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Friday, April 18, 2014

The Last of the Melo-hicans

Once upon a time, in the midst of Melo hysteria, this blog seemed like the sole bastion of reason. Mike Kurylo argued on more than one occasion that we should temper our expectations, that while Melo could improve the team, whether he would and just how much he would was an open question (1, 2). I don’t bring this up just to stir up poop. I do it to point out the irony of the phase shift that is already beginning to occur. By the end of this season, KnickerBlogger’s constituency may contain some of the last of the Melo-hicans.

For evidence, just look at this extremely unscientific poll that the Knicks posted (and later pulled) through Facebook. I guess they didn’t realize that by default Facebook polls allow you to add your own response. How about this Onion article, or this jersey, both highly circulated around the spheres of the web? There is plenty of “real analysis” (idle speculation?) on the subject of Anthony potentially disrupting the Knicks’ offense. Deservedly or not, the kettle is heating up.

“Are you Linsane?” you might ask. “Or to be more accurate, are you not Linsane? Because I am! We’re in for a second half tear. The Melo hate will be dead in a month.” That may well be the case, but I’m trying very hard to not be Linsane here because as it seemed every player at All-Star Weekend pointed out, Jeremy Lin is a great story. It’s easy to get caught up in a story, for it to consume you for it to make you forget reality. The reality is that even during this recent win streak (which, by the way, does not even match the win streak we had last year), the Knicks weren’t that great. They won a lot of close games, and they played a lot of bad teams.

So far this season, the Knicks have had the second easiest schedule. Pythagorean wins, a formula that predicts wins and losses based on points scored and allowed, adjusted for strength of schedule, predicts the Knicks to end the season with a record of 31-35, potentially missing the playoffs.

Even if you only look at games since Lin’s emergence, the trusty formula predicts that they will finish the season 34-32, likely making the playoffs only to meet their doom against Miami or Chicago.

Let’s reconsider the evidence. Stoudemire’s season has been an unmitigated disaster.  Whether it’s his redundancy with Chandler on offense or his diminished athleticism, there is little indication (beyond Stoudemire’s word) that we will ever see the Stoudemire of 2010, let alone the dominating force STAT was in Phoenix. Statistics call him an average player right now, but stats have a difficult time measuring a guy’s defense, and that is the area Stoudemire struggles most. It’s a big problem when you have an average player who makes three times the average salary.

The evidence against Anthony is murkier, but even if he does return as a strong contributor, the Knicks would have to be great in order to move up to the 6th seed, and a sixth seed would likely require 36 wins at minimum (Hollinger predicts it will take 38 wins) and thus a 19-12 close. With the Knicks rough remaining schedule, even you optimists must admit that escaping a first round matchup with Miami or Chicago is at best a 50/50 proposition.

Getting back to stories though, with the Jeremy Lin story quaking in our hearts, we can’t help but believe that this team is heading for great things. If those great things do not happen – if, for example, we finish the season just above .500 and are out of the playoffs in five games – many will respond like children who receive disappointing Christmas gifts. They will lash out, and when they do, it will not be at the logical target. It will be at the easiest target.

What would make this situation especially unique is how all the normal scapegoats – the guys who pay the price when a team disappoints – are very difficult to blame.

The first man on the firing line is generally the coach, but D’Antoni is no longer such an easy target. Lin has often praised his coach, and many have speculated that a big reason for Lin’s emergence is D’Antoni’s system. These factors make it difficult to imagine D’Antoni as the fall guy.

The next part of the equation is the relative infancy of the Miami Heat model that the Knicks have followed. Normally, teams in possession of stars have spare parts and draft picks that they can move. However, due to our finagling for cap room and the assets we gave up in the Denver trade, we have little in the way of spare parts. Shumpert and Fields have some value, but their tiny contracts make it difficult to match salaries, as does Fields’ close relationship with Lin.

That leaves our two stars, which puts the Knicks in really rare air if you think about it. I can’t think of another time when a player who was top 20 in the league in terms of name recognition, was in or near his prime, and did not request the trade himself, was on the block.

Stoudemire, with his uninsured contract and his major struggles at both ends of the floor, seems like the easiest target, and Philadelphia inquired about him early this season. It’s unlikely, however, that a Stoudemire trade would net anything more than, say, Brand and Evan Turner or something similar. It’s hard to sell such a move as an upgrade.

Then there’s Anthony. We were 9-15 when Anthony got hurt, 1-2 since his return, and 8-1 in between. The easiest storyline with regard to the Knicks, if they do not “gel” into a top team, will be that Anthony is overrated and/or a poor fit.

The elephant in the room is the Knicks’ poor performance to open the season. That’s the primary factor that makes the lampooning of Anthony a reality and the trading of Anthony a possibility. We lost a lot of games to a lot of really bad teams. Most logical arguments suggest that, while Anthony hasn’t been the what the frothing masses expected, nor has his play justified the pieces the Knicks gave up for him, he also is not the primary cause of the Knicks’ struggles. I’m not even saying trading Anthony would hurt the Knicks, just that making him out to be the cause of all our troubles is both illogical and likely. If you think the Knicks organization is above acting rashly, you must be new to this franchise, because the last decade has been full of such kneejerk decisions.

149 comments on “The Last of the Melo-hicans

  1. Jim Cavan

    Great piece, Max. Fair perspective, leaving us with the only thing we’ve ever really been able to hang our hats on anyway: hope. Only now, it kinda-sorta seems real.

  2. cgreene

    I am having difficulty understanding the premise of this article.

    One bit of speculation on this site that I find frustrating is the part where people say that Amare will never regain his athleticism. We really have no idea what Amare’s issues are and whether it is medical or what. Maybe he will and maybe he won’t We should pretty much assume we don’t know. He has not had any knee problems whatsoever so to assume that is slowing him down seems misguided to me. The lack of summer prep, added weight and his back healing seem more likely and that would lead to him actually trying to regain some variation of his athletic ability.

    Anyway. The pressure is on this team. Go out and beat good teams for the next 31 games, make a stand in the playoffs or most likely lose your coach.

  3. outoftowner

    I don’t think its fair to say that Melo isn’t a primary cause of the Knicks’ struggles. Even if he was making the minimum, and we didn’t give up anything to get him, having a guy with a TS of .499 on a usage rate of 30 would be a big explanation for the 24th ranked offense.

  4. Thomas B.

    I think the Knicks can secure a top 4 seed. All they have to do is close the 4 game gap with Philly to win the Atlantic. The Knicks play the Sixers two more times. The Sixers have an easier second half, but I think their lack of offense is going to catch up with them. They’ve played good defense though.

  5. Gideon Zaga

    Yeah right, how about the stupid coach who can’t put 2 and 2 together to make his players look good. I’m telling you guys, if you replaced Melo with Kobe, you’d still get the same result. All the players that Dantoni has ever had, do u really need the list, all of them have been better utilized elsewhere. Look at Zach Randolph, look at David Lee, look at Nate Robinson, seriously when are you guys going to stop with the excuses and talk about the real problem. People keep saying he has been adaptive. Really? adaptive to what, why do you think the guy and Steve Kerr always clashed in Phoenix. The guy said it himself, MDA wants to show his offense works, well hell effing yeah if you have Steve Nash running it, a first ballot hall of famer. lebron may never work in the traingle, melo will just like how lending works in the run and gun and Melo doesn’t. You really have to cater your offense to suit your best players, that’s why they are your best players, they come at a premium. As for Amare, I’m also starting to think his problems are also pg related, I’m sorry but Lin is not even the shoes of Steve Nash or any of the top 5. I will never root for my team to lose, but I wish I could so either Melo gets traded which will make me sad or the Coach gets fired. Many of you seem to forget that before Linsanity the team lost to the top 5 defenses by single digits. We were even up on the Celtics and the game got stolen from us by ridiculous out of this world shots by Pierce. I still have that game on DVR. Get this coach out of here, get me someone who can motivate, innovate and knows more than what to do with a pick and roll

  6. tmoneyny

    MKinLA:
    Who wouldn’t take Evan Turner and Elton Brand for Stat right now?

    The only issue is that we would be even more crowded on the wings. With Lin, Baron, Shump, Fields, JR, and Evan Turner, there wouldn’t be enough minutes. If we could flip Turner or another wing for a quality, young big (Taj Gibson?) then I think it’s a great deal. Brand won’t have to play the 5 like he has with Spencer Hawes missing time, and he turns into a massive expiring contract next year. That will free up space to get more complementary pieces.

  7. art vandelay

    Yeah, D´antoni does absolutely nothing with point guards…terribly underutilized: Raymond Felton and Chris Duhon have been worldbeaters better elsewhere, and Nash was better on Dallas. Oh, and if I recall didn´t Zach Randolph and Jamal Crawford play for D´antoni a grand total of maybe 8 games each.

  8. jon abbey

    Gideon Zaga:
    why do you think the guy and Steve Kerr always clashed in Phoenix.

    this is a stupid comment, Kerr was never a GM before or since and certainly didn’t cover himself in glory by saddling D’Antoni with the carcass of Shaq soon after he arrived. the two overlapped for less than a year in Phoenix, and the whole time Sarver was undercutting the franchise by being stunningly cheap with the role players they so desperately needed.

  9. cgreene

    We’ve talked a lot about the confidence of players like Melo and Amare and that being part of their disappointing play, but I actually think that MDA has lost his confidence a little bit as a coach. Obviously this is pure speculation but it seems as if he is the one messenger on the team that is reliant on the excuses of gel-ing and practicing more than the players and more than I hear coming from other teams’ coaches. If your leader is full of those types of excuses then that will trickle into the team when they lose games especially ones to bad teams. I generally think he is a decent coach. But I think the last few years have taken a toll on him.

