Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Knicks Wanted Him…Now They Have Him

The Wizards officially announced that they would not be matching the Knicks’ offer on Jared Jeffries today, making the 6’11″ forward an official member of the New York Knicks.

Whether this is a good thing or not is a whole other matter.

In his ESPN chat today, John Hollinger wrote about the signing: “It was a slightly more productive use of their money than just setting it on fire, but not by much. Washington essentially replaced his production with a minimum-wage guy in Stevenson.” This is consistent with Hollinger’s position earlier this offseason on Jared Jeffries, who he seemed to believe was one of (if not THE) most overrated free agent of this free agent season.

However, while it seems a fairly significant stretch to believe that Stevenson will really replace most of Jeffries’ production, that does not even really address whether this was a good pick-up for the Knicks (then again, it’s a chat answer, you can’t expect depth).

We’ll get more information tomorrow, but for now, all we have for reactions to the deal is the AP report on the topic.

In it, Ernie Grunfield explains, “Jared’s representative made it crystal clear that he preferred being in New York, And we feel we have plenty of players who can take up the slack. We have players that want to be here.” I think that’s a good way of looking at it by Grunfield, even if it is prototypical spin.

One interesting thing about Jeffries is, let’s say he is NOT a great defender, he certainly IS now the best defender on the KNICKS (unless Balkman is amazing right out of the gate), and I think that, in and of itself, does have some value.

In any event, whether this was a good signing or not, it has now maxed the Knicks out on players they can offer contracts to, and with the way Isiah loves to “discover” talent, I find it hard to believe that the Knicks are happy about being maxed out, especially since four of the players of the fifteen are small forwards (Rose, Richardson, Jeffries, Balkman) and three of those four are players who expect to get significant minutes. Look for the Knicks to at least try to make another move in the future to clear up some roster room.

Hopefully, either Dave or Mike will be tomorrow to give us a more in-depth look at the signing, but I figure y’all would like somewhere to react to it for now.

77 comments on “The Knicks Wanted Him…Now They Have Him

  1. KnickerBlogger

    I’ll give my reaction here instead a new post to spark the discussion. In my eyes it’s just another move the next GM will have to clean up. Mind you it’ll be a smaller mess than Jerome James or Eddy Curry or Steve Francis. Uni-taskers like Jeffries aren’t worth that much, especially ones that don’t score a lick.

    I don’t understand Isiah’s desire to overpay for just about everyone he acquires. I don’t understand why he manages the team like it’s a championship contender rather than a rebuilding team. Signing a guy like Jeffries is something a team that needs a perimeter defender to reach the next level does. The Knicks already have a full roster, and their first round pick is a similar player. The most confounding aspect is why Isiah would spend the whole MLE on Jeffries, and not keep Jackie Butler? The Knicks now have 6 guys who can play SF, and only 3 centers (if you include Jerome James).

    Jeffries might be an upgrade at the SF position. But Curry was an upgrade over Mike Sweetney, Kurt Thomas, Malik Rose, and Maurice Taylor. And Jamal Crawford was an upgrade over Shanderson. And Steve Francis was an upgrade over Jamal Crawford. How many more upgrades can this team afford?

  2. Ben

    I like Jeffries and I believe that ultimatly this is not a bad contract for what Jeffries brings to the table. A little too much but overpaying was the only way to get him and it’s not so much that it’s outlandish.

    Right now he is a good defender and he has the desire and physical tools to develop into a great one. The fact that he can play 4 different positions is a big plus. He is a solid passer and his offensive game is fairly efficient and if he could improve his foul shooting at least back to where it was at Indiana he would be even more so. Also he played with a player in Arenas that dominates the ball more than anyone in the NBA not named Kobe, and I believe that resticted his shots. He also has a great attitude and does exactly what his coaches tell him to do. The reason he was one of Eddie Jordan’s favorite players.

    With all that said I am still luke warm to the Knicks signing him. While he does fill a need (Rose is an abysmal defender, Q is more of a SG and his back has reduced him to a mere shell of the player he was developong into after his 2nd year with the Clipper’s, Balkman is a rookie, and Lee is a PF) we do not have room on this roster for the players we aleady have.

    While I do think the Knicks will be better with him, if something is not done to thin out the roster there will be alot of trouble this season. I am hoping that Isiah has a plan and that Francis and Richardson are already headed out the door and Jalen and Mo have their suits ready, I am afraid unfortunatly that is probably not the case.

  3. Phillip

    Here is what I think about this:

    1) There is something to be said for wanting a guy and getting him.

    Many teams around the league simply don’t have the budget to do this. Instead what they do is identify a need and then take the budget they have and fill that need the best they can.

    Thomas, essentially, has the freedom to do what all of us would do if we had an almost unlimited budget: Find exactly what we want….and get it.

    In life we do this all the time when given the opportunity. When you come into some money you get the car you want. You get the brand-name clothing you want. Whatever.

    What Thomas clearly does is say: I want this guy. And if he has to overpay to do it, then he will.

    This analogy might work for some people and not others but here goes:

    It’s like when you are in a fantasy draft and you pick a guy a few rounds earlier than you know you should because you want THAT guy. For whatever reason you get a wild hair up your rear for a guy you think fits perfectly and you take him.

    Thomas essentially does that with money. Most owners wouldn’t go for this, however, Dolan doesn’t seem to mind all that much….or if he does he doesn’t impress it upon his GM’s enough.

    The question is: Is this strategy wrong for a team that can spend?

    In theory: no. I find nothing wrong with overpaying a bit to make sure you get every player you actually want. It’s the only way to really take advantage of the extra funds your owner provides.

    What I think Knicks fans get upset at are the exact choices Thomas (or Layden) makes to overpay on. That’s a fair beef I think we can have. But I don’t knock the strategy as much as “moneyballer” fans who don’t like a move unless it’s a great player for 500,000 bucks.

    Now, was Jeffries the kind of overpaying that is good for us? I can’t say. What I can say is that if you must overpay it needs to be for a guy who will:
    play his best years with you, a guy who will put you “over the top” of whatever goal you are going for that year, and/or for a guy you know will put butts in the seats almost irregardless of his playing ability (let’s call this the Vince Carter factor).

    To me Jeffries fits 2 of these 3. I think he does help make us a contender for a 7th or 8th seed, and historically he should have his best years starting at 25 and running to 29. We don’t have him signed for much longer than his prime would be, and frankly his contract isn’t going to be all that hard to move.

    2) Uni-tasker

    I agree totally that uni-taskers always have limited value. And that the goal of your team should be to limit the amount of uni-taskers that start.

    However, there aren’t enough well rounded players for all 32 teams to have 5 starters. So the key is getting uni-taskers that fit your team where they are weak….and getting uni-taskers that are actually really good at the one task they do.

    Now, there is no doubt that Jeffries fits this team in that he isn’t like hardly anyone we have. That’s a good start.

    As to the second point, apparently you’ll find disagreement on this site from some folks, but I think best we can tell he is a very good defender. We all know defensive stats aren’t great at telling us much, but the ones we do have indicate taht he’s a + defender and he has greater impact in that he’s versitle. Again, some people disagree….we’ll see what happens.

    I understand that a great GM could find a guy like Jeffries cheaper, but we don’t have a great GM so the next criteria is simply: Is this player going to help us at all!!

    So would we rather have Jeffries at 6 mil or total garbage cheap?

    3) Another GM’s mess.

    If you look around the league every team has a few contracts worse than this one. What I’m getting at here is that he’s going to be REALLY REALLY low on the list of messes that a future GM has when taking over this team. Even if you project him out to a 7th man (which is calling him a bust in my book), the MLE for that kind of guy simply isn’t all that bad compared to the rest of the league.

    His contract is moveable because of his skill-set and, more importantly, his age. If you think of all the crap we’ve moved in the past, Jeffries is much better and younger than some of what we’ve moved before.

    Assuming Zeke gets fired after this season, and assuming Jeffries isn’t dealt BY Zeke, my prediction would be that Jeffries is actually a top candidate to survive a purge by a new GM simply because he has the kind of energy/ethic that most GM’s love to bring in when they gut a team, and because he plays defense.

    The real messes that will be cleaned up by another GM will be:

    James
    Curry
    Crawford
    Francis
    Marbury

    Huge dollar guys that aren’t known for hustling. New GM’s hate that. Jeffries is one of those guys who is built to survive purges. The contract isn’t great, but you don’t throw up when you see it.

    He isn’t in trouble with the media/law. He doesn’t fight the coach. He doesn’t make huge waves in the papers saying dumb stuff. He’s gonna be like a leaky faucet: mildly annoying sometimes but you don’t fix it until you’ve put that roof back on your house.

    4) Hollinger

    Hollinger views the NBA through the prizm that every teams’ biggest need is offensive efficency. The problem with that view is that when it comes to moves like this he always thinks the guy with low offensive stats was the bad move.

    But like I’ve said to other folks, what good is a solid offensive player on a team that won’t use him.

    Hollinger would say: Well bring in the offensvie player and tell Marbury to pass the ball. Yeah, well, that’s easy for an analyst to say but try really doing it? Then what are you gonna do when that doesn’t happen: Trade Marbury dollars for doughnuts to prove a point?

