy D’Angelo Russell went off last game for 24 pts on 8 field goal attempts. Now has a TS% of .599 and is shooting 46.7% from 3.

  76. We’ve seen for years when there are good players around Melo he wins.

    Congratulations, good players.

  77. Re:Love for Melo– if the Cavs want a high volume, over paid scorer in return for Love, they should just deal him to the Lakers for Kobe. He’s cheaper in the long run and a thousand times more marketable. Plus, Love wants to play in LA.

  78. KNICKS LOTTO WATCH

    Myles Turner: 16 pts on 7 FGA (!), 2 for 2 from 3PT
    Jahlil Okafor: 27 pts on 15 FGA (!), 8 rebounds

  79. Okafor had 27 pts tonight on 12 for 15 shooting. “Only” 8 rebs so Im sure that part will be the main focus but I just dont see why people are worried about using the #1 pick on him. Im not saying he should be the pick at #1 overall but the kid looks to have a great future ahead of him.

  80. Well, I think that was said more in response to your question as to why Melo hasn’t asked to be traded yet, not why the Knicks haven’t tried to trade him.

    Yep.

    And he was willing to remove his son from school four years ago because his son wasn’t yet in school (he was a couple of weeks shy of four years old then). Melo has repeatedly talked about how difficult it was for him when his mother moved him from New York to Baltimore when he was 8 (his son turns 8 in March). I think Melo would be willing to move, but I don’t think it’s happening midseason and I also don’t think it is happening any time soon.

  81. Seems like we’re on a collision course with Karl Towns. Perfect guy for Phil: soft hands, nice touch, gifted passer in the post. But then what of Cole?

  82. I’m sure the world felt the same way about the James Harden situation (who was clearly a top 10 player before he got traded), but we saw how that ended. Never underestimate the stupidity of one team, even if that team is a successful team.

    The two situations are different with Durant and Westbrook already being max guys, but Rose and Noah are both making 8 figures plus Gibson and Gasol also make big money. I really feel like if somebody offers Jimmy Butler a max deal, they’ll say to themselves “he’s not worth it” and let him walk. At least I hope that’s what happens after the Knicks offer Jimmy Butler max money.

    The key difference is the NBA luxury tax level. It’s about to rise dramatically. Chicago will likely only have to be over the luxury tax for a single season. That was OKC’s problem with giving Harden big money.

  83. In my plan Jahlil Okafor plays the four spot next to Cole Aldrich so 8 rebounds a night from the four spot isn’t a problem. Stop trying to make Jahlil Okafor look like Andrea Bargnani. We over here on the Okafor bandwagon do not appreciate it.

    Another thing is that high usage scoring at a high efficiency really is a skill. You can’t find too many players on the planet capable of doing that, so having somebody you can build an offense around is a plus, not a minus.

  84. Congratulations, good players.

    Seriously, the phrase “we’ve seen for years when there are good players around ___ he wins” could be applied to most every star player in the NBA. Kobe Bryant went from being a winner when he had good teammates to being a loser without them to being a winner with them. Kobe was the same guy the whole time, his teammates just changed and thus, too, did the fortunes of the Lakers.

  85. I’m pretty sanguine about the whole thing by this point. I’ve followed them through so many shitty awfully planned seasons, six-seven more aren’t too much, I guess.

    Brian,

    I’m 55 (going to be 56 in a few weeks). There will come a time when I start wondering if I will live long enough to see the end of the next rebuild. At least I saw Reed, Frazier etc… win it all. What glory!

    Come on Phil, trade Melo and do it right dammit!

  86. It’s way too early to start drawing any conclusions about the Cavaliers. It took the Heat about 20-25 games to get rolling and they were way more experienced players than some of the Cavs.

    The issue with the Cavs right now is that James is not playing nearly as well as he did with the Heat. Whether that’s an age, injury, or style of play issue is debatable. He had some nagging injuries last season. Age may be catching up with him. Maybe he’s in the early stage of a decline or maybe he’ll get healthy in the second half and go on a tear.

    The second issue is Love. That one is easier to figure out. On the Cavs he’s the 2nd or 3rd scoring option. He’s also teamed with some other very good rebounders. So his rebounding is down, his scoring is down, and he just happened to get off a bit of a slow start shooting from the outside. He’s still a terrific player, but there are going to be some diminishing returns when you go from a bad team to a very good one. He has to try to be more selective and take better shots if he’s going to get fewer of them.

  87. @96 I know late December is generally too early to pass judgement on a newly assembled team, but I think the Cavs have some very serious issues, namely that they can’t defend or rebound. Add to that a coach that looks like the proverbial deer in the headlights (and who doesn’t have the support of his star player), a neutered Kevin Love and a somewhat diminished LeBron, and I think this season could go off of the rails for Cleveland.

  88. Add to that a coach that looks like the proverbial deer in the headlights (and who doesn’t have the support of his star player)

    At the moment, I think this is the biggest reason (the weak, if any, support) why Cleveland has problems. If LeBron and Blatt went along well, we should see lots of ball movement, lost of Kevin Love in the high post, less Irving and less Waiters (save for second units, probably). Right now is LeBron and Kyrie hero-ball. Also: if you think we’re sour on Melo (which, in my opinion, we’re not; we’re sour on his contract, which is not his fault), you should see some comments on Cavs: the Blog, which is the equivalent of KB near the lake. They’re pretty much blaming every loss on LeBron’s immaturity. Wow (I think they’re misguided, but with each day passing I get the sense that LeBron didn’t want to go back to Cleveland. It seems like he did it for his brand, while dreaming about playing somewhere else. So maybe Hubert was right all along).