  10. Gideon Zaga

    You guys keep lamenting the Melo trade, while not looking at the root of the problem, MDA was barely above .500 with the all stars who were traded for the one bum. Now tell me looking at last year’s team and this year’s team position by position who would you rather have. Oh right my bad,my bad, you would rather have Gallo over Melo. Sorry I forgot that and im sure if thats the case you would rather have Mozgov over Tyson, because guess what Tyson aint coming here cos of Gallo. Oh and you know what Denver did with the guys who they got from the trade, yeah far over .500 while they were barely .500 in New York. I wander what changed??? I was even starting to hear some rumblings about Gallo for all star. And take a look at both teams, there is no question which has the better roster. Forget if it fits or not, Shaq and Kobe never saw eye to eye or never fit either but they are still dubbed the greatest 1-2 punch in NBA history and also managed to win 3 championships. Now I’m sure if they could trade coaches together with players we’d have a different story. Oh and guess what, MDA would never have played our 2011 draft stats projected all star Kenneth Faried if we had him, just like he played Jeremy Lin only because Grunwald told him he had to because his the contract guarantee situation was coming up. And you call this a coach, I call him an offensive genius yes, so was Tex Winter, but not a Head Coach.

  11. art vandelay

    @10

    D´antoni came out prior to start of season (and reiterated this a week or two ago I believe) that the expectations for a championshipo were warranted and that they ought to be contending for the big prize…so if your claim is correct that he has lost confidence (in himself) as a coach, he certainly doesn´t appear to have in his current squad.

  12. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Gideon Zaga:
    Oh right my bad,my bad, you would rather have Gallo over Melo. Sorry I forgot that and im sure if thats the case you would rather have Mozgov over Tyson, because guess what Tyson aint coming here cos of Gallo.

    First, Stoudemire comes to NYC only because it’s NYC and (surprise) they offered him max money.

    Next, Carmelo comes to NYC only because it’s NYC and (surprise) they offered him max money. (If it wasn’t about the money, he would have waited ’til after the year so they wouldn’t have to destroy their roster to sign him.)

    Lastly, Chandler comes to NYC only because… of other players. Oh, and $58M over four years.

    There’s a flaw in that argument, and I’ll let you figure out where it resides.

  13. Nick C.

    Gideon Zaga: You guys keep lamenting the Melo trade, while not looking at the root of the problem, MDA was barely above .500 with the all stars who were traded for the one bum. Now tell me looking at last year’s team and this year’s team position by position who would you rather have. Oh right my bad,my bad, you would rather have Gallo over Melo. Sorry I forgot that and im sure if thats the case you would rather have Mozgov over Tyson, because guess what Tyson aint coming here cos of Gallo. Oh and you know what Denver did with the guys who they got from the trade, yeah far over .500 while they were barely .500 in New York. I wander what changed??? I was even starting to hear some rumblings about Gallo for all star. And take a look at both teams, there is no question which has the better roster. Forget if it fits or not, Shaq and Kobe never saw eye to eye or never fit either but they are still dubbed the greatest 1-2 punch in NBA history and also managed to win 3 championships. Now I’m sure if they could trade coaches together with players we’d have a different story. Oh and guess what, MDA would never have played our 2011 draft stats projected all star Kenneth Faried if we had him, just like he played Jeremy Lin only because Grunwald told him he had to because his the contract guarantee situation was coming up. And you call this a coach, I call him an offensive genius yes, so was Tex Winter, but not a Head Coach.

    Can I have the minute and a half of my life back?
    You really need to relax unless you want to become a parody of yourself with the one themed posts alllll the time.

  14. max fisher-cohen Post author

    Jim Cavan:
    Great piece, Max. Fair perspective, leaving us with the only thing we’ve ever really been able to hang our hats on anyway: hope. Only now, it kinda-sorta seems real.

    Haha, thanks Jim. I know the article is kind of a downer, and I do feel bad bringing in negativity to the thrill of having Jeremy Lin. I guess I’m one of those people who’s always preparing for worst-case scenarios. Past years have trained me to think that way, maybe.

  15. Gideon Zaga

    Not sure it will be all time since Jowles does it with stats, hoola will at least do it with melo bashing until he gets traded and Ted Nelson does it with well Ted Nelson.

    Nick C.: Can I have the minute and a half of my life back?
    You really need to relax unless you want to become a parody of yourself with the one themed posts alllll the time.

  16. Z

    Signing Jerome Jordan was a knee jerk reaction, huh? May as well add Isiah’s unceremonious waiving of Jared Jordan, too. (or was it another JJ signing (or two) that you were trying to link up to? :)

  17. thenamestsam

    Excellent article.

    tmoneyny: The only issue is that we would be even more crowded on the wings. With Lin, Baron, Shump, Fields, JR, and Evan Turner, there wouldn’t be enough minutes. If we could flip Turner or another wing for a quality, young big (Taj Gibson?) then I think it’s a great deal. Brand won’t have to play the 5 like he has with Spencer Hawes missing time, and he turns into a massive expiring contract next year. That will free up space to get more complementary pieces.

    I think you just made a strong argument for why this trade is way too good to be true. I don’t think you’re getting anything of value for Amare at this point. While I hold out hope that he’s still just warming up to this season, anyone who has watched him play has to have legitimate concerns that his athleticism is gone and he’s never going to be the same guy. Throw in his massive uninsurable contract, and you’re not getting back a guy like Turner.

  18. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Nick C.: Can I have the minute and a half of my life back?
    You really need to relax unless you want to become a parody of yourself with the one themed posts alllll the time.

    Have you seen the Patton Oswalt movie “Big Fan”? (It’s a must-see for the internet generation of metacritical sports fans.) In the beginning of the movie, Oswalt’s slave-to-the-local-teams character slaves over a notebook, composing a speech for his “call-in” for a talk radio program that is every bit as impassioned and insubstantial as you’d expect. This is how I imagine Gideon Zaga.

  19. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Z:
    Signing Jerome Jordan was a knee jerk reaction, huh? May as well add Isiah’s unceremonious waiving of Jared Jordan, too. (or was it another JJ signing (or two) that you were trying to link up to? :)

    Well, they’re paying Jerome Jordan (who has looked awesome so far) to sit the bench, so what’s the point, there?

  20. Gideon Zaga

    What flaw? the constants= NYC, Money. variables= players on the Knicks

    The Honorable Cock Jowles: First, Stoudemire comes to NYC only because it’s NYC and (surprise) they offered him max money.

    Next, Carmelo comes to NYC only because it’s NYC and (surprise) they offered him max money. (If it wasn’t about the money, he would have waited ’til after the year so they wouldn’t have to destroy their roster to sign him.)

    Lastly, Chandler comes to NYC only because… of other players. Oh, and $58M over four years.

    There’s a flaw in that argument, and I’ll let you figure out where it resides.

  21. max fisher-cohen Post author

    My bad, linked to the wrong JJ — Was supposed to be Jerome James! Not jerome jordan, jared jeffries, or jermaine jackson.

  22. jon abbey

    The Honorable Cock Jowles: First, Stoudemire comes to NYC only because it’s NYC and (surprise) they offered him max money.

    Next, Carmelo comes to NYC only because it’s NYC and (surprise) they offered him max money. (If it wasn’t about the money, he would have waited ’til after the year so they wouldn’t have to destroy their roster to sign him.)

    Lastly, Chandler comes to NYC only because… of other players. Oh, and $58M over four years.

    There’s a flaw in that argument, and I’ll let you figure out where it resides.

    the Amare and Chandler parts are correct, but Melo could have likely gone to any number of places for the same money if he hadn’t said early on he’d only extend in a few places (a bit similarly to Howard now).

  23. Gideon Zaga

    That’s quite generous considering how far less I imagine you.

    The Honorable Cock Jowles: Have you seen the Patton Oswalt movie “Big Fan”? (It’s a must-see for the internet generation of metacritical sports fans.) In the beginning of the movie, Oswalt’s slave-to-the-local-teams character slaves over a notebook, composing a speech for his “call-in” for a talk radio program that is every bit as impassioned and insubstantial as you’d expect. This is how I imagine Gideon Zaga.

  24. jon abbey

    here is a quote from D’Antoni from yesterday guaranteed to make my esteemed colleague THCJ’s head explode:

    “D’Antoni said. “We have to understand that Jeremy’s an unbelievable story. He’s gone from nothing to a really good player in the league. But he is a rookie. It is the first time he’s seeing things. And now we’re talking about him getting to the level of a Steve Nash or a Baron Davis or a Russell Westbrook or [Rajon] Rondo. Well, he’s still got to learn. … . He’ll have a learning curve.”

    BARON DAVIS, bitches.

  25. max fisher-cohen Post author

    BTW, for all ya’ll looking for someone to blame, the point was the Knicks really aren’t that bad! In fact, if we played like we have the last twelve games or so, across an entire 66 game season, the Knicks would finish 44-22. The problem is people aren’t going to see the difficult schedule or the early hole. They are going to see the final record and the likely first round playoff loss.

  26. max fisher-cohen Post author

    To add, if they had played like they did in those twelve games across the season so far, they would be 26-9.

  27. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    max fisher-cohen:
    To add, if they had played like they did in those twelve games across the season so far, they would be 26-9.

    And if they hadn’t played as they had in those twelve games, where would they be?

  28. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    jon abbey:
    here is a quote from D’Antoni from yesterday guaranteed to make my esteemed colleague THCJ’s head explode:

    “D’Antoni said. “We have to understand that Jeremy’s an unbelievable story. He’s gone from nothing to a really good player in the league. But he is a rookie. It is the first time he’s seeing things. And now we’re talking about him getting to the level of a Steve Nash or a Baron Davis or a Russell Westbrook or [Rajon] Rondo. Well, he’s still got to learn. … . He’ll have a learning curve.”