    The limitation Hollinger has is that once he got on ESPN his ego (always large) grew massive. He stopped looking at how things actually work and it became about trying to write from the perspective that everything works the way he thinks it should.

    But if you HAVE Marbury and you HAVE Francis and you HAVE Jamal, adding offensive efficency just isn’t as valuable as adding defense. Because in real life you can’t tell your whole team to pass more to this underrated guy you dug up with a spreadsheet. In his head you can do it, in real life you can’t.

    I really like Hollinger and his ideas overall are generally very good, but when it comes to things like this he doesn’t deal in reality, he deals with what’s going on in his mind.

    That doesn’t mean Hollinger is wrong per se, but his methodology here is questionable. I don’t see where a better offensive player gets enough shots to have the kind of impact that makes this signing so bad.

    His view is that Jeffries doesn’t produce enough on offense to be a starter, ergo, giving him starter money is ludicrious. But on a team that should score more than enough, maybe the best fit as a starter is the guy who can defend people once in a while.

    Sometimes I think he applies moneyball too much to the NBA. In MLB if you had 9 Albert Pujols’ you’d be awsome, because they don’t need to work together much to produce runs. The NBA isn’t like that. 5 Chris Pauls isn’t gonna win you anything. You need diversity of skills.

    Of course he gets paid by ESPN to spout off, so who am I? But we’ll see what happens.

  4. Phillip

    “While I do think the Knicks will be better with him, if something is not done to thin out the roster there will be alot of trouble this season. I am hoping that Isiah has a plan and that Francis and Richardson are already headed out the door and Jalen and Mo have their suits ready, I am afraid unfortunatly that is probably not the case”

    I don’t understand why people aren’t more willing to at least SEE what Marbury and Francis can do together because deciding this thing is DOA. Hopefully, this isn’t based on what happened last year. We all know Brown did about as bad a job coaching this team as you could and not be a dried up dead bloated rat in a pond somewhere. He admitted as much!

    Thomas should just let them play together and work out how they link up. It will take awhile, but if you’re playing the knicks do you honestly want to face those guys all night? They could shoot 5-20 each…or each score 40.

    Let Jamal be a 6th man, he’d be great in that role.

  5. Hoi

    A 5 year 30 mil contract isn’t very good for someone like Jeffries, but it could be passable; but since the Knicks are NEVER going to be below the luxury tax limit, as long as the luxury tax is payable the contract becomes a 5 year 60 mil contract. You’ll be hard pressed to find anyone who’ll say that’s a good contract; and while there are other contracts that are undoubtedly worse, this was still a bad deal when viewed in its own right.

    I agree to some extent with what Phillip said about Hollinger and offensive efficiency, but at the same time the end point that Hollinger is getting at is, from having watched only a few Wizards games, pretty accurate – Jeffries just isn’t that good. He’s okay at passing and he’s certainly a good defender, but he’s not going to get around defenders and penetrate, shoot the J or even rebound particularly well. What Grunfield said about Stevenson also is essentially right, again from having watched not many games – he’s a good defender (though Jeffries is more versatile) and he’s at least as good at just about everything else, so they won’t lose much replacing Jeffries with him.

    Anyway, the point of all that is that I personally think it’s a bad signing for 60 mil as he’s just not that good, but if Dolan is willing to pay the money, Jeffries isn’t the worst signing/trade that Thomas has made so far.

  6. Hoi

    Of course, perhaps the most frustrating question is – if Thomas can spend 60 mil on Jeffries, why not 14 mil on Butler? Sure Butler would be a backup, but then if Jeffries doesn’t play that well, he could be a backup too with the amount of forwards on the team.

  7. Kevin Pelton

    I am kind of reminded by the Jeffries discussion of a great line once written about Mark Macon in Rick Barry’s Pro Basketball Bible (paraphrasing):

    “Players who can’t score are politely labeled defensive specialists. Mark Macon is a defensive specialist.”

    Now obviously Jeffries isn’t on the level of Mark Macon, but it seems his good defense is really all relative — to the fact that he’s going from one below-average defense to another; to his offense.

  8. Ricky

    I’m curious — all things considered, who would people rather have as the small forward for the next 5 years between Jeffries and Trevor Ariza? I can think of arguments for both.

  9. Phillip

    Jeffries’ rebound rate is better than Paul Pierce and you almost never hear anyone complaining about his rebounding ability. I don’t think rebounding will be a problem/weakness for Jeffries. Certainly it’s an upgrade over Rose.

    If we’re talking rebound rate:

    Rose: 6.5ish for his career
    Jeffries: 11.5ish for his

    As to Kevin Pelton, I’m not going to say anyones opinion here qualifies more than Rick Barry, but keep in the mind the source.

    We’re talking about an all-time great scorer never known for his defense. My guess is that he views good play from THAT point of view.

    It would be like Ron Artest saying about Glenn Robinson: Players who can’t play defense are politely labeled “shooters”. Glen Robinson is a shooter.

    Well, great….but is that bad on a team that REALLY needs shooting and can afford the contract? Maybe not.

    As for Ricky’s question, it would seem to me that Ariza has the better shot as increased rate of growth vis a vis his offensive game. Ariza is smoother and has a real feel for the ball and for where players are on the court. Much more diversified skill set.

    I think he CAN be nearly as good a defender, but who the heck really knows as Brown buried him in NY so we never got to find out during that second year. One of the many horrific mistake LB made for us.

    Taking out contract, it’s close, but I’ll go with Ariza. Taking contract into it…CLEARLY Ariza. However, I’m biased because I liked the drafting of Ariza and didn’t like seeing him go. I felt like Orlando was so desperate to move Francis I never understood why we gave up on him outside of the fact that Brown didnt like him.

    But this goes to Thomas’ “plan”. Why totally reshape a team for a guy you end up firing just 3 months later. Either trust in your guy and don’t fire him, or don’t destroy a player just because your coach doesn’t like him.

    At the end of the day we don’t HAVE Ariza (which would have made Jeffries deal redundant) AND we don’t have Brown (the reason Ariza is gone). That’s a pretty sad way to run a franchise if you ask me.

    As for as Butler, I didn’t see that deal (or lack of) and the Jeffries deal as being mutually exclusive. We could have kept both, especially if we considered buying out either Rose. I certainly would have kept Butler in light of the fact that you simply never know about Curry and Jerome James is as valuable to us as dried llama turd.

    On a team with precious little growth potential (most of our players are what they are), Butler provided some potential.

  10. kjb

    Phillip: It won’t make you feel any better, but an assistant NBA general manager a couple weeks ago expressed Barry’s sentiment almost word for word. He said that Jeffries was labelled the Wizards stopper because “he can’t score” and went on to point that although Jeffries is considered a defensive specialist, he received zero votes for all-defense.

  11. Phillip

    KBJ:

    Well did that assistant GM have an explination for the stats that I cited. If he wasn’t a stopper then the team would give up about as many points when he’s out of the game as it does when he’s in the game. They didn’t. He and Haywood were clearly the best defenders on the team for the amount of minutes they played. People can’t just sweep that under the rug because they think Thomas is a moron.

    Secondly, who on earth puts any stock in these all-NBA, all-defense, all-star game voting situations.

    They almost always get it wrong, have no concept of “underrated” and tend to make the obvious selections whenever possible because nobody really cares about these types of things and they’re lazy.

    But, like with Hollinger, this guy is getting paid lots of money for what he thinks, so who am I?

    But I’m sticking to my guns until I see some more convincing data…be it from any of the really smart people on here….or some assistant GM.

    But so far from what I see, he was labeled the Wizards stopper because…well….he was their stopper. He was consistently put on the teams best offensive wing player and even considering that he still posted great defensive stats (even though defensive stats do lack for total accuracy).

    I sometimes get the feeling that folks (especially the media) form ideas about someone and then find ways to tilt things so that every decision fits into that reality. Thomas is a crap GM, so we’re gonna find every way to tilt every move so that the worst side of it is what we focus on.

    “If Thomas got him, he MUST suck.”

    I know people here don’t do that, but it happens a lot. A buddy of mine works for a AAA baseball club up here in Oregon and he says it happens all the time with scouts. Scouts with bad reps get their decisions ripped apart for the simple fact that the idea came from them…so it must be wrong.

    The beauty of this situation is that the proof will be in the pudding. If Jeffries does decently then Thomas will win some people over. If he’s horrible, it will probably be the last nail in his coffin. At some point the theory goes out the window when the rubber meets the road.

    That’s why I love sports.

  12. Kevin Pelton

    Total aside: Rick Barry did not write the book (I believe he did provide the overall player ratings). The book was written by Jordan Cohn, who is currently a scout for the New Jersey Nets.

  13. Brian Cronin

    Again, whether you think Jeffries is a great defender or not, he WAS the best defender on the Wizards (I think everyone agrees with that, at least, right?) and he WILL be the best defender on the Knicks (I mean, is there even anyone else remotely in the vicinity, except perhaps Balkman?).

    And I think there is definite value there.

    However, I totally do agree that, often, players who do not score have their defense overestimated, like how catchers who do not hit have their defense overestimated.

    I will freely allow that Jeffries probably isn’t as good of a defender as his hype suggests.

    That does not mean he is not an improvement on defense for the Knicks.

    The question then becomes HOW valuable it is to improve the team defensively?