    That said, I would do a Kevin Love plus Waiters for Melo right now (hoping to send Waiters somewhere else for a pair of second rounders or something like that. I wouldn’t touch Waiters with a ten-foot pole).

  89. The second issue is Love. That one is easier to figure out. On the Cavs he’s the 2nd or 3rd scoring option. He’s also teamed with some other very good rebounders. So his rebounding is down, his scoring is down, and he just happened to get off a bit of a slow start shooting from the outside. He’s still a terrific player, but there are going to be some diminishing returns when you go from a bad team to a very good one. He has to try to be more selective and take better shots if he’s going to get fewer of them.

    First, I thought players were responsible for their own stats and that their teammates have little to do with it, and that any change in WP48 when there is a change in a player’s setting can be blamed on OUTLIER DON’T BOTHER ME WITH THEM.

    Second, the Cavs’ problem is like our problem — everyone is concentrating on Love’s shots, his efficiency, the Triangle, etc. when the problem is DEFENSE. They’re 4th in offensive efficiency (better than Golden State!) and 23rd in defensive efficiency. And this is where the comparisons break down between Miami 2010-11 and Cleveland 2014-15. Miami was already a high-level defense by December of their first season together (DRtg of 95.5 in December 2010) whereas 3 months into the season the Cavs haven’t gotten better at all (DRtg of 105).

    Miami had plus defenders at almost every position – DWade and Lebron were amongst the best defenders at their positions, Bosh was amazing in being able to guard/trap PNRs and get back, Joel Anthony is/was a very good defender, and Chalmers has always been a pretty good defender.

    The Cavs? Irving, Waiters, and even Varejao are all sieves. Lebron doesn’t play D anymore. And Love is consistently one of the worst defending bigs in the league. Expecting these Cavs to play championship D is only slightly less likely than asking the 14-15 Knicks to do the same.

  90. Still think a trade that works for both Cleveland and us is sending Shump and Dalembert to the Cavs for Memphis’s 1st round pick and Haywood. Trade machine says it doesn’t work but I can’t imagine why not. Shump + Dalembert = ~6.7MM and Bogans TPE + Haywood = ~7.5MM. Should be close enough.

    Shump is exactly what they need instead of Waiters – a guy who is less likely to shoot rather than more likely to shoot, and can really guard the perimeter. They’ll be over the cap anyway so having Shump’s bird rights would be useful to them.

  91. First, I thought players were responsible for their own stats and that their teammates have little to do with it, and that any change in WP48 when there is a change in a player’s setting can be blamed on OUTLIER DON’T BOTHER ME WITH THEM.

    I’m not the spokesman for Wins Produced. I do think it’s the best model available for public consumption because it’s based on peer reviewed statistical fact instead of efforts to create a model that produce results that are consistent with prevailing wisdom or that use noisy adjusted +/- data.

    All that said, I think it has some weaknesses at the extremes of usage and the extremes of diminishing returns. No model is perfect (at least not yet).

    David Berri has stated that you have to build a team with a balance of scoring, rebounding, defense, play making etc… to be successful. So there’s an implicit understanding that if you build a team with 5 Shaqs or 5 Chris Pauls etyc… you will run into problems of diminishing returns and imbalance even though all their WP48s are high. But since teams are generally built in a balanced way, most of the time it IS on the players.

    It’s obvious that going from the clear cut 1st scoring option to the 3rd scoring option has to impact your stats. It’s on Love to figure out how to get more out of fewer shots and create value in other ways.

    Wins Produce is a terrific model. It’s biggest problem is that most people don’t understand what it actually says. So they wind up criticizing what they don’t understand.

    As far as the Cavs go, everyone on earth already knew that the defense was going to be the problem area. It was widely discussed. That something they will have to fix.

    (It’s something that’s already partly reflected in the WP48 by the way! )

    But several key players are not being as productive as they have in the past in other ways. That’s obvious in their stats no matter what model you use.

  92. Can’t combine a TPE with another player in a trade. Gotta be one for one, I believe. (At least, that was the old rule)

  93. Aha. So that’s the problem. Well that’s easy enough- they can just take back some useless minimum contract players right?

  94. Still think a trade that works for both Cleveland and us is sending Shump and Dalembert to the Cavs for Memphis’s 1st round pick and Haywood. Trade machine says it doesn’t work but I can’t imagine why not. Shump + Dalembert = ~6.7MM and Bogans TPE + Haywood = ~7.5MM. Should be close enough.

    They would have to include Waiters to make salaries work or the Cavs could send the Knicks Kirk, Amundson, and Jones along with Haywood to balance out the salaries.

  95. Late to this, but DRed summed up my thoughts on Waiters:

    Dion Waiters is terrible at basketball though. He’d actually make the Knicks worse

    I am, however, completely in favor of Lance Stephenson. He’s good at basketball. In particular, he is excellent at playing defense.

  96. Aha. So that’s the problem. Well that’s easy enough- they can just take back some useless minimum contract players right?

    Or split it into two separate trades: Delembert for Bogans exception, then Shunp for Hayward + pick. (If there’s a will, there’s a way)

  97. Or split it into two separate trades: Delembert for Bogans exception, then Shunp for Hayward + pick. (If there’s a will, there’s a way)

    aha! that’s how it should happen.

    i tweeted this to Phil jackson so I’m sure it’ll happen soon.

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