    BARON DAVIS, bitches.

    D’antoni’s an idiot if he thinks Baron Davis is even close to those other three PGs. He also failed to mention Chris Paul, who’s currently making his strong case against Magic and Stockton as the best point guard of all-time.

    You may enjoy the imagined smell of Davis’s unwashed bedsheets, but he’s not nearly as good as you think he is. I’m not about to throw out years of regular season mediocrity because he’s had a few good playoff runs.

    P.S. He’s 33 and has a bad back.

  29. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    jon abbey: right where you seem to wish they were.

    How would they have Ty Lawson, DeJuan Blair, Kawhi Leonard, or Kenneth Faried, cap flexibility, and years of first-round draft picks in that case?

  30. ruruland

    MFC, as if Melo and to a lesser extent MDA and Stat haven’t been in the firing line all year anyway?

    While I enjoyed parts of this piece, I guess I’m also confounded by its premise.

    If things go bad, Melo will be lampooned by the media, which will convince the front office to trade him with less than 100 games in a Knicks uniform (because the Knicks do illogical things like that)?

    Look, if you think Melo is going to shoot like he has the first part of the season, you should have long ago been trying to convince Grundwald to make any deal for him.

    But, there are already SO MANY people that call themselves Knicks fans that want Melo traded or spend a great deal of their posting time denigrating him.

  31. Will the Thrill

    If this means Davis will start or even play close to as many minutes as Lin, I’ve given D’antoni way too much credit than he deserves over the season.

    jon abbey:
    here is a quote from D’Antoni from yesterday guaranteed to make my esteemed colleague THCJ’s head explode:

    “D’Antoni said. “We have to understand that Jeremy’s an unbelievable story. He’s gone from nothing to a really good player in the league. But he is a rookie. It is the first time he’s seeing things. And now we’re talking about him getting to the level of a Steve Nash or a Baron Davis or a Russell Westbrook or [Rajon] Rondo. Well, he’s still got to learn. … . He’ll have a learning curve.”

    BARON DAVIS, bitches.

  32. ruruland

    The Honorable Cock Jowles: How would they have Ty Lawson, DeJuan Blair, Kawhi Leonard, or Kenneth Faried, cap flexibility, and years of first-round draft picks in that case?

    HCJ what is your second half prediction, given a relatively healthy stretch?

  33. max fisher-cohen Post author

    The Honorable Cock Jowles: And if they hadn’t played as they had in those twelve games, where would they be?

    Just looking at the games before the NJ game, they’d be 17-18 right now, which sounds weird, but Pythagorean wins suggests the Knicks should be 19-16 right now, so it’s a two game difference. Across an entire season, they’d be 28-38.

  34. max fisher-cohen Post author

    ruruland:
    MFC, as if Melo and to a lesser extent MDA and Stat haven’t been in the firing line all year anyway?

    While I enjoyed parts of this piece, I guess I’m also confounded by its premise.

    If things go bad, Melo will be lampooned by the media, which will convince the front office to trade him with less than 100 games in a Knicks uniform (because the Knicks do illogical things like that)?

    Look, if you think Melo is going to shoot like he has the first part of the season, you should have long ago been trying to convince Grundwald to make any deal for him.

    But, there are already SO MANY people that call themselves Knicks fans that want Melo traded or spend a great deal of their posting time denigrating him.

    Yeah, I concede that the trade part is a bit of a stretch, but there will be a ton of pressure on them to make a move. Will that result in them making a move? I guess probably not, barring a real disaster (i.e. missing the playoffs entirely with Melo continuing to struggle). That said, it wouldn’t surprise me given the fact that there just aren’t many other ways for the Knicks to “shake things up.”

  35. Loathing

    max fisher-cohen: Haha, thanks Jim. I know the article is kind of a downer, and I do feel bad bringing in negativity to the thrill of having Jeremy Lin. I guess I’m one of those people who’s always preparing for worst-case scenarios. Past years have trained me to think that way, maybe.

    Course it has. It has for all of us. We’re Knicks fans!

  36. ruruland

    max fisher-cohen: Yeah, I concede that the trade part is a bit of a stretch, but there will be a ton of pressure on them to make a move. Will that result in them making a move? I guess probably not, barring a real disaster (i.e. missing the playoffs entirely with Melo continuing to struggle). That said, it wouldn’t surprise me given the fact that there just aren’t many other ways for the Knicks to “shake things up.”

    If previous Knicks front offices were heeding the fan’s whims that probably explains the franchises “misfortune.”

    FWIW
    Denver’s record from ’04 to ’11 with Melo:295-190

    Win % of .608 (50 wins in 82 game season)

    Denver’s record from ’04 to ’11 with Melo on roster but injured: 32-33

    Win % of .493 (40 wins in 82 game season)

  37. DS

    No, no, no, no. HERE it is:
    http://games.espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=7ehzwy9

    Knicks get Harden as a shooting guard of the present and future and Perkins to solidify the front line. They get younger, deeper, and in my opinion, better.

    Nets get that 2nd star to keep DWill happy and to put on more billboards.

    OKC gets MarShon Brooks and Brook Lopez prob. a toss in. Lopez is a huge upgrade over Perkins esp. with Durant and Ibaka to pick up the slack on the boards and on D. The Harden loss hurts but they use him more like an instant offense bench player than a team cornerstone anyway.

  38. jon abbey

    I really think trying to analyze what has happened already in this Knicks season is kind of pointless, this is a different team from five games ago, and that was a different team from ten games before that.

    D’Antoni has all the pieces a coach could possibly want now short of one of the top 5 players in the game, one of the deepest teams in the league, and we’ll see what he can get out of them for the remainder of the year.

  39. jon abbey

    DS:
    No, no, no, no.HERE it is:
    http://games.espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=7ehzwy9

    Knicks get Harden as a shooting guard of the present and future and Perkins to solidify the front line.They get younger, deeper, and in my opinion, better.

    Nets get that 2nd star to keep DWill happy and to put on more billboards.

    OKC gets MarShon Brooks and Brook Lopez prob. a toss in.Lopez is a huge upgrade over Perkins esp. with Durant and Ibaka to pick up the slack on the boards and on D.The Harden loss hurts but they use him more like an instant offense bench player than a team cornerstone anyway.

    OKC would never do that, Harden is still only 22 years old (!!!).

  40. ruruland

    DS:
    No, no, no, no.HERE it is:
    http://games.espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=7ehzwy9

    Knicks get Harden as a shooting guard of the present and future and Perkins to solidify the front line.They get younger, deeper, and in my opinion, better.

    Nets get that 2nd star to keep DWill happy and to put on more billboards.

    OKC gets MarShon Brooks and Brook Lopez prob. a toss in.Lopez is a huge upgrade over Perkins esp. with Durant and Ibaka to pick up the slack on the boards and on D.The Harden loss hurts but they use him more like an instant offense bench player than a team cornerstone anyway.

    This is a joke, right?

    If we listen to the stat heads on this board Harden has been more important than Kevin Durant this year WS/48 (at least he led them until the last week or so).

    They use him just as the Spurs used Manu. He’s playing 32 minutes a game and FINISHing games. He’s clearly a cornerstone of that franchise. And given that he scores more efficiently and is a better defender and playmaker than Durant, how could you not?

  41. DS

    OK, OK. The Thunder prob. value him more than that. Would we throw in our beloved Landry or Shump Shump to get it done?

  42. ruruland

    jon abbey:
    I really think trying to analyze what has happened already in this Knicks season is kind of pointless, this is a different team from five games ago, and that was a different team from ten games before that.

    D’Antoni has all the pieces a coach could possibly want now short of one of the top 5 players in the game, one of the deepest teams in the league, and we’ll see what he can get out of them for the remainder of the year.

    There’s no question about it.

    Suns fans who’ve watched 99 percent of Amar’e career will tell you he’s bounced back each and every time he looked like he was about to fade off on the back end.

    Same thing goes for Melo.

    The only real similarity between the team that started 8-15 and today’s team is Chandler.

    Every other piece is either going to intrinsically improve, benefit from significantly improved playmaking and floor balance, and lower usage/responsibility (outside of Novak and Lin, perhaps).

    So far this team has gotten basically nothing (relative to historic capability) from Melo, Amar’e JR Smith, and Baron Davis. That is truly remarkable to think about.

  43. jon abbey

    DS:
    OK, OK. The Thunder prob. value him more than that.Would we throw in our beloved Landry or Shump Shump to get it done?

    OKC is not trading Harden, stop.

  44. ruruland

    DS:
    OK, OK. The Thunder prob. value him more than that.Would we throw in our beloved Landry or Shump Shump to get it done?

    Friendly wager that Melo outplays Harden in virtually every category heading down the stretch into the playoffs.

  45. ruruland

    It will be interesting to see how Knicks fans react when Melo puts up a month 1/2 similar to ones he’s had in the past.

    March ‘ 06: 30 ppg, 55% from field, 2.4apg, 2.1 tpg. (look at those offensive ratings http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/a/anthoca01/gamelog/2006/)

    Nov/Dec ’06 Pre-Iverson: 31.6ppg, 50.7 fg% 4.1 apg (http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/a/anthoca01/gamelog/2007/)

    Feb, March and April ’08: 26.1 ppg, 52.3 fg%, 40.8% 3pt, 3.5 apg, (http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/a/anthoca01/gamelog/2008/)

    Playoff month ’09: 27.8, 4.1 apg, .565 TS, 116 Orating

    Oct/Nov ’10: 32.7 ppg, 50.3 fg%, 3.6 apg, (http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/a/anthoca01/gamelog/2010/)

    There was a nine game stretch last year to push the Knicks into the playoffs but still not really comparable to much better, longer stretches of dominance Melo’s had the last six years.