    Is it worth likely $60 over five years?

  14. Phillip

    I don’t know about overestimate. I mean defense is half the game, and he’s quite good at it. As you correctly said he projects to be the best defender we have. There is a value there.

    As far as it being 60 mil I wish folks would stop using the figure. That figure only matters to James Dolan and doesn’t impact anything regarding the team….because Dolan has consistently shown he will not close the wallet because of the luxury tax. He doesn’t count 60 mil towards our cap, and that’s the issue.

    The salary is 30 mil. The salary is the MLE.

    It’s a “mid level” exception, typically given to “mid-level” starters (though I realize the mid-level has a different connotation). I’ll buy the notion that Jeffries is a mid-level starter.

    Now, your question, once you adjust the salary to 30 mil, IS a very valid question. I don’t think there are any hard and fast rules on it.

    As to the catcher analogy, I don’t think it’s as accurate as one might think.

    Defense in baseball is a product of the AFTERMATH of the confrontation between pitcher and batter. The bulk of the responsibility for keeping out runs is unevenly distributed towards pitchers. After that you divide defense up between 8 other players.

    In basketball it’s a totally different thing. Success or failure is split 5 ways, not 9, and there isn’t an uneven distribution of responsibility to any one position SIMPLY because of the nature of the game.

    What I’m getting at here is that defense can be overrated in a catcher because of this split, but I really wonder how overrated it can be in the NBA. Im not sure it can be.

    Now, that isn’t to say you can’t overrate the CONTRIBUTION of X player TO a defense. I’m not saying that. I’m just saying I don’t think you can overrate defense as an aspect of the game….period.

    So, is Jared Jeffries an overrated defender?

    It’s really hard for me to say. The numbers say he isn’t, but as we all know defensive stats are really blunt tools. We also aren’t sure how he’s going to react WITHIN our defense and our other players. Some guys’ skills mesh better with certain guys than others. That’s another difference in the sports. In baseball a good SS is a good SS, and thats about it. In basketball, depending on how the rest of your team plays your skills can work better or worse.

    I think one way to attack this situation to would be to try to find similar situations in the recent past, with other teams, and find out how it worked out.

    Have other teams done what we’re doing? How did it turn out? Did the defense improve? Did it matter? It would be interesting to see.

    By the way, I’m really enjoying this discussion and I want to thank the bright people on the site for engaging in it.

  15. Brian Cronin

    While whether the Knicks are willing to pay luxury taxes might not matter, whether the Knicks continue to be over the salary cap very much DOES matter, as it directly impacts the team they put on the floor.

    In this regard, as they’re capped out for the near future, Jeffries’ signing likely does not impact that.

    And the catcher analogy is merely one of saying that people often presume that someone in the majors who can’t do one thing MUST be really good at the other thing.

    Therefore, catchers who are poor hitters get reputations as good defenders. So I can see how the same would apply to basketball players who cannot score – they get labeled as good ____. The blank could be defenders. The blank could be rebounders. The blank could be shot-blockers.

    And while it is clear that Jeffries IS at least a GOOD defender, it is unclear HOW good of a defender he is – which is where the “overrated” argument comes from. “Overrated” is a fairly nebulous term, as it all depends on what the “rating” is to begin with.

    An interesting question that I’d like to know what others think – if the deal was five years, $25 million – is Jeffries still a Knick?

  16. Phillip

    It’s true we can’t be sure exactly HOW good a defender he is, but it is safe to say we could project him to be our best defender….even if that isn’t saying much.

    As far as the money, it would be interesting to see which GM’s have the stomach for keeping a guy that doesn’t want to be on the team.

    I mean how do you price that into the equation? If he doesnt want to be a Wizard, do you keep him at 5 per, and let him go at 6? Do you keep him at vet minimum? Or is Gunfield one of those types that simply will not put a guy on his team if he’s reasonably sure that player doesn’t want to be there.

    I guess in that situation a sign and trade would be an option. You match for now, and hope that the value rises during the season; maybe you deal him at the deadline.

    My guess is that this is an option an inferior team would use simply because they are teams more likely to showcase players for later deals, while good teams typically want to keep things as is and are only concerned about winning.

    What I’d like to know, and maybe folks here can enlighten me, but why does Jeffries want to leave the Wizards so bad to begin with?

    They are a better team than us. They seem to have a better young core than us. There isn’t as much pressure in DC as there is in NY.

    I can’t imagine that Jeffries thinks his marketing value is really gonna be THAT much higher here…than there. Or is it?

    My guess is Thomas promised him starter minutes, while Jordan probably told him he’d play it according to matchups.

    I dont know, I just always find it interesting when a player is SO dead set on leaving the team that he started his career with. Usually there’s a good story behind the scenes somewhere.

  17. John

    Jefferies, at $5 mil per, would probably still be a Knick. The Wizards have a number of long-term contracts for marginal players (Etan Thomas, A. Daniels, and Brendan Haywood are all signed through 09/10), and this year they are over the cap but just under the luxury tax threshold. If they signed Jefferies, it would put them over. In addition, I don’t think that they want their current team (which keeps making first or second round playoff exits) intact with no flexibility for the next five years.

    That said, even if Jefferies is a bonified stopper, the NBA’s current rules overwhelmingly favor the offensive player. I question the value of any “lockdown stopper”, especially against a team with multiple scorers. Not saying the Knicks didn’t need a good wing defender, or that they didn’t get one, but it seems like alot of players under the radar would be able to fill this role at least as well as Jefferies (and they could score so that the Knicks aren’t playing 4 on 5 on offense).

  18. John

    Incidentally, did anyone notice that the Knicks homepage features the three rookies from last year, Lee, Frye, and Nate, and there are no pics of any big-name vets? While other team sites boast their marquee players (Wade, Nash, Kobe, etc), it seems like the Knicks PR department is somewhat embarrased by the high-paid Franbury and Co., and is actively trying to bury them. Just found that interesting.

  19. Ted

    I also wouldn’t call Jared Jeffries the Wizards best defender last year. Maybe you meant best perimeter defender but I’d take Brendan Haywood.

  20. Count Zero

    To quote the Zekester:

    “One of the things that was written and said and was true about us, chemistry wasn’t right. What Jared brings to us more so than talent, he brings chemistry,” the Knicks’ president and coach said Tuesday after he introduced the team’s newest addition.

    In case anyone needed further confirmation that our GM is an idiot, he now believes team chemistry can be created by adding one player. This is about the dumbest thing I have read him say yet.

  21. hotdamn

    Getting Jefferies might turn out to be alright , however, we have a GM who wanted to trade for DARIUS MILES. I don’t trust this man now or ever.

  22. kjb

    Phillip wrote: “But so far from what I see, he was labeled the Wizards stopper because?well?.he was their stopper. He was consistently put on the teams best offensive wing player and even considering that he still posted great defensive stats (even though defensive stats do lack for total accuracy).”

    —————

    There’s a difference between being assigned to defend the other team’s best offensive wing player and actually being a stopper. That was the distinction being gotten at by the assistant GM I spoke with. The on/off data definitely shows the Wizards were better defensively when Jeffries was on the court, and my own tracking supports that he’s a good defensive player. But there are holes in his game.

    —————

    Brian Cronin wrote: “Again, whether you think Jeffries is a great defender or not, he WAS the best defender on the Wizards (I think everyone agrees with that, at least, right?)”

    —————

    As Ted mentioned, Haywood is the Wizards’ best defender. Jeffries is a solid defender — better than average to be sure. But he’s not a lock-down, shut-out kind of defender. He works hard, he at least makes guys work for their points. But there are weaknesses on the defensive end.

  23. Jess

    Jeffries is certainly a upgrade. I do not understand people being unhappy with this pickup. He is nothing special, isn’t a lock-down defender (by the way, Artest, Kobe, Bowen, and possibly Raja are the only “lock-down” defenders), but he is a solid rebounder and defender, 2 things which we definitely lack.

    Balkman was an inexcuseable pick, we could have grabbed him in the 2nd round. (I personally think Jerry Colangelo was just having fun with Isiah, leaking that the Suns wanted him at 23). But we should definitely keep the roster as is. I want to see what Marbury and Francis can do together, and the best we are gonna get for the “Franchise” is Kenyon Martin, who I truthfully wouldn’t mind. But I cannot understand why we would add any money to the books. We should just ride this out, our new run’n'gun offense and see where we are in a year. We have a few semi-valuable expiring contracts to trade at the deadline that might fetch us some young mediocre talent or maybe some 2nd round picks. Our beloved Knicks are not going to be solved overnight.
    Since our team is currently being run like a fantasy squad, Dolan might as well hold a league where the winner can become GM next year.

    Between Layden and Isiah, I have seriously considered taking a leave of absence from being a Knicks fan. I watched Amare play in AAU and dreamt of us drafting him at 8, but then we got drafted Nene for McDyess’s knees and have been in shambles ever since.

    We must ride out these contracts and just hope and pray than Jay isn’t going to steal Lebron for Brooklyn in 2009-10, where it must just be believable that Lebron will be signing his new Nike deal and Brooklyn will be considered “a major market.”