  46. DS

    Your silence speaks volumes, Abbey.

    I can only conclude that your mind was just blown by the very real possibility that Orlando might be content to rebuild around Harden, Ryan Anderson, and some draft picks while OKC will be marching into the playoffs with D12, KD, Ibaka, Westbrook, and Sefolosha.

    How does that affect the Knicks you ask? The Heat never win a championship, LeBron becomes disgruntled, and uses his escape clause to come to NY in 2014.

  47. flossy

    If I were an NBA GM, you’d have to pry Harden from my cold, dead hands. An offer of Brook Lopez and MarShon Brooks would get hung up on so emphatically that your phone would catch fire.

  48. Frank

    An interesting thing about this whole Melo trade and the gutting of the team – we were all worried about depth (rightfully so), wondering how we were supposed to get a team together whose 2nd unit wasn’t D-League level.

    If anything, this season has shown that it is really pretty easy to fill spots 5-10 on a team. In the space of literally 3 months, we got Baron Davis (FWIW- still has to be considered a very good backup PG pickup), JR Smith, resurrected JJ. We drafted smartly and got what looks like 2 keepers in Shumpert and Harrellson. We got very lucky with J-Lin. And suddenly we are absolutely flush with talent, with an overall roster that is probably top 3-4 in the NBA in terms of pure talent.

    So was it really that bad that we traded the house away for Melo? Miami basically sold the house at bargain-basement prices to sign their big 3, and now they are 9 deep and pretty solid despite having nothing but small salaries and late draft picks.

    Dunno – if THCJ’s big argument against the way this team was built is the 18-17 Denver Nuggets (do not talk to me about injuries – everyone has had injuries), Ty Lawson (absolutely just killing it with a WS/48 of 0.13 and a TS that drops 4% per year – oh wait, that’s not really considered killing it), Dejuan Blair with his 14.8 TRR (juuuust behind Chris Wilcox’s 15) – then it’s not a great argument.

    The facts speak for themselves. Regardless of the reason why Amare and Melo came, TC came to complete our big 3 (the difference between the GSW offer and NYK offer was negligible), and everyone else that signed with us to round out probably the deepest team in the league came because they wanted a chance to shine on the NYC stage. $$ and NYC are the inherent advantages the Knicks have – and we are using them. That’s the way it’s supposed to be and it’s nothing to be ashamed about, just like Miami will never apologize for the weather, the ladies, and no state tax.

  49. Owen

    “Friendly wager that Melo outplays Harden in virtually every category heading down the stretch into the playoffs.”

    How much can I bet? Where do i sign?

    Why would you think that Melo will outperform him in any category other than points scored (on a position and pace adjusted basis?) Maybe rebounds….

    “The elephant in the room is the Knicks’ poor performance to open the season. That’s the primary factor that makes the lampooning of Anthony a reality and the trading of Anthony a possibility.”

    I would say the elephant in the room is Carmelo’s NBA track record to date, which is also what makes trading him such a good idea, while we can.

    It’s frustrating to me that people still think he is a top 10 NBA player. The debate really is whether he fits in the 25-50 range or higher….

  50. Thomas B.

    jon abbey:

    here is a quote from D’Antoni from yesterday guaranteed to make my esteemed colleague THCJ’s head explode:

    “D’Antoni said. “We have to understand that Jeremy’s an unbelievable story. He’s gone from nothing to a really good player in the league. But he is a rookie. It is the first time he’s seeing things. And now we’re talking about him getting to the level of a Steve Nash or a Baron Davis or a Russell Westbrook or [Rajon] Rondo. Well, he’s still got to learn. … . He’ll have a learning curve.”

    BARON DAVIS, bitches.

    It would be nice if Baron Davis could get back to being Baron Davis. I am not confident that he will.

  51. max fisher-cohen Post author

    I agree, Owen, that he is overrated by many. But if you ignore how he got here and just look at the roster, the weakness is Stoudemire. Before that — the reason we are in this hole — the weakness was Stoudemire, Douglas and Fields. Melo has been bad this season — his ws/48 is the lowest since his second year — but Amare’s WS/48 is even worse, less than half of what it was in his best Phoenix years.

  52. thenamestsam

    Frank,
    I think you’re right that we’ve seen throughout the league this year and last year that building depth is do-able. It takes some time and it may give you some growing pains (probably cost the heat the title last year) but it’s much easier to do than putting the stars in place. However, I don’t think your conclusion that it was smart to trade for Melo is the right one. When you put those main guys in place, you have to make sure you get the right main guys, because you’re playing all your chips in terms of both cap space and players to get them. Once you do it, your options are significantly cut down.

    The Knicks could trade Melo I’m sure, but what they would get back would almost definitely a few nice pieces rather than one main guy. Then you spend more time trying to turn all those assets into a main guy again. In my opinion trading for Melo wasn’t bad because it cost us depth, but because he was the wrong guy. And once you cash all your chips for the wrong guy you find yourself roughly where the Knicks are – a middle of the pack playoff team that essentially needs a miracle (Baron Davis plays like it’s 2007, Lin becomes a superstar, JR Smith decides to stay for less money, a homerun late draft pick) to become a true championship contender.

    To be clear: This is not a criticism of Melo. I love Melo, and I think he can be the best player on a championship team. It’s entirely a fit issue. Stat was already here, and they make 0 sense together. Never have and never will. And Stat is basically untradeable, so that made Melo the wrong guy for this situation.

  53. ruruland

    Owen:

    How much can I bet? Where do i sign?

    Why would you think that Melo will outperform him in any category other than points scored (on a position and pace adjusted basis?) Maybe rebounds….

    “The elephant in the room is the Knicks’ poor performance to open the season. That’s the primary factor that makes the lampooning of Anthony a reality and the trading of Anthony a possibility.”

    I would say the elephant in the room is Carmelo’s NBA track record to date, which is also what makes trading him such a good idea, while we can.

    It’s frustrating to me that people still think he is a top 10 NBA player. The debate really is whether he fits in the 25-50 range or higher….

    “Why would you think that Melo will outperform him in any category other than points scored (on a position and pace adjusted basis?) Maybe rebounds…. ”

    1) He will have a higher TS% than Harden because I believe Harden’s TS% will regress more towards last year around 590-600. I think Melo’s will rise above the .575 he posted as a Knick last year.

    Why do I think that? Melo’s fit in this system with this personnel.

    I know you’re not all that into looking at the nuances of how the games played vis-a-vi where players get shots within the offense. But as I’ve mentioned a few times here, this is a situation Melo’s never been in in his career, and once a few shots start going down he’ll put up career numbers across the board.

    1)He’s never played with a penetrating pick and roll point guard 2) He’s never played in an up-tempo system where the point guards led the break (Billups didn’t, Miller didn’t) 3) The physically and mentally mature Melo has never played in an offense where the isolation set WASN’T the primary way he’d score.

    cont…..

  54. Owen

    Max – Look, I can’t argue that Amare looks horrible or that of the two he is the worse player. But Melo is tradeable. Amare was also here first. He performed admirably last year before the Knicks went out and found basically the most duplicative player in the NBA to pair him with, other than maybe Aldridge or David West.

    Also, Melo was a starter in the NBA All Star game while Amare didn’t make it. Any case where public perception and production are so out of whack is always going to be a sore spot for me.

  55. TelegraphedPass

    When did Carmelo become the worst SF in the NBA? He may be overrated, but so much focus is paid to what players can’t do that they lose appreciation of the things they can.

  56. ruruland

    Owen:
    “Friendly wager that Melo outplays Harden in virtually every category heading down the stretch into the playoffs.”

    How much can I bet? Where do i sign?

    Why would you think that Melo will outperform him in any category other than points scored (on a position and pace adjusted basis?) Maybe rebounds….

    4) Melo’s never played in a system/personnel that allows him to shoot open 3s or attack rotating defenders on a consistent basis.

    5)Melo’s never played with the caliber of pick and roll big man Chandler is (and Amar’e will be) which is why you see Melo among the league leaders in assist percentage for small forwards.

    6)Melo’s never played in an offense that had the potential for highly efficient/semi-high usage continuity plays opposite him (Chandler/Amar’e pick and rolls), which will yield another new set of weakside opportunities he’s never had before.

    You add it all up and it’s a lot more easy/clean looks than Melo’s ever had before. On top of it, the last six years in the league he’s had at least one stretch of games lasting about an average of one month where he completely blows up. You can verify those stretches for yourself in the previous post.

    Melo already has far superior assist percentage numbers than Harden if we want to adjust for position (and if we adjust for surrounding talent it’s even more one-sided).

    Career wise Melo is clearly a better rebounder (position adjusted), especially if you look at the last 5 years for Melo.

    I’m guessing 25+ PER, 600 TS or higher the final 30 games of the season.

  57. ruruland

    Owen:

    I would say the elephant in the room is Carmelo’s NBA track record to date, which is also what makes trading him such a good idea, while we can.

    So, this means what exactly? His track record led him to NY and two max deals. Denver wanted to re-sign him and many other teams wanted to give a him max deal.

    Why would it make any sense at all to trade Melo now, given his career low numbers and efficiency in many areas?

  58. Gideon Zaga

    Or you just change the coach and the system.

    thenamestsam:
    Frank,
    I think you’re right that we’ve seen throughout the league this year and last year that building depth is do-able. It takes some time and it may give you some growing pains (probably cost the heat the title last year) but it’s much easier to do than putting the stars in place. However, I don’t think your conclusion that it was smart to trade for Melo is the right one. When you put those main guys in place, you have to make sure you get the right main guys, because you’re playing all your chips in terms of both cap space and players to get them. Once you do it, your options are significantly cut down.