  24. Dan Panorama

    What exactly are the Knicks going to play like next year? They seem to have completely mismatched parts for every style of basketball. People have been buzzing for well over a year that Isiah wants to run some kind of Phoenix-style blitz of speed and offense. That’s great – then what the hell does Jeffries do, who can’t hit an open jumper? Where does Curry fit in, who doesn’t have the speed to keep up with the offense, let alone Jerome James who has zero stamina?

    Lets say the Knicks try some kind of halfcourt Larry-ball (minus the actual Larry Brown) and use Francis and Marbury to start the plays off screens and then kick it to Curry or Frye in the confusion. Sounds good, but to play that way require hard defense on the other end, something that even with Jeffries, the Knicks completely lack, especially down low. Basically it’s pick your poision, there’s a flawed lineup for either style. I suppose if you threw out Jeffries in favor of Rose and stuck Frye at center and Lee at PF you’d have a better shot at Phoenix-ball, but then Curry will be pissed off and likely untradeable and Jeffries will be sitting around getting minor bench minutes. This team is a chemistry disaster.

    You never know, maybe Isiah has it all figured out somehow, but if it doesn’t work out this year they need to blow the whole team up and wait out the contracts.

    If anyone has some kind of vision of how the Knicks’ style of play could work this season, please post away, I’m genuinely interested.

  25. KnickerBlogger

    Dan,

    Great point, one that I’ve said a few times on this site. Isiah seems intent on getting certain players, and doesn’t really have a concept creating a team.

    About the offense – during one of the summer league games Isiah was interviewed at length and one of the things he spoke about was the Knicks’ offense. He said we was basically trying to merge the Triangle (not relying on the PG to run the offense) with the UCLA (high post) and Bob Knight’s offense (motion). He dubbed it ‘the quick’ – exactly why I forgot, but I don’t think it’s exactly Phoenix-ball. I guess we’ll have to wait until the preseason to find out for sure…

  26. Wizfan

    I’ve been lurking on various Knicks blogs to gauge Knicks fan reaction to the Jeffries signing. This blog seems to offer the most reasoned discussion I’ve found – seems like a great place for Knicks fans.

    I’m afraid you guys will eventually regret this deal. I’ve watched Jared for years. He is a nice spare part, as you’ve covered, but he is just not worth this contract. I was quite relieved when the Wiz didn’t match it.

    You’ve covered Jared’s defensive game – good and versatile, but not great. Offensively he is frustrating. He drives and finishes pretty well with dunks but he has no range and misses a confounding number of open layups and free throws. Passing and ballhandling – again good for his size, but nothing special. If the Wiz had anybody better to swing in the 3 and 4 slots they would have used them. I’m no fan of the Knicks after decades of them pounding the Bullets/Wizards, but I feel bad for their obviously loyal and fanatical fanbase for all the current troubles. Of course, you got about 30 years of losing to go before you catch up to us!

  27. Phillip

    We need to define what best defender means.

    Here are my views:

    1) Versitility counts. If you can guard 2,3, and 4′s well…you’re more valuable than a guy who can only guard 5′s well.

    2) Centers. The worst, or I should say most thin, talent pool in the league is at center. Being a shut down center simply isn’t as tough as being a shut down wing player or PF. Yes, Haywood was the last line of defense, but he was regularly playing (on average) the team’s weakest player….except during times when he was switched onto a PF.

    3) The numbers. I guess there are all sorts of numbers, but I like the on court/off court numbers. Jeffries was an improvement of 4.6 when he was on court, Haywood was 4.1.

    So:

    Jeffries played tougher offensive players
    Jeffries played more minutes
    Jeffries on court/off stats are higher

    I’ll buy the argument they were equally as good, but I don’t buy that Haywood was the absolutely the teams best defender.

    Someone smarter than I (which won’t be hard to find) needs to break down exactly why this is so, cus im not seeing it.

    “As Ted mentioned, Haywood is the Wizards? best defender. Jeffries is a solid defender ? better than average to be sure. But he?s not a lock-down, shut-out kind of defender. He works hard, he at least makes guys work for their points. But there are weaknesses on the defensive end.”

  28. Phillip

    Wizfan

    I want to say this about Jeffries’ offensive game. One way to make an inferior offensive player slightly more valuable than he normally is, is to run more often. Halfcourt sets are murder on guys who can’t shoot. But you get then out in transition and it’s dunk/layup city. It’s really hard to screw those up.

    SO, if we ran much more than we did last year, and we get HIM the ball in transition (something the Wiz didn’t do much of lasty are) don’t you think it’s safe to say he could have some more value here on offense then there?

    I think it’s, at least, POSSIBLE. The big bonus for Jeff is going to be in doing two things better than have NOTHING to do with his FG shot making ability:

    1) drive more to draw fouls
    2) convert a higher FT%

    If he can just do those 2 things….and he may not be able to…but if he can those things that’s more value we can squeeze out of him. And every little bit counts.

  29. Phillip

    I don’t think we have the skills needed to run a motion offense, but maybe I dont see what he sees.

    I think our halfcourt game will revolve around Curry, Pick and pops with marbury/frye, and then guards trying to penetrate and draw fouls.

    I think the rest of the time we’re gonna try to fast break to get Jeffries involved and ramp up the attempts for our guards.

    I think he wants to get away from half court sets with our guards in full-chuck mode, because we have more efficient players than that.

    We have the people to do most of what he wants, but can we rebound enough, and will Curry come ready to bring it?

  30. Brian Cronin

    I think Jeffries is a better defender than Heywood, but I do not think it is some gigantic advantage or anything like that, so if you wanna say Heywood is better than you won’t get some big argument from me.

    I do think it is clear he’s the KNICKS’ best defender now, though, right?

  31. Kiya

    Lets talk about Jefferies! not the Knicks High Salary Payroll.

    There were three Players that President/Coach Isiah Thomas wanted when he first arrived as the Knicks G.M.. Marbury was 1, Crawford was 2, and Jefferies was 3.
    What plans he had/have for the 3-players maybe intresting to watch this season.
    Veteran Jefferies vs Rookie Ariza
    Somehow I LUV what Rookie Ariza bought to the game alongside of Marbury/Crawford backcourt.
    Now the Knicks have a veteran Jefferies to add with the Marbury/Crawford Backcourt.
    The BIG-PLUS in getting Jefferies is the Knicks “6.11″ Frontcourt line of Curry, Frye, and Jefferies.

    So Jared Jefferies maybe twice the value to the Knicks then he was for the Washington Wizards.

    I also look at the Knicks Rookies and 2nd year players (Total 5-Players) and what the rest of the Knicks veteran roster have to offer them.
    And all 5-Players can learn alot from Jefferies defensive tactics and positioning.
    The Knicks could use some more players that knows how to sacrifice their body for the offensive foul (the little things).

    Plus the addition of Jared Jefferies only makes the Knicks Bench stronger whether he’s a Starter or comming off the Bench.

    Bench Players:
    PG/SG-Francis
    PG/SG-Nate
    SF-Jalen
    PF/SF-Lee
    C-James

  32. Phillip

    Kiya,

    I like your post.

    I want to start by saying I too really liked Ariza. My gut tells me the trading of him had more to do with Brown than it had to do with Thomas. My hunch is that if he had to do it all over again he’d keep Ariza out of that trade. EVEN with the thought that he really wanted Jeffries.

    As far as bench, I totally agree that we could have one of the stronger benches around. The only thing I think we lack is a really good backup center. The other possible downside to having a bench like ours is that many of these guys don’t WANT to be on the bench and one wonders how long they can go before they start to chirp about it…particularly Francis, although I still think he should be the teams starting SG.

  33. Kevin Pelton

    I define best defender as the player who makes the most positive impact on his team’s defense.

    Is that what net defensive plus-minus is getting at? Absolutely. But you are relying on that stat from only one season. In 2004-05, Haywood was a +9.9 on defense, one of the league’s best marks. He was also better than Jeffries in 2003-04 (+5.1 versus +4.0).

    Net plus-minus is also affected by who you are replaced by; as has been noted a thousand times on this site, most of the Wizards’ perimeter defenders sucked. That tends to benefit Jeffries.

    The best source for an adjustment for quality of teammates is Dan Rosenbaum’s data, though it only covers 2002-03 through 2004-05. Dan’s rankings, which combined net defensive plus-minus with some individual defensive statistics, showed Haywood as the league’s sixth-best defensive center. Jeffries did not rate in the top 10 at small forward, while two Wizards — Jarvis Hayes and Caron Butler (who did not join Washington until last year) — showed up in the bottom 10.

    It’s also important to note that Dan’s numbers confirm the conventional wisdom that centers provide more defensive value than perimeter players because they not only defend their own man but also help out when perimeter players are beaten to the basket. The best defensive perimeter players are, for the most part, not nearly as valuable as the best defensive centers.

  34. Phillip

    Here is my view on this.

    1) I don’t see that article addressing the versatility issue. There seems to be no weight given to a player who can guard multiple positions well….irregardless of how they were used in any given year but that coach.

    If Jared Jeffries is a +5 defender, and he can guard 3 positions, why is it said he’s equally as good as a center who can guard only 1?

    Each team has star players at different positions. How much value does it add that you can guard Zach Randolph one night, and then Paul Pierce the next? For the few players that CAN do that why don’t they have an inherent value above folks that volley between guarding scrubs like Rasho Nesterovic and Jason Collins…night in and out.

    2) I don’t understand this:

    Rosenbaum says that ratings lean toward centers on defense and away from them on offense. To me that’s an admission that the more talented offensive players are wing players.

    So here’s my question:

    If you’re consistently guarding better players, why aren’t you helped by that fact instead of hurt by it?

    If Kobe Bryant holds Allen Iverson to 25 points on 25 shots, why is he given the same credit as Rasho Nesterovic holding Jason Collins to 25 points on 25 shots? We know which was the tougher guard and what feat was actually more difficult.

    Now, it might not tell us who the better defender was THAT game…because both Iverson and Collins had the same impact, but it would tell us who had a better shot against holding the AVERAGE player to an average game.

    Because Rasho is going to play guys like Collins all the time, but Kobe isn’t going to face Iversons’ all the time.

    This is my problem with this kind stuff. If you don’t take positional strength into account then you’re left with stats that say that Rasho Nesterovic is a more valuable defender than Andrei Kirlenko (which Rosenbaums numbers say, if i’m reading them correctly), and to me that’s…I won’t say “insane”, but it’s not far off.

    3) As far as help defense, I grant that point. Centers do clean up a ton of garbage. But when players like Brendan Haywood are playing Shaq, how does he get helped? By getting doubles brought over on every play.

    I would say that against most quality opposition, centers get just as much help on doubles as wing players get on weakside defense…and I’ll go one better.

    I don’t have the data, so I grant this is just a guess, but I bet that centers get MORE help when all is said and done. Why? Because when Kobe penetrates and beats Jamal Crawford, a center comes over, but Kobe can still at least put up a SHOT. Good or bad he’s getting up a shot.

    When Shaq has the ball against Rasho, that double comes and Shaq doesn’t even attempt the shot. He passes right back out…which is the ultimate shut down. And who gets credit for all those unused possessions? Rasho!!!

    Listen, I could be totally wrong here, I can’t say for sure. But I do think that people are overrating the play of centers on a defense and I think that versatility isn’t getting weighed at all when people start bringing out the numbers.

    It seems like when centers clean up dribble drives, they get the credit for it, but when Jared Jeffries doubles Shaq every play….it’s somehow about how Haywood stopped the big man.

    I don’t see it, but I’m not always the sharpest tool in the shed so…we’ll see.

    I will say that the new rules DO put an emphasis on having interior defense because it’s so hard to check wing players. But to me even accounting for that I see bigs get help on doubles just as much as I see bigs come over and GIVE help. They also are fouling out at a higher rate which seems to mean that their value is hurt some. You can’t produce when you’ve got 5 fouls by halftime??!!

  35. Brian Cronin

    Does it really do much good to argue whether Jeffries was the best or the second best defender on the team, Phillip?

    Heywood’s a good defender (I always liked him. I thought Orlando shouldn’t have let him go). And centers, generally speaking, ARE more valuable defensively than perimeter defenders.

    So if he’s better than Jeffries, then fair enough, best defender or second-best defender, Jeffries is still a good defender, and the best defender on the Knicks now.

    That being said, if you wish to continue the discussion, that’s cool, too.

  36. Brian Cronin

    And Kiya, the fact that Isiah has managed to acquire his top three talents does not say much if those top three talents aren’t good fits for the team.

    Not saying they AREN’T, just saying that the fact that Thomas has picked up the players he’s gone after doesn’t exactly, well, MEAN anything.

  37. Dan Panorama

    A bunch of 6″11 players doesn’t mean all that much. Look at the Bulls with Curry and Chandler – two absolute beasts in terms of size and athleticism and it took them five years to even start to win games. A good player’s a good player – I remember the Knicks record was at least ten games better when everyone was bitching about our undersized forwards.

  38. kjb

    Phillip: After the 05 season, I DID break down why Haywood is the Wizards best and most important defender — complete with individual defensive stats. Here’s the link to the article: http://www.realgm.com/src_goaltending/50/20050415/evaluating_the_wizards_defense/ The individual stats from 04-05 are here: http://www.geocities.com/wizardskev/dstatsper48.txt (I’m not publishing numbers from 05-06 because I’m attempting to profit from them.)

    There is something else for you to consider — the value of help defense. Typically, the NBA is described in the kind of language you used above. It’s looked at through matchups and defense is primarily viewed as one guy defending one guy. But that ain’t how defense is played — at least not good defense. Help defense is extremely important, and the most important help defender is the center because he’s generally the last line of defense.

  39. Pingback: KnickerBlogger.Net » Blog Archive » KnickerBlogger’s Official Take on the Jeffries Signing

  40. Phillip

    Brian,

    Im not really debating Jeffries vs Haywood in as much as I’m trying to make philosophical point…it just happens to dovetail into this discussion.

    I just think centers get too much credit for defense and wing players get too little. For as much as the center cleans up penetration, the wing players do just as much doubling when a center has a bad matchup. It’s as if centers are the primary help defenders in the league, and I think that MIGHT not be the case IF you count all the double teams that help centers defending other post players.

    The difference is that wing players don’t get a ton of statistical credit when they do this.

    You’re right about the specifics of the Jeffries/Haywood.

    As to KJB’s article it’s fantastic and I did learn a lot from it. However, it doesn’t seem to address some main points.

    1) If a scheme is designed to funnel players to areas where centers patrol, and then that center gets more block attempts or hands in faces…why does he get the credit? One of the criteria used in the article here is defending shots.

    So if Arenas guides Marbury INTO Haywood, and Haywood does the actual shot defending…does Arenas get any credit for doing a good job at his role? I could be totally misreading this, but from what I see he doesn’t, and yet I don’t see how his job was any less than Haywood’s

    To me there’s a problem with that.

    2) It still doesn’t address versatility. If Jeffries can guard 2′s, 3′s, and 4′s (lets just say) and Haywood only guard centers…why isn’t any value given to that.

    Point is this, if you had a team playing defense would you rather have 5 Haywoods or 5 Jeffries’? When you talk about switches and so on there is a value in man defense there. You can put less weight in it because NBA is team defense, but can you put NO weight in it at all?

    I’m going to keep reading all your guys’ stuff and at some point it might get beaten into me, but right now I don’t see it.

    Maybe it’s my obsession with trying to find holes in conventional wisdom….maybe I’m dumb. Either way until I see more I’m just not convinced yet.

    But I thank you guys for humoring me in this conversation.

  41. Gfreeze

    uh… going a back a bit here to answer why Jeffries wanted to leave DC and go to New York.

    For years, Jeffries has been implying that he has not had the opportunity to showcase his offensive skills and be more than a utility player/defensive specialist. In a Washington Post article two years ago, he talked about wanting to average 20 points a game (implying he thinks he can and might be frustrated with his current production of six). Last season, he half-jokingly, half-sarcastically called himself, along with Brendan Haywood, Washington’s “little two”, a reference to D.C.’s “Big Three” of Arenas, Butler and Jameson (suggesting some frustration with his lack of offensive opportunities/media recognition). Talking about resigning Jeffries a few months ago, Jordan implied that the Wiz wanted him, but, given his limited offensive game, was only prepared to pay so much. Jordan followed this by saying something to the effect of “If Jared could hit a layup, I’d quit and become his agent.” The pattern? Jeffries believes he should be more involved in the offense/had more star potential than the Wiz were willing to cede. Tellingly, during the press conference with Isiah, Jeffries talked about getting more involved in the offense, bringing the ball up more, etc.

    Judging from the evidence, it seems plausible that Isiah stroked some ego, promised Jeffries a greater offensive role and that Jeffries saw the op to become a bigger star in New York.

    While this is fair enough – no one can be blamed for wanting to better their situation – it does raise some issues for the Knicks

    1) His offense is awful, even ugly to watch
    2) What happens with Marlbury/Francis if Jeffries brings the ball up the court?
    3)On a team with so many players jostling for ‘looks’, do you really need another player looking to get some?
    4) If he doesn’t get more shots than he had in D.C., will he get frustrated like he did in DC and, if so, will this add to current woes in the Knick’s locker room?

    It seems that much of the discussion has centred on his defense and the chemistry he’ll bring, but what about his offense and the potential instability it will cause? What has Isiah promised him? What does he expect? What will he be allowed to do on the offensive end? Will he get frustrated if it’s not a lot?

    Getting a coachable defensive specialist is one thing, getting another wannabe superstar is quite another. I thinks Jeffries chose NY for the right reasons for himself, not neccesarily the best for the Knicks

  42. KnickerBlogger

    Phillip,

    Just because you would take 5 Jeffries instead of 5 Shaqs, 5 Kidds, or 5 Dwayne Wades doesn’t make Jeffries a better player or a better defender. There is something to be said at versatility, but it’s not like Jeffries is going to use this ability to guard more than one player at a time.

    As for the Haywood funneling argument – ask yourself this: how many centers are there in the NBA that you would want to use this technique with. Eddy Curry? No way. Jerome James? Sure for the 3 minutes prior to his picking up a pair of personals. Channing Frye? A nice player, but not a defensive stallwart.

    Also maybe if the Wizards had Jason Kidd and Ron Artest instead of Arenas & Jamison they wouldn’t need to use that kind of defensive scheme.

  43. Phillip

    Very fair point.