    The Knicks could trade Melo I’m sure, but what they would get back would almost definitely a few nice pieces rather than one main guy. Then you spend more time trying to turn all those assets into a main guy again. In my opinion trading for Melo wasn’t bad because it cost us depth, but because he was the wrong guy. And once you cash all your chips for the wrong guy you find yourself roughly where the Knicks are – a middle of the pack playoff team that essentially needs a miracle (Baron Davis plays like it’s 2007, Lin becomes a superstar, JR Smith decides to stay for less money, a homerun late draft pick) to become a true championship contender.

    To be clear: This is not a criticism of Melo. I love Melo, and I think he can be the best player on a championship team. It’s entirely a fit issue. Stat was already here, and they make 0 sense together. Never have and never will. And Stat is basically untradeable, so that made Melo the wrong guy for this situation.

  59. EB

    I think its worth remembering that we’d be 0-24 to begin the season if it weren’t for Melo. His numbers have come down significantly but his play early on was remarkable and single handedly carried the offense. Melo was unbelievably good before he started racking up injuries.

  60. Gideon Zaga

    Better question, when did James Harden become better than CA, most of you should be drug tested. Even if the numbers say so, I wander which NBA GM will do it. Y’all make me wander sometimes.

    TelegraphedPass:
    When did Carmelo become the worst SF in the NBA? He may be overrated, but so much focus is paid to what players can’t do that they lose appreciation of the things they can.

  61. ruruland

    Owen:

    It’s frustrating to me that people still think he is a top 10 NBA player. The debate really is whether he fits in the 25-50 range or higher….

    Thus far Melo hasn’t been a top 10 player most of his career, though it’s difficult to measure how much better he made teammates in the half-court (so far it’s pretty obvious the effect he had on guys in Denver, who thrived off the Melo isolation offense)

    Melo’s been a top-10 player in this league over long stretches. He
    s done that as the primary center of attention offensively. He hasn’t always had top-10 numbers, but highly efficient offenses have run through him (and have always been much better with him on the floor despite just above-average efficiency)

    So, yes, you overpay for a guy like Melo who can be a dominant top 5-10 as the center of attention against great defenses.

    The next level of superstar are the guys who do this consistently, or put up absurdly high efficiency numbers. A lot of guys who have higher efficiency don’t receive anywhere near the kind of attention Melo does, nor do they have anywhere near the offensive responsibilities.

    That’s why he’ll be a top 10 player in this system with this talent.

  62. Gideon Zaga

    Seriously name 10 players in the NBA that are better than Carmelo Anthony and don’t gimme the advanced crap, otherwise even TC is better than Melo.

  63. ruruland

    thenamestsam:

    The Knicks could trade Melo I’m sure, but what they would get back would almost definitely a few nice pieces rather than one main guy. Then you spend more time trying to turn all those assets into a main guy again. In my opinion trading for Melo wasn’t bad because it cost us depth, but because he was the wrong guy. And once you cash all your chips for the wrong guy you find yourself roughly where the Knicks are – a middle of the pack playoff team that essentially needs a miracle (Baron Davis plays like it’s 2007, Lin becomes a superstar, JR Smith decides to stay for less money, a homerun late draft pick) to become a true championship contender.

    To be clear: This is not a criticism of Melo. I love Melo, and I think he can be the best player on a championship team. It’s entirely a fit issue. Stat was already here, and they make 0 sense together. Never have and never will. And Stat is basically untradeable, so that made Melo the wrong guy for this situation.

    I disagree with this quite a bit.

    Amar’e is not a good for any team that doesn’t have a competent pick and roll ball-handler.

    Chauncey is a poor pick and roll guard no matter how you slice it. All of this has been well documented.

    Great offenses don’t have to have perfect symmetry up and down the line-up.

    You can have multiple modes of attack so long as you can space the floor in each– the Knicks can.

    Amar’e (before this year) was a great mid-range shooter, which should allow all the Melo,Chandler Lin action to flourish. Melo is a damn good catch-and-shoot guy when the action is run to the other side.

    AS we’ve already seen, if guys like Fields and Chandler become more alert passers, you can run really any action and all five guys can be threats.

    Melo and Amar’e don’t have to be perfect complements for this offense to be great.

  64. The Infamous Cdiggy

    outoftowner:
    I don’t think its fair to say that Melo isn’t a primary cause of the Knicks’ struggles.Even if he was making the minimum, and we didn’t give up anything to get him, having a guy with a TS of .499 on a usage rate of 30 would be a big explanation for the 24th ranked offense.

    That and the fact that there was no TRUE, HEALTHY point guard on the floor during such struggles.

  65. Juany8

    Not only was Melo good, he was the only person who could coherently dribble on this team before Lin came (notice their similarly high Usage rates). No major stat takes that into account at all. Someone has to be handling the ball at all times on a team, and someone who is capable of handling it for longer periods of time while making good offensive decisions has value regardless of anything else he brings. It’s ridiculous to compare someone like Tyson Chandler to someone like Dwight Howard in terms of offensive efficiency since that tells you nothing about the player’s role in the offense. Dwight Howard is asked to create open space for himself and his teammates. Tyson Chandler needs open space to be created for him by his teammates. It’s possible to directly compare how effective they are as pick and roll players, or offensive rebounders, but you can’t ignore that Howard is taking more shots, often against high defensive pressure, because he is capable of holding the ball more and getting off solid shots regardless of what the defense does. Chandler can’t do that.

    Until there’s a stat that measures how much a player has the ball in his hands in an offense, and how that stat correlates with offensive efficiency at both an individual and team level, discussing statistical offensive efficiency is only meaningful for players that have similar roles.

  66. ruruland

    EB:
    I think its worth remembering that we’d be 0-24 to begin the season if it weren’t for Melo. His numbers have come down significantly but his play early on was remarkable and single handedly carried the offense. Melo was unbelievably good before he started racking up injuries.

    And Melo was unbelievably good because of the pick and roll and a couple of hot stretches with the ISO.

    Yes, MDA needs to get him a lot more touches on the block. But the beauty of Melo, contrary to the claims of the charlatan columnists, is his basically unmatched versatility.

    We’ve already seen the improved off-ball movement since he’s come back. I have no reason to believe he won’t continue to move well now that he’s got two guards who can reward it.

    The fact that he’s been so great in pick and roll and post — two things he needs a lot more— when you add the spot up and attack (the summation of Gallo’s game) there really isn’t anything you can’t do with him.

    You have to utilize that versatility now that you have the pieces around him — that’s up to MDA.

  67. Gideon Zaga

    Actually i did it myself, Players better than Melo.

    Criteria: players I would realistically trade Melo for.

    Kobe
    Lebron
    KD
    ROSE
    Howard
    Wade
    CP3
    DERON (maybe depends)

  68. ruruland

    Juany8:
    Not only was Melo good, he was the only person who could coherently dribble on this team before Lin came (notice their similarly high Usage rates). It’s ridiculous to compare someone like Tyson Chandler to someone like Dwight Howard in terms of offensive efficiency since that tells you nothing about the player’s role in the offense. Dwight Howard is asked to create open space for himself and his teammates. Tyson Chandler needs open space to be created for him by his teammates. It’s possible to directly compare how effective they are as pick and roll players, or offensive rebounders, but you can’t ignore that Howard is taking more shots, often against high defensive pressure, because he is capable of holding the ball more and getting off solid shots regardless of what the defense does. Chandler can’t do that.

    Until there’s a stat that measures how much a player has the ball in his hands in an offense, and how that stat correlates with offensive efficiency at both an individual and team level, discussing statistical offensive efficiency is only meaningful for players that have similar roles.

    And even then you have to account for that players role in the context of what the players around him can and cannot do.

    People like to talk about Lebron’s surrounding talent, but for the most part he’s always had really good spot-up shooters spacing the floor for him.

    How many more shots would Dwight need to force up if he hadn’t always been surrounded by excellent shooting and spacing teams?

    So, even when you’re looking at one player’s efficiency within a specific role, you’re still looking at it in a vacuum because you’re not accounting for how good everyone else is in their roles.

    Melo had the worst of both worlds: all the responsibility (no one who could create for him) and probably the worst spacing and shooting team in…

  69. PC

    Can we please stop comparing the Knicks and Nuggets? The Nuggets are a better team because they made a trade when they already had Nene, Miller, Afflalo, and Harrington. We got back Melo and Billups and all we had was one man – Amare – who never informed us that he ages 4 years every leap year. Of course the nuggets are better up to this point, they have had better players – pre and post trade.

    Please stop mentioning Gallo for all-star and Karl being such a genius. Karl hasn’t won anything.

  70. thenamestsam

    No Durant?

    Gideon Zaga:
    Actually i did it myself, Players better than Melo.

    Criteria: players I would realistically trade Melo for.

    Kobe
    Lebron
    KD
    ROSE
    Howard
    Wade
    CP3
    DERON (maybe depends)

  71. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    ruruland: HCJ what is your second half prediction, given a relatively healthy stretch?

    .500 with no salary cap flexibility for years.

  72. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    ruruland: If previous Knicks front offices were heeding the fan’s whims that probably explains the franchises “misfortune.”

    FWIW
    Denver’s record from ’04 to ’11 with Melo:295-190

    Win % of .608 (50 wins in 82 game season)

    Denver’s record from ’04 to ’11 with Melo on roster but injured: 32-33

    Win % of .493 (40 wins in 82 game season)

    What kind of sense does this make? This says more about the replacement SF they had under him than Melo’s ability himself.

    You can do the +/- numbers all day, but they’re dependent on the depth of the team at that position. If you have Andre Miller backing up Ty Lawson, that’s going to be totally different than Toney Douglas backing up Jeremy Lin.

  73. ruruland

    PC:
    Can we please stop comparing the Knicks and Nuggets? The Nuggets are a better team because they made a trade when they already had Nene, Miller, Afflalo, and Harrington.We got back Melo and Billups and all we had was one man – Amare – who never informed us that he ages 4 years every leap year. Of course the nuggets are better up to this point, they have had better players – pre and post trade.

    Please stop mentioning Gallo for all-star and Karl being such a genius. Karl hasn’t won anything.

    But it’s the truncated analysis that bothers me (and it’s never going to end so you might as well talk about it).

    When Melo had a semblance of the team the Nuggets have, he won 75% of his games when he and Chauncey were playing. THat’s even with a bunch of injuries to the supporting players and the distraction of last year pre-trade, Karl cancer.

    The Nuggets are 18-17 right now. In ’08 and ’09 there were plenty of stretches were the team was missing 2+ starters or role players around Melo and or Chauncey and played much better than that.

    Really, when people talk about the Nuggets being better post-Melo, they’re talking about the 16-4 post-trade stretch. That was a perfect storm 20 games.

    Melo was 10-1 in his career against the Thunder, during which he averaged close to 30 ppg on over 50% from the field against Durant (who conversely shot 42% in those match-ups).

    MElo dominates Durant, and it’s really hard to believe the Nuggets lose 4-1 in a playoff series against them with the old team. No one talks about that.

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/h2h_finder.cgi?request=1&p1=anthoca01&p2=duranke01

  74. ruruland

    The Honorable Cock Jowles: What kind of sense does this make? This says more about the replacement SF they had under him than Melo’s ability himself.

    You can do the +/- numbers all day, but they’re dependent on the depth of the team at that position. If you have Andre Miller backing up Ty Lawson, that’s going to be totally different than Toney Douglas backing up Jeremy Lin.

    JR Smith, who isn’t half bad, would take at least ten of those minutes at the 3.

    Linas Klieza used to be at least a league average SF backing up Melo, and Denver would often extend minutes for Billups, Lawson, Iverson, Martin, and Graham actually played pretty well in replacing Melo.

    So, no, not even close to Toney Douglas.

  75. thenamestsam

    ruruland:

    Melo and Amar’e don’t have to be perfect complements for this offense to be great.

    I agree that they don’t have to be perfect compliments for this to be a great offense, but for one the goal is to be a great team, not a great offense, and for two, I DO think they have to compliment each other somewhat, even if not perfect, for this to be a great offense, and I don’t see it.

    To expand on both, a big part of the fit problem for me is on D. Having two front-court guys who are pretty lackadaisical on D is a major issue for me. Now as the Knicks have shown this year, you can rectify this issue partially by getting a great defensive center. The problem in my mind is that while this helps mitigate the bad defensive fit, it exacerbates the bad offensive fit because now your three highest paid players are front court guys, everyone wants to score at the hoop, you have no guards to set anyone up, and you have basically exactly what we saw at the beginning of the year.

    To me that’s the referendum on the trade, because finding Lin was such a lucky break, and when you make plans for the future of the team you can’t count on a lucky break to make things work out.

    As for the future, you make solid points in all your argument about Melo’s likely rise with Lin in the mix. I desperately hope you’re right. I think it could work in an alternate universe where Lin was a little better than he is, where Melo was a better decision maker than he is, where Amare was the player he was last year, and where Tyson could make a 12 footer. I just don’t think it’s going to work, and until we see the results I’m not sure there’s much we can say other than agree to disagree.

  76. Gideon Zaga

    Man I wish one of the computer boys can make a simulation how this blog would have looked like in the 1999 season so would compare it to now.

  77. ruruland

    thenamestsam: I agree that they don’t have to be perfect compliments for this to be a great offense, but for one the goal is to be a great team, not a great offense, and for two, I DO think they have to compliment each other somewhat, even if not perfect, for this to be a great offense, and I don’t see it.

    To me that’s the referendum on the trade, because finding Lin was such a lucky break, and when you make plans for the future of the team you can’t count on a lucky break to make things work out.

    As for the future, you make solid points in all your argument about Melo’s likely rise with Lin in the mix. I desperately hope you’re right. I think it could work in an alternate universe where Lin was a little better than he is, where Melo was a better decision maker than he is, where Amare was the player he was last year, and where Tyson could make a 12 footer. I just don’t think it’s going to work, and until we see the results I’m not sure there’s much we can say other than agree to disagree.

    Melo is not going to be a bad defensive player with the reduced offensive burden. You’ll have to wait and see for yourself. Amar’e, I’ve seen him make some strides the last couple of games. He should be able to contribute more defensively with the decreased responsibilities.

    You talked about the Amar’e/Chandler offensive fit. If Amar’e would just make that easy pass to the weakside Chandler off of his drives when Chandler’s/Jeffries man comes over to help that would be huge.

    That two-man inside game should be great offense, whether it’s Chandler or Amar’e passing the ball off the pick and roll. That’s just something that takes times and reps. IMO. But the opportunities are obviously three.

  78. thenamestsam

    Gideon Zaga:
    KD

    My bad, reading fail on my part. For me the next tier of guys would be Love, Dirk, Bosh, Aldridge and Westbrook. I’d do Love and Westbrook for Melo partially because of the age discrepancy. Dirk not also because of age. Bosh and Aldridge are pretty close for me.

  79. ruruland

    BTW, Synergy likes Melo defensively this year. His opp PER has been above average as well to this point.

  80. thenamestsam

    ruruland: Melo is not going to be a bad defensive player with the reduced offensive burden. You’ll have to wait and see for yourself. Amar’e, I’ve seen him make some strides the last couple of games. He should be able to contribute more defensively with the decreased responsibilities.

    You talked about the Amar’e/Chandler offensive fit. If Amar’e would just make that easy pass to the weakside Chandler off of his drives when Chandler’s/Jeffries man comes over to help that would be huge.

    That two-man inside game should be great offense, whether it’s Chandler or Amar’e passing the ball off the pick and roll. That’s just something that takes times and reps. IMO. But the opportunities are obviously three.

    Like I said I hope you’re right, but I still feel like you’re reaching for alternate reality versions of these players:

    “Melo is not going to be a bad defensive player…”
    “He should be able to contribute more defensively”
    “If Amar’e would just make that easy pass to the weakside Chandler”
    “That two-man inside game should be great offense”

    It’s all projection for the future. If only this guy can do this, and that guy can do that, etc.

  81. d-mar

    I really hate it when people type in all caps but WHY ARE WE STILL ARGUING ABOUT THE MELO TRADE AND WHETHER HE’S A GREAT PLAYER OR NOT? Let the season and the playoffs play out, he’s got a great PG to play with, and a deep bench behind him. If he sucks for the second half of the season and flames out in the playoffs, we can call the Nuggets and see if they would give us Mozgov and Chandler back for Melo. But in the meantime, enough with the “who would you trade Melo for” and “is he a top 200 player in the NBA?” He’s not going anywhere, so live with it and talk about something else for a while (e.g. will Amare return to form?)

  82. Juany8

    Amar’e doesn’t pass once he starts driving and he’s not making his mid range jumper this year. For these 2 reasons, he’s been horrendous this year, although his injured back may be slowing him down on defense (seriously, no one just stands up straight like that defensively unless they absolutely don’t care or are in pain). Theoretically, Amar’e and Chandler should work, but it hasn’t because of the 2 reasons stated above. Amar’e can always be easily double teamed when he drives, and when Amar’e's man leaves to help on the Lin-Chandler pick and roll, he hasn’t been hitting his jumper. He at least made strides in his ISO play last year to offset his drop off from running pick and rolls with Nash, but he’s been a complete joke on isolation this year.

    Still when you consider his questionable fit and horrendous defense (injury or not) Amar’e might be our worst finisher (Lin-JR-Melo-Amar’e-Chandler). Amar’e really needs someone who can shoot at this point, I don’t know that he’s magically going to get better at any of his weaknesses, although the jumper will hopefully come back.

  83. Z

    Frank:

    If anything, this season has shown that it is really pretty easy to fill spots 5-10 on a team.In the space of literally 3 months, we got Baron Davis (FWIW- still has to be considered a very good backup PG pickup), JR Smith, resurrected JJ….

    This season, though, isn’t a typical season. The reason we got Smith and Davis is because of the lockout. It made it easier to fill those slots than any normal season would have allowed.

  84. ruruland

    thenamestsam: Like I said I hope you’re right, but I still feel like you’re reaching for alternate reality versions of these players:

    “Melo is not going to be a bad defensive player…”
    “He should be able to contribute more defensively”
    “If Amar’e would just make that easy pass to the weakside Chandler”
    “That two-man inside game should be great offense”

    It’s all projection for the future. If only this guy can do this, and that guy can do that, etc.

    Haha. That is true. Let’s see what happens. I remember a lot of folks talking about the JR signing being a net negative, Abbey and I were really the only ones talking about his ability on defense, energy, playmaking and his bad decisions being totally overstated.

    Let’s see.

  85. outoftowner

    Juany8:
    Still when you consider his questionable fit and horrendous defense (injury or not) Amar’e might be our worst finisher (Lin-JR-Melo-Amar’e-Chandler). Amar’e really needs someone who can shoot at this point, I don’t know that he’s magically going to get better at any of his weaknesses, although the jumper will hopefully come back.

    Eventually, the awkward day will come when Mike D’Antoni has to bench Amare. Maybe start with him sitting crunch time, then eventually progress to not starting games. I don’t know if it will happen this year, or next year, but that day is fast approaching. I already think they’d be better off giving Jeffries starter’s minutes at the 4.