    No he wouldn’t guard more than one player at a time, but the chance that you can use him on the other teams’ best player rises sharply. For me, that’s the big issue.

    Funneling argument….i totally see your point. You wouldn’t use that strategy with Eddy Curry for the same reason you wouldn’t put Jamal Crawford on Kobe Bryant all game. I just wonder which player would then have less defensive value?

    Clearly Im in the minority on this one. but this conversation has been helpful just the same. Thank you for having it.

  44. cherokee_acb

    This is the first time I write here. Thanks to this blog I’ve become, if not a Knicks fan(after all, they suck, and I don’t like rooting for losers), at least a guy that regularly follows the team with interest.

    I’ve enjoyed the Jeffries discussion so far. Here are my 2 cents on it. I can see Jeffries versatility is useful when your PF or SG can defend opposing SFs. That was the case of Jamison, Butler and even Daniels; can you expect the same from Knicks players? Maybe from Crawford or Lee, but hardly from Francis or Frye, which limits flexibility.

    The second cent is about versatitily and Dan Rosembaum ratings. His adjusted +/- basically averages out the contributions from a player at all the positions he plays, even if he’s playing/defending out of his ideal position. Versatile players tend to change positions a lot, so I would expect the adjusted +/- to underestimate their true defensive ability.

  45. Phillip

    Not exactly Cherokee

    Those ratings only rate players that defended at X position. It doesn’t rate the fact that Y player has NO possible hope of guarding any particular position.

    Meaning, sometimes a player like Darius Miles is forced to guard positions that he isn’t BEST at, but that he CAN do.

    When his ratings drop for doing that, he’s penalized.

    A player like Joel Przybilla has no hope of guarding other positions and because he doesn’t attempt something he’d fail at, you don’t see the negative data that would hurt his overall numbers.

    So while you bring up a great point, it doesn’t address my issue.

  46. Kiya

    KnickerBlogger?s Official Take on the Jeffries Signing:

    1. Has Thomas overpaid for Jeffries?

    In my opinion NO! Jefferies have so much to offer this Knick Team with his experience in scouting his next game oponents, his versatility to play TEAM-BALL, and to play for a man he idol since a child.

    2. Do we need Jeffries?

    The Knicks need Jefferies versatile talents on and off the court. He is young and experience so he can fit in with the Knicks veterans, plus relate well with the Knicks 2nd year players and Rookies. I will not be suprise if President/Coach Isiah put a lineup of PG-Marbury, SG-Jefferies, SF-Balkman, PF-Lee, and C-Curry, on the court to slow down the Lebrons, Kobe, Pierce, Ray Allen, T-Mac, Melo, and Wades in the league in the 2nd half of a game.

    3. Does this make sense on a team level?

    With the Knicks it make more sense than ever.
    Everyone keep speaking on Jefferies defensive efforts (as they did with Boris Diaw), when the best part of Jefferies all-around skillz is that he is a “Team-Player” a “Team-Baller” not a scorer.
    The Knicks have TWO Complimentary Players on their Roster in David Lee & Jared Jefferies.
    Hopefully, Renaldo Balkman will learn in his rookie season the importance of being a complimentary player on the court just being around those two players. Does that make sense?

    4)And Kiya, the fact that Isiah has managed to acquire his top three talents does not say much if those top three talents aren?t good fits for the team.
    Not saying they AREN?T, just saying that the fact that Thomas has picked up the players he?s gone after doesn?t exactly, well, MEAN anything.

    Pacer Coach Isiah Thomas suprised me three seasons in a row. Isiah Thomas wanted Steve Jackson and a Star PG, but settled on PG-Anthony Johnson to go along with Artest and J.O’Neal.
    When those players were aquired and J.O’Neal resigned to the Pacers Coach Isiah was Fired weeks later.

    President Isiah Thomas aquired SG-Crawford to go alongside of Marbury in the backcourt. What astonished me the most was the only SG in Marbury NBA Career that co-existed with Marbury in the backcourt is Crawford.
    President Isiah Thomas actually knew what the Marbury/Crawford backcourt needed the most from their SF, and Isiah picked that SF up in the 2nd round of the draft (Trevor Ariza). Although, Ariza was very young and had alot to learn in the NBA however, his rookie hustle on stopping the passing lane, rebounding, assists, and team personality made him the most likable person in the lockerroom by his teammates.
    So Isiah Thomas not only knows his young Talents he have a better clue on what players mesh with his STAR-PG (Marbury).

    5) I want to say this about Jeffries? offensive game. One way to make an inferior offensive player slightly more valuable than he normally is, is to run more often. Halfcourt sets are murder on guys who can?t shoot. But you get then out in transition and it?s dunk/layup city. It?s really hard to screw those up.

    This 2006-7 Knick Roster is somewhat similar to the Wizards Roster, only thing is the Knicks have high Scorers at the Center, PF, SG, and PG. Whats been missing on this Knick Team is a “Plan-System” to build a chemistry of players with.
    Wizard Coach Eddie Jordan got his “Plan-System” running well his second season as a coach when he got all three players playing on his page (Arenas, Hughes, and Jamison). The rest of the Wizards Roster formed around those three Players to make the Coach system work.
    This is what President/Coach Isiah Thomas expects from Jared Jefferies.
    The “Uptempo” game that Isiah keep mentioning this offseason would be dynamic for Jefferies, Lee, Nate, Frye, Jalen, and Balkman. How do Marbury, Crawford, Francis, Curry, James, Malik Rose, and Taylor fit into an “Uptempo Scenerio” I really dont know.

  47. Count Zero

    Kiya -

    I’m not sure I can make any sense out of that at all…

    First, to this comment…
    “President Isiah Thomas aquired SG-Crawford to go alongside of Marbury in the backcourt. What astonished me the most was the only SG in Marbury NBA Career that co-existed with Marbury in the backcourt is Crawford.”
    It’s nice that they “co-existed” but unfortunately, they sucked as a team because a) neither of them could play defense and b)both of them took too many jumpers with 19 seconds left on the shot clock.
    “President Isiah Thomas actually knew what the Marbury/Crawford backcourt needed the most from their SF, and Isiah picked that SF up in the 2nd round of the draft (Trevor Ariza). Although, Ariza was very young and had alot to learn in the NBA however, his rookie hustle on stopping the passing lane, rebounding, assists, and team personality made him the most likable person in the lockerroom by his teammates.

    So Isiah Thomas not only knows his young Talents he have a better clue on what players mesh with his STAR-PG (Marbury).”

    Again, if your only point is that Ariza didn’t ruffle Starbury’s feathers, then I guess you have me. But to your assertion that he was “what the Marbury/Crawford backcourt needed the most from their SF”, I say “What are you smoking?” The deal with Ariza was that he was a project from the 2nd round. He had nice length, was unselfish and a ton of defensive energy. What he did not have was a shot, or any appreciable knowledge of the game. The hope was that he would develop both with practice. He hasn’t. Ariza is not a starting SF on any NBA team with his present skill set, nor does it look like he will ever be one. Thus, he is not the perfect SF to play with any backcourt.

    And you conclude with this:
    “The ?Uptempo? game that Isiah keep mentioning this offseason would be dynamic for Jefferies, Lee, Nate, Frye, Jalen, and Balkman.”

    So it would be great six players who will not be on the court together. Tell me what your envisioned rotations are? Is it safe to say that the most likely rotations will include: Marbury, Francis, Jefferies, Frye, Curry, Crawford, Lee, Rose and James? Nate will be lucky if he sees 10 minutes a game unless someone gets traded. Same for Balkman. One can only hope that Jalen never sees the light of day.

    So basically, you’re arguing that this trade is a great boon for a group of 2nd and 3rd string players, am I correct? Personally, I don’t see any chemistry here at all — in fact, this has got to be the most mismatched roster ever to be formed. As has already been pointed out, if you were going after Jefferies, why did you draft Balkman in the first round? One can only hope that several of these players will be moved before the season starts…but I don’t see how that’s even possible at this point.

  48. knicky

    Things are looking up. We now have no players forced to play out of position (except Francis- who is such a great talent it just might work) We have great size, great athleticism, and so far good attitudes. There are better individual players in the the league but NO ONE will be deeper from 1 – 12.

  49. kjb

    Phillip: Either you’re misreading or I wasn’t clear in my article: the Wizards DON’T use the funneling system on any kind of consistent basis — that has been the source of considerable debate within the organization. Every NBA team uses force rules (the Wizards included) to some degree, but the Wizards use lots and lots of defenses. Some within the organization would prefer a simpler scheme similar to what they do in San Antonio, Chicago, Houston, and what they did in Detroit under Larry Brown. Especially in 04-05, Haywood was cleaning up all kinds of crap because the perimeter defenders could not stay in front of their men. When Haywood left the floor that season, the defense fell apart.

    As for the crediting of shots defended, if Arenas funneled Marbury to Haywood, and Haywood challenged the miss, most likely it would be shared credit/blame on the shot.

    As for centers being more valuable than perimeter players on the defensive end — it’s just a fact. They face more shots, more total possessions, and therefore have a greater opportunity to influence opponent shooting percentages. A smart coach (like Larry Brown in Detroit, or Popovich, or Rick Carlisle, or Jeff Van Gundy, or Riley, etc., etc.) designs his defense around that fact.