  86. Z

    Gideon Zaga:
    Seriously name 10 players in the NBA that are better than Carmelo Anthony and don’t gimme the advanced crap, otherwise even TC is better than Melo.

    Why would you even come here and post this?

    flossy: We should be so lucky.

    That’s funny.

  87. ruruland

    Juany8:
    Amar’e doesn’t pass once he starts driving and he’s not making his mid range jumper this year. For these 2 reasons, he’s been horrendous this year, although his injured back may be slowing him down on defense (seriously, no one just stands up straight like that defensively unless they absolutely don’t care or are in pain). Theoretically, Amar’e and Chandler should work, but it hasn’t because of the 2 reasons stated above. Amar’e can always be easily double teamed when he drives, and when Amar’e’s man leaves to help on the Lin-Chandler pick and roll, he hasn’t been hitting his jumper. He at least made strides in his ISO play last year to offset his drop off from running pick and rolls with Nash, but he’s been a complete joke on isolation this year.

    Still when you consider his questionable fit and horrendous defense (injury or not) Amar’e might be our worst finisher (Lin-JR-Melo-Amar’e-Chandler). Amar’e really needs someone who can shoot at this point, I don’t know that he’s magically going to get better at any of his weaknesses, although the jumper will hopefully come back.

    Amar’e been counted out a few times before and always bounced back. His second half and playoff splits are much better than his first halves. Let’s see what he can do the next 2-3 months.

  88. thenamestsam

    I was 100% in agreement with you about that although I was just lurking at the time (really just started posting), and I’m glad you were right about that one. I hope you’re right about these too. Your analysis of the potential of the Knicks offense shows that you’re obviously a smart basketball guy, and yet also an optimistic one. I thought smart+Knicks fan+optimist was a species that had been completely eradicated these last few years, but I’m glad to see not. I hope you’re rubbing it in my face in a few months.

    ruruland: Haha. That is true. Let’s see what happens. I remember a lot of folks talking about the JR signing being a net negative, Abbey and I were really the only ones talking about his ability on defense, energy, playmaking and his bad decisions being totally overstated.

    Let’s see.

  89. Owen

    “Seriously name 10 players in the NBA that are better than Carmelo Anthony and don’t gimme the advanced crap, otherwise even TC is better than Melo.”

    Periodically this board fills up with people who just can’t believe all “the advanced crap” and who love to tell all the people who do what idiots we are. And then, when all their absurd, stat defying predictions don’t pan out they drift off into the darkness. That’s what’s going to happen here. Eventually, all the people will who think Melo really and truly is an All-NBA player (under the right circumstances, with a great point guard, with a stable of marksmen who can stretch the floor, with a solid interior defender behind him, etc etc etc) will finally realize they can’t plausibly pretend he is anymore.

    Obviously, I think Tyson Chandler is better than Melo. And I think that’s been true for most of the years that Chandler has been healthy. For instance the year New Orleans won 56 games with him as the center.

    Here is my list of additional players who are as good or better than Carmelo.

    Andre Igoudala, Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah, Hibbert, Danny Granger, Anderson Varejao, Bogut (if healthy), Greg Monroe, Kyrie Irving, Ryan Anderson, Al Horford (if healthy) Westbrook, Chris Bosh, James Harden, Aldridge, Gerald Wallace, Nicolas Batum (ok, maybe a small stretch). Gallinari, Kevin Love, Paul Millsap, Blake Griffin, Kobe Bryant, Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol, David Lee, Steve Nash, Marcin Gortat, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili (healthy), Dirk Nowitizki, Kyle Lowry, Marc Gasol.

    And that would be just to get started.

  90. Gideon Zaga

    because some advanced crappers believe that even James harden is better than CA and want to trade him for Doritos.

    Z: Why would you even come here and post this?

    That’s funny.

  91. Gideon Zaga

    Hey! Z/ Z-MAN you see why I post this here, both sides of the fence.

    Owen:
    “Seriously name 10 players in the NBA that are better than Carmelo Anthony and don’t gimme the advanced crap, otherwise even TC is better than Melo.”

    Periodically this board fills up with people who just can’t believe all “the advanced crap” and who love to tell all the people who do what idiots we are. And then, when all their absurd, stat defying predictions don’t pan out they drift off into the darkness. That’s what’s going to happen here. Eventually, all the people will who think Melo really and truly is an All-NBA player (under the right circumstances, with a great point guard, with a stable of marksmen who can stretch the floor, with a solid interior defender behind him, etc etc etc) will finally realize they can’t plausibly pretend he is anymore.

    Obviously, I think Tyson Chandler is better than Melo. And I think that’s been true for most of the years that Chandler has been healthy. For instance the year New Orleans won 56 games with him as the center.

    Here is my list of additional players who are as good or better than Carmelo.

    Andre Igoudala, Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah, Hibbert, Danny Granger, Anderson Varejao, Bogut (if healthy), Greg Monroe, Kyrie Irving, Ryan Anderson, Al Horford (if healthy) Westbrook, Chris Bosh, James Harden, Aldridge, Gerald Wallace, Nicolas Batum (ok, maybe a small stretch). Gallinari, Kevin Love,Paul Millsap, Blake Griffin, Kobe Bryant, Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol, David Lee, Steve Nash, Marcin Gortat, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili (healthy), Dirk Nowitizki, Kyle Lowry, Marc Gasol.

    And that would be just to get started.

  92. jon abbey

    Gideon Zaga:
    because some advanced crappers believe that even James harden is better than CA and want to trade him for Doritos.

    please go away, you’re really adding nothing useful here.

  93. Frank

    THCJ – you are of course entitled to your opinion, but re: the “no salary cap flexibility for years” (which is TRUE) – this is what we have coming up:

    until 2014-15
    - Tyson Chandler, arguably the 2nd or 3rd best C in the league
    - Amare – we’ll see what he has left
    - Melo – at worst at top 25 player in this league
    - Shumpert restricted until 2015-16
    - Fields – restricted, prob to be resigned regardless of cap
    - Jeremy Lin – restricted, prob to be resigned regardless of cap
    - Harrellson – restricted until at least 2013-14
    - Toney Douglas – signed for better or worse until 12-13, restricted through 13-14.

    I would wager that this team is top 7 in terms of talent through 2013-14 if you look at roster spots 1–>8. Who is better? MIA (don’t forget LBJ has an opt-out after 2014!), CHI maybe, OKC definitely, and maybe the Clips and the Twolves. I don’t buy the Denver core of Lawson, Gallinari, and Nene and I would take this NYK team’s core + ability to add pieces way before I would think that Lawson/Gallo/Nene have enough cachet to get JR Smith/BDavis-like players to play for less.

    So seriously, what else can you ask for? This team is made to contend during their stars’ primes (hopefully Amare still has his prime). We don’t have all our picks (that’s the part of the Melo trade that kills me the most – the ’14 pick + the ’16 swap) but we have some. We still have NYC and its bright lights and dedicated fans.

    I think this team is in very good shape. We’re not going to win a championship this year but we are set to seriously contend for the next 3-4 years. And that’s all you can ask for as a fan especially after the Lost Decade of 2001-2010.

  94. Owen

    “1) He will have a higher TS% than Harden because I believe Harden’s TS% will regress more towards last year around 590-600. I think Melo’s will rise above the .575 he posted as a Knick last year.
    Why do I think that? Melo’s fit in this system with this personnel.”

    Also forgot to respond to this. What you are suggesting from what I cant tell is that Harden, in order to regress to his TS% of last year, will post numbers under 55% the rest of the way, since he is over 64% currently. And Melo will do the opposite, posting a TS% of, I don’t know, north of 58%.

    That is implausible, to put it mildly.

    Carmelo simply isn’t an efficient scorer. Unless he returns to shooting 42% from three like he did in his 27 game debut with the Knicks while hitting 87% of his foul shots, it’s not going to happen.

    Which is to say it’s not going to happen.

    D-Mar – I too fervently await the day we don’t have to argue about Melo anymore.

  95. Gideon Zaga

    I don’t dismiss your arguement but I also don’t agree because realistically no NBA GM would do a trade like that and the stats also don’t account for the variables that exist with things like player roles and yada yada. Its not as if they exist in controlled environments where everything is accounted for. So I’m sorry I disagree.

    Owen:
    “1) He will have a higher TS% than Harden because I believe Harden’s TS% will regress more towards last year around 590-600. I think Melo’s will rise above the .575 he posted as a Knick last year.
    Why do I think that? Melo’s fit in this system with this personnel.”

    Also forgot to respond to this.What you are suggesting from what I cant tell is that Harden, in order to regress to his TS% of last year, will post numbers under 55% the rest of the way, since he is over 64% currently. And Melo will do the opposite, posting a TS% of, I don’t know, north of 58%.

    That is implausible, to put it mildly.

    Carmelo simply isn’t an efficient scorer. Unless he returns to shooting 42% from three like he did in his 27 game debut with the Knicks while hitting 87% of his foul shots, it’s not going to happen.

    Which is to say it’s not going to happen.

  96. Frank

    @102 – your point would be much better made if you would acknowledge that it’s very difficult to compare players that play completely different roles. How can you possibly compare Anderson Varejao (who is very good but is asked to do nothing but play defense and rebound) to Ryan Anderson (who is the happy beneficiary of no one ever covering him because of Dwight Howard), to David Lee (who might be literally the worst defender in the league in a dead heat with Amare) to Melo, who for this year at least has been asked to play PG, SG, SF, and PF on offense while surrounded for most of the season by the WORST backcourt in the entire league, who has great advanced stats on D this year but gets no credit for it (because he LOOKS lazy on defense)?