  50. kjb

    Phillip wrote:

    KJB:

    As I said before, some players are SO good that (as you asid) you can?t let them go no matter what. Some players are so bad, you can?t keep them no matter what.

    But in the middle is a group of players where them being there actually matters. It?s the difference between Vince Carters horrid numbers in Toronto and his explosion in NJ.

    We know there?s a value in a player being happy, just as we know that all of us are more PRODCUTIVE at our jobs when we?re happy.

    I think Jeffries fits in that group of players where it might be a tie-breaking vote to keep him or let him go based on his desire to be elsewhere.

    But that?s just my view.

    ——————-

    I can understand the reasoning, and in the abstract I’d probably agree. However, (and this is something Knicks fans should like about him) he’s someone who’s going to do his best no matter what’s going on around him. He never complains, never makes excuses, never blames someone else. It’s one of his best qualities, in my opinion. Had the Wizards matched, he’d have come back to Washington and played his ass off for the Wizards — and the Wizards’ decision makers know that. Now that they haven’t matched, he’ll go to New York and play his ass off for the Knicks. The bottom line is the dollars — the Wizards don’t think he’s worth the cost (not just salary, but also the commitment of resources which they’ll then be unable to use on someone else in the future).

  51. Kiya

    Excuse me fellows but this Post caught my eyes.

    KnickerBlogger?s Official Take on the Jeffries Signing

    There is not much to say other than it was a Great Signing by the Knicks.

    1. Has Thomas overpaid for Jeffries?

    NO! alot of missing tools that Isiah Thomas need for his roster Jared Jefferies brings. Jefferies is far from being the best player in the NBA however every NBA team knows the type of effort and skillz Jefferies put on the court each night so the contract inwhich Thomas presented Jefferies with is tradeable. Locking Jefferies up to a 5 year contract maybe poor on Jefferies part, but brilliant on Isiah Thomas behalf.

    2. Do we need Jeffries?

    The Knicks need players of Jefferies style and performance each night on the court and off the court. Jefferies is a young experience NBA player that can play alongside of the Knicks veterans, plus relate well with the Knicks 2nd year players and rookies. So the value of need on Jefferies in a Knick uniform may become priceless. The thought of having young 24 year old Jefferies playing beside young frontcourt talent like Channing Frye, David Lee, Curry, and Balkman for season to come is a very bright spot for the Knick organization.

    3. Does this make sense on a team level?

    Every sports writer comments on Jared Jefferies lately only seemed to be about his versatile Defense when the best part of Jefferies skillz is that he is a “TEAM-PLAYER” a “Team Baller” a “Team Role Player”, and a well Complimentary Player for his team. The Knicks acquiring Jared Jefferies to their roster now have two well played Complimentary players on their roster in “Lee & Jeff”. So dont be suprise in the 2006-7 season if the Knicks coach put in a lineup of PG-Marbury, SG-Jefferies, SF-Balkman, PF-Lee, and C-Curry vs the Lebrons, Kobe, T-Mac, Melo, Ray Allen, Pierce, and Wade. To have such versatility on a team makes good sense to me.

    4) And Kiya, the fact that Isiah has managed to acquire his top three talents does not say much if those top three talents aren?t good fits for the team.
    Not saying they AREN?T, just saying that the fact that Thomas has picked up the players he?s gone after doesn?t exactly, well, MEAN anything.

    I have yet to hear about Isiah Thomas doing something that 3-NBA Teams failed to do? In Marbury NBA Career the only SG that (Kiya) my B-Ball eyes seen Marbury co-exist with well in the backcourt was SG-Crawford. And if you noticed Isiah 2nd round pick “Trevor Ariza” play the same way of a young hometown favorite player inwhich Isiah been watching for the past several years. That would pickup the defense level for his backcourt of Marbury/Crawford. One would call it coinsident.

    5) I want to say this about Jeffries? offensive game. One way to make an inferior offensive player slightly more valuable than he normally is, is to run more often. Halfcourt sets are murder on guys who can?t shoot. But you get then out in transition and it?s dunk/layup city. It?s really hard to screw those up.

    This “UPTEMPO” system that President/Coach Isiah Thomas say he will run this season will be the challenge of Isiah comments.
    I also agree that a quicker tempo would uplift Jared Jeferies offense and benefit other players like Lee, Frye, Jalen, and Nate.
    The question is can Marbury, Crawford, and Francis make lob passes to their teammates running the floor???

  52. Kiya

    KnickerBlogger?s Official Take on the Jeffries Signing

    There is not much to say other than it was a Great Signing by the Knicks.

    1. Has Thomas overpaid for Jeffries?

    NO! alot of missing tools that Isiah Thomas need for his roster Jared Jefferies brings. Jefferies is far from being the best player in the NBA however every NBA team knows the type of effort and skillz Jefferies put on the court each night so the contract inwhich Thomas presented Jefferies with is tradeable. Locking Jefferies up to a 5 year contract maybe poor on Jefferies part, but brilliant on Isiah Thomas behalf.

    2. Do we need Jeffries?

    The Knicks need players of Jefferies style and performance each night on the court and off the court. Jefferies is a young experience NBA player that can play alongside of the Knicks veterans, plus relate well with the Knicks 2nd year players and rookies. So the value of need on Jefferies in a Knick uniform may become priceless. The thought of having young 24 year old Jefferies playing beside young frontcourt talent like Channing Frye, David Lee, Curry, and Balkman for season to come is a very bright spot for the Knick organization.

    3. Does this make sense on a team level?

    Every sports writer comments on Jared Jefferies lately only seemed to be about his versatile Defense when the best part of Jefferies skillz is that he is a “TEAM-PLAYER” a “Team Baller” a “Team Role Player”, and a well Complimentary Player for his team. The Knicks acquiring Jared Jefferies to their roster now have two well played Complimentary players on their roster in “Lee & Jeff”. So dont be suprise in the 2006-7 season if the Knicks coach put in a lineup of PG-Marbury, SG-Jefferies, SF-Balkman, PF-Lee, and C-Curry vs the Lebrons, Kobe, T-Mac, Melo, Ray Allen, Pierce, and Wade. To have such versatility on a team makes good sense to me.

    4) And Kiya, the fact that Isiah has managed to acquire his top three talents does not say much if those top three talents aren?t good fits for the team.
    Not saying they AREN?T, just saying that the fact that Thomas has picked up the players he?s gone after doesn?t exactly, well, MEAN anything.

    I have yet to hear about Isiah Thomas doing something that 3-NBA Teams failed to do? In Marbury NBA Career the only SG that (Kiya) my B-Ball eyes seen Marbury co-exist with well in the backcourt was SG-Crawford. And if you noticed Isiah 2nd round pick “Trevor Ariza” play the same way of a young hometown favorite player inwhich Isiah been watching for the past several years. That would pickup the defense level for his backcourt of Marbury/Crawford. One would call it coinsident.

    5) I want to say this about Jeffries? offensive game. One way to make an inferior offensive player slightly more valuable than he normally is, is to run more often. Halfcourt sets are murder on guys who can?t shoot. But you get then out in transition and it?s dunk/layup city. It?s really hard to screw those up.

    This “UPTEMPO” system that President/Coach Isiah Thomas say he will run this season will be the challenge of Isiah comments.
    I also agree that a quicker tempo would uplift Jared Jeferies offense and benefit other players like Lee, Frye, Jalen, and Nate.
    The question is can Marbury, Crawford, and Francis make lob passes to their teammates running the floor???

  53. knicky

    You will all become believers – this team will be able to run or bang out halfcourt scores. James’ immobility can become a plus defensively if he uses all his fouls to clog the middle and prevent penetration. jalen will become the crunch time offensive assasin and if Q regains his 3 ball – watch out! The rotation will be unusual in that the youngsters will play early in the game and the vets will close games. You also now have the ability to guard the leagues premier wing players with JJ2, Balkman and has everyone slept on the tremendous defensive growth by Q last year? It will all come together this year and guess what? in 2 years we may actually have a payroll under 100 mil! (is LJ still on the books?)

  54. Brian Cronin

    Yeah, if all things are equal, centers are more important than perimeter defenders. It’s just how the game is set up (defense around the basket is more valuable than defense away from the basket).

    Doesn’t mean that a good perimeter defender is not a better defender than a poor inside defender, just that, if both players are close, generally speaking the inside defender is the “better defender.”

    None of this, though, means that Jeffries is not a good defender. Or even the best defender on the Knicks.

  55. Kiya

    Knicky, I have to agree with you on alot of Knick-Fans will become believers this season.

    Jerome James will suprise alot of people, with the addition of Jefferies to the roster Balkman Rookie mistakes in fouling wont affect the team.
    The only thing that worries me the most is the Knicks FT percentage will have a large affect on their WIN/Lost record if it is below 65%.
    NBA Teams will have to Foul this Knick Roster to stop President/Coach Isiah Thomas system of easy baskets.

  56. kjb

    I guess there are a couple ways of looking at Jerome James. The first is to say that at age 30 he just had the worst year of his career. Which is really saying something considering how crappy his career has been. He was overweight, unmotivated, and showed basically no sign that he would ever be an even reasonably competent professional basketball player. On the other hand — there’s no place to go but up. He couldn’t possibly be as bad in 06-07 as he was in 05-06. If he can somehow return to his career norms, he’d probably be better than playing 4-on-5 — at least on most nights.

  57. knicky

    Y’all just don’t get it. JJ will thrive for 2 reasons: Butler is gone and IT is player friendly coach. JJ is now the 2nd option – period. Means he gets many quality minutes. Perfect for him because he was never a starter anyway. But most of all he will respond to IT. We all know how hard it is to produce for a Boss we don’t paticularly care for. Yeah I know that it shouldn’t matter when you make the kind of cheddar these guys make – but thats another story. I can’t believe we all have forgotten how soft we were up the middle (hmmmm), now the force is back with us – teams will begin to fear dribble penetration against NY.

  58. Kiya

    knicky Said: I can?t believe we all have forgotten how soft we were up the middle (hmmmm), now the force is back with us – teams will begin to fear dribble penetration against NY.

    Kiya say: That will put a big change in the Knicks Defense when James slow down the slashers and inside postups. Plus Jefferies, Lee, and Balkman prevent the inside penetration to the hoop that will force alot of teams to take just jumpshots throughout the game on the Knicks.
    The Knicks Defense is what made them lose two seasons in a row not having an inside presence.
    So I must agree that even backup C-Jerome James could add to a Knicks turn around season to success.

  59. knicky

    Thankyou Kiya and If I were Isiah I would feel like a kid in a candy store because he has what Larry Brown wanted – a team of his players and his players only. It is truly put up or shut up time for IT . All of his aquisitions with the exception of Malik Rose wanted to come to NY. Another point is that the Knicks (except Marbury/Francis) are a team without duplication – every player is unique in his own way which automatically gives every player a role he can fulfill and eliminates crying for playing time. I see Marbury thriving in a run and gun offense especially when he is on the floor with Lee. What he lacks as a halfcourt point guard he will make up for with his fullcourt offense.

  60. Kiya

    http://www.washtimes.com/sports/20060814-011045-1040r.htm

    We already did our daily vote on the above article by “Tom Knott” plus analyze his every comment on http://www.ezekielbearsports.com/bbs
    The conclusion was another Isiah Knick-Hater plus a Writer that is a Washington Wizard Fan.

    The stats that the Knicks need from “ENFORCER” Jerome James this season will not be found in the regular NBA Stats record, but if he lead the Knicks in the majority of Technicals this season I guess many may say that is Bad.
    So all I could say is the Knicks will benefit from Jerome James intimidation downlow.

  61. KNICKNACK

    Well, this is the most Knick hating site I’ve every seen. Sign this, not that guy, I like him, Larry Brown’s our savouir. I’ve been a Knick fan for over 20 years, and things haven’t been worst, but I don’t sit around and pick apart every move every missed feed into the post by Marbury.

    I SUPPORT MY TEAM!!!!!! Yes, winning would be nice, we all know that it’s not going to turn around overnight. If it takes you 5 miles to walk into the center of the woods, it will also take you 5 miles to walk out of the woods.

    I now live in the DC Metro area, and watched the last regular season game the Wizards played the Cavs. And this non-dementional player everyone is hating on, helped leadd the Wiz to the victory. Jefferies shut LeBron down in the first half and did so many things that didn’t show up in the box score. We used to have players like that, anyone remember Charles Oakley, Kurt Thomas. The kid is young and if he can develop a mid range jumper his game soar.

    Let’s be more supportie of what we have right now, that includes Zeke. Say what you will, nobody thought when he took over that he’d be able to move any of the huge contracts we had. Sure you’ll say he replaced them with equally high contracts, but I’m glad Shandon Anderson, Tim Thomas and Howard Eisley are gone.

    The sun shall shine on the Mecca once again, and the Knicks will be a contender in the East.

  62. KnickerBlogger

    KNICKNACK – Imagine if Washington, Jefferson, Franklin & the rest of the Founding Fathers decided to support their King instead of ‘hating’ their government. If people only spoke positively, we’d never have progress.

  63. Kiya

    Jerome James will come into the 2006-7 season and give the Knicks the same type of strength & Power under the boards as the Nets C-Collins give to the Nets Team.

    Would I rather have Jackie Butler than Jerome James? Yes! but! I would rather have Jerome James on my side in the Postseason games cuz he is no push over in the paint.
    Jerome James is Pure Ruff-Neck, and probably the best Tandem for Channing Frye in the frontcourt.
    The Knicks secret weapon Frontcourt players on Shaq, Big-Ben, Duncan, Yao, the Mavs, Nuggets, and Pistons would be:
    C-Jerome James
    PF-Frye
    SF-Lee
    SG-Jalen

  64. knicky

    Judging a player only by his stats is like determining a kids value by loking at his SOL scores. Zeke is right it is about CHEMISTRY. Are you old enough or did you watch film of the last Knick championship team? No super talents (maybe CLyde) but alot of guts and effeciency. I know Marbury is not Mr. Efficiency but he can be very inspirational & exciting and a guy like JJ will respond to that kind of player. YOU WILL ALL BECOME BELIEVERS! Keep believing Kiya baby! We are going to the Promised Land!

  65. knicky

    And by the way – ya’ll rememember the mini winning streak last year? Repeat after me – Marbury to Lee, Lee to Marbury. They are going to morph into one of the most effective combinations in the NBA.

  66. KNICKNACK

    KNICKNACK – Imagine if Washington, Jefferson, Franklin & the rest of the Founding Fathers decided to support their King instead of ?hating? their government. If people only spoke positively, we?d never have progress.

    Knickerblogger “hate” is such a strong word for any comparison to basketball. This blog is like the DNC, complain, complain, complain. It’s like ” Hey look, Isaih made a move today, let’s watch it blow up. That’s not what being a fan is all about. Let’s talk about the line up flexibility we have in NY. We can go very small and fast, our we can go HUGE!!! I’m very excited about this upcoming season. We have a lot of young players and yes we have some bums. Having a player like Jefferies is a good thing as defense can become contigous.

    Basketball as New Yorkers knew it has just gotten better. We now have one of the deepest benches in the league, but no one talks about that. We have players that have been proven scorers, and some the most atheletic players on the court. Do I believe we’ll go deep in the play ofs this year? No, but I believe the games will be more fun to watch.

    I could bash Zeke, LB, and all the way back to Checkettes. But, what does that do to the entertainment factor of the game. All the ranting and raving has yet get anything done.

    Like our founding fathers we have a loyality to our own, to what we created. The knick fans “ARE” the NY Knicks. You can put anyone in a uniform, but the fans stay the same.

  67. knicky

    Knickknack – you got it brother. I am more amped about this season than any since Patrick left. The pressure is on and the players are positive. The energy is bound to be off the scale because the team will fight for IT since he made the deals to bring them to MSG. In a way it is the perfect scenario – all the stat wizards don’t understand the Human element at work. Dolan did. Long live Dolan, long live Dolan…

  68. Kiya

    I like the part about the Knicks “BENCH” because that is where the Knicks SUCCESS lies in the 2006-7 Season.
    And yes’ I agree bigtime that Jefferies Defensive effort on court will be contagious to all the frontcourt players that even Curry will do his best to provide some defense in each game.

    The Knicks Roster is full enough to go BIG and small against some of the dominate teams in the league.
    The only problem one could see on this Knick roster is will Zeke “PACIFY” Steve Francis by letting him start along with Marbury.

    The Main objective for this Knicks Team success this season will be President/Coach Isiah Thomas playing each Knick Player according to their “Strengths & Skillz” with their teammates.

    Steve Francis is a Natural PG.
    Jamal Crawford is a Natural Pure SG.
    Stephon Marbury is a Combo-Guard that can shine in both positions on offense.

    When you play Francis & Crawford out of their Natural Position you will see alot of FLAWS in their game and skillz on the court.

    Marbury is a Player that like to FEEL-OUT his oponent at the Start of the game at the PG position.
    Crawford has become the same way but in the SG position.
    The Knicks 0-5 start and 23-59 season has alot to do with not Starting Marbury/Crawford Backcourt Tandem (When those two offensively could be unstoppable with a 7.0 Curry and 6.11 Frye in their lineup).

    So why Pacify Steve Francis when Francis have the oportunity to WIN the “6th-Man of the Year Award” on this Knick Roster to bring his Value-Up in showcasing for a team that will let him Start. To not mess up the Knicks Chemistry of Marbury/Crawford Backcourt to a crying Francis I would take my chances on Nate Robinson & David Lee being the 6th-Man off the bench while Francis wear a suit to the game all season long.

    Look at the Spurs and the number-one underrated NBA Player of all time “SG-Finley” excepting the backseat to Bowen without a problem.

  69. KnickerBlogger

    As a Knick fan, I have to salute your devotion to this team, but ultimately this site is about real analysis, not blind devotion. There is so much negativity on this site, because that is what is happening in the real world. 5 straight losing seasons, culminating in the worst season in 20 years. The GM has become the coach and is by the owner’s decree on his last leg. The Knicks are currently and have been over the last few years, the laughing stock of the league by statheads and non-statheads alike.

    I know I won’t convince you that this team is in shambles, and I know that you won’t be able to convince us that this team will be exciting and competetive in 2007. So there is no point in continuing the discussion, at least until the season starts.

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