    I think there is very little utility in trying to make an all-in-one assessment of players. Some guys are low-usage guys who defend/rebound etc. — T.Chandler, Varejao, Perkins, etc. Some guys are guys who are great offensively but only when given the ball in the right place/time – Amare, Blake Griffin, Gortat, etc. Some guys are guys who can do it all to a better or worse extent – they can get a relatively high percentage shot themselves inside, outside, or pass off to create a better shot for others. These are the LBJs, Wades, Kobes, Durant, Westbrook, Ginobili, and the great PGs. But to try and compare Tyson Chandler to Ginobili or Marcin Gortat to Melo- it’s just a pointless exercise.

  97. art vandelay

    If JR Smith decides to stick around by exercising his opt-in for next year of $2.5M, wouldn´t we then retain his bird rights and be able to go over the cap to sign him to a much more lucrative deal (not sure off-hand how large the raises could be). Has anyone posted previously what the CBA ramifications would be surrounding his potential re-signing after next season? I am hoping Grunwald told him to hold out until after the 2012-2013 season, at which point they would offer him a more fair value contract, which he hopefully would be amenable to and keep him in NYC.

  98. Gideon Zaga

    Exactly my point, all this is just advanced crapping. To add to your point these stats dont account for the variables in teams and player roles. No wander TC is the best player in advanced stats heaven but ask yourself do they really translate to the eye test. Is TC actually better than Lebron? if he is tell me why.

    Frank:
    @102 – your point would be much better made if you would acknowledge that it’s very difficult to compare players that play completely different roles.How can you possibly compare Anderson Varejao (who is very good but is asked to do nothing but play defense and rebound) to Ryan Anderson (who is the happy beneficiary of no one ever covering him because of Dwight Howard), to David Lee (who might be literally the worst defender in the league in a dead heat with Amare) to Melo, who for this year at least has been asked to play PG, SG, SF, and PF on offense while surrounded for most of the season by the WORST backcourt in the entire league, who has great advanced stats on D this year but gets no credit for it (because he LOOKS lazy on defense)?

    I think there is very little utility in trying to make an all-in-one assessment of players. Some guys are low-usage guys who defend/rebound etc. — T.Chandler, Varejao, Perkins, etc.Some guys are guys who are great offensively but only when given the ball in the right place/time – Amare, Blake Griffin, Gortat, etc.Some guys are guys who can do it all to a better or worse extent – they can get a relatively high percentage shot themselves inside, outside, or pass off to create a better shot for others.These are the LBJs, Wades, Kobes, Durant, Westbrook, Ginobili, and the great PGs.But to try and compare Tyson Chandler to Ginobili or Marcin Gortat to Melo- it’s just a pointless exercise.

  99. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    I think that player roles are, for the most part, a myth.

    Tyson Chandler goes from the NBA champions to a .500 team, and, what do you know, his shooting efficiency stays the same.

    It even stays the same when both of the big-name scorers are sitting out.

    LeBron James goes from the Cavs, who had few players outside of Varejao and Jamison (although the latter is certainly overrated), to the most stacked team in the league (with respect to Chicago) and continues to be great.

    See, great players don’t need “systems” to be great. Of course Steve Nash would play a different role in the Triangle, but he’d still be a good shooter and a good passer. His opportunities might change a bit, but as the Carmelo supporters always say, sometimes (and I would say quite often), the play “breaks down” and someone has to put up a shot. We shouldn’t put faith in a player transforming because of a “new system,” because unless he’s changing positions or being asked to do something he’s never done well before (like Amar’e shooting 17 foot jumpers or Jeffries shooting anything at all), the game of basketball essentially remains the same.

    This is why LeBron is a max player and Carmelo is not, despite Carmelo being similarly gifted: LeBron would make any team a better team because he’s a highly efficient shooter, a statistically verified gifted passer (for his size, he’s clearly the best), an all-NBA defender, and a ferocious rebounder. You could say the same for Wade, et al. If the player “needs” a system to be successful, he’s not as good as you think he is.

  100. Grymm

    Unless JR gets hurt, I don’t see him passing up a $6-8M a year deal somewhere else to maybe get a similar deal later on. He’s not nearly old enough to be in the looking-for-a-championship-discount-bin. From a career standpoint, he needs to get paid pronto.

  101. flossy

    art vandelay:
    If JR Smith decides to stick around by exercising his opt-in for next year of $2.5M, wouldn´t we then retain his bird rights and be able to go over the cap to sign him to a much more lucrative deal (not sure off-hand how large the raises could be). Has anyone posted previously what the CBA ramifications would be surrounding his potential re-signing after next season? I am hoping Grunwald told him to hold out until after the 2012-2013 season, at which point they would offer him a more fair value contract, which he hopefully would be amenable to and keep him in NYC.

    I think we’d only have early-bird rights, i.e. we could offer him league-average salary? I don’t know that’s enough of a cash-in to justify taking less than market value next year (and probably thereafter, unless nobody else would offer him more than the midlevel which I find unlikely). Not impossible, but it probably depends on how close the team seems to contention vs. what other teams are interested (who can pay more).

  102. flossy

    Grymm:
    Unless JR gets hurt, I don’t see him passing up a $6-8M a year deal somewhere else to maybe get a similar deal later on.He’s not nearly old enough to be in the looking-for-a-championship-discount-bin.From a career standpoint, he needs to get paid pronto.

    Exactly, though to be fair, this is a guy who blew off so many practices with his Chinese team that it amounted to him giving back a million dollars in salary when you added up all the fines. So… he may be just crazy enough not to see money as the primary motivator. Though I highly doubt it, to be honest.

  103. thenamestsam

    This view basically assumes that no other team that isn’t obvious now is going to jump up those ratings, but someone definitely will. For example, there’s a chance the Dallas ends up with Deron, Dwight and Dirk. That would obviously be a better core than ours. What What if a decent team wins the lottery and grabs Davis this year? My point is that you can’t foresee the whole future of the the league, but if you can see that there are 4 or 5 teams who are obviously going to be better than you going forward, that’s not actually that great a situation, because there are going to be at least a few more that you can’t foresee.

    In my opinion, we’re set up to contend, but not to seriously contend, in the sense that we’re set up to be about the 4th best team in the conference for the next few years. Your perspective is that it’s a major improvement on the past decade and we should be thankful, my perspective is that for the ultimate goal of winning a chip, 4th best in the conference is not a good spot to be in. You’re good enough to draft low, but not good enough to have a realistic shot at a title (meaning to win a title you’d have to win 3 straight series against better teams than you. It happens, but don’t count on it).

    Frank:
    I would wager that this team is top 7 in terms of talent through 2013-14if you look at roster spots 1–>8.Who is better? MIA (don’t forget LBJ has an opt-out after 2014!), CHI maybe, OKC definitely, and maybe the Clips and the Twolves.I don’t buy the Denver core of Lawson, Gallinari, and Nene and I would take this NYK team’s core + ability to add pieces way before I would think that Lawson/Gallo/Nene have enough cachet to get JR Smith/BDavis-like players to play for less.

  104. jon abbey

    thenamestsam:

    In my opinion, we’re set up to contend, but not to seriously contend, in the sense that we’re set up to be about the 4th best team in the conference for the next few years. Your perspective is that it’s a major improvement on the past decade and we should be thankful, my perspective is that for the ultimate goal of winning a chip, 4th best in the conference is not a good spot to be in. You’re good enough to draft low, but not good enough to have a realistic shot at a title (meaning to win a title you’d have to win 3 straight series against better teams than you. It happens, but don’t count on it).

    and this was the absolute best possible scenario after LeBron wussed out of his destiny in blue and orange, it’s pretty amazing how much talent they’ve managed to assemble so quickly.

    back to what’s going on now, big game tonight if we want to put CLE/MIL in the rear view mirror for good. this one and the next against Boston will tell me a lot, the kind of games they need to win if they’re going to make any real noise this year.

  105. Owen

    “@102 – your point would be much better made if you would acknowledge that it’s very difficult to compare players that play completely different roles.”

    I disagree. It’s not.

    But my major problem is with “the role” Melo plays. It isn’t clear to me, and never has been, why a player with such mediocre efficiency has such a high usage rate. Kevin Durant has a usage rate over 30% and a ts% over 60%.

    Also, I haven’t looked at the Synergy data, but it’s ridiculous to argue Melo is anything other than a mediocre defender.

    Really, he excels at just one thing. Taking shots.

    “But to try and compare Tyson Chandler to Ginobili or Marcin Gortat to Melo- it’s just a pointless exercise.”

    I can just picture Sam Presti sitting in his office, analyzing his extension offer to Serge Ibaka, usage 14.5% and WS/48 .150, saying, “you know what, it’s just pointless to try to assess his value.”

  106. Juany8

    THCJ, to put it simply, when a finishing role player like Tyson Chandler goes to a worse offense, he gets less shot attempts because his teammates aren’t able to get him the ball in places to finish. When he does get the ball, he finishes as well as ever, but on a bad offense his usage, and therefore the amount he actually produces on offense, diminishes even if he still makes layups at an extraordinary rate. When a primary offensive option like Carmelo is placed in a bad offense, his shot attempts can’t decrease because he is being asked to be the primary option, meaning he has the ball in his hands most of the time. He ends up having to just take harder shots because the rest of his teammates aren’t helping.

    Advanced statistical analysis does have a place in basketball, but the high school level math and analysis you and owen are doing would not be considered anything remotely revealing. Tyson Chandler might be a better overall player than Melo (it’s close) but he is nowhere near the offensive player Melo is. Just because you can’t find a number for half the things that go on in a basketball court doesn’t you can ignore their existence, which is what you continuously do. Find me a stat that compares a player’s offensive efficiency to the expected offensive efficiency of a player with his type of shot selection and then maybe we can start talking. TS% is honestly childish and barely worth the time discussing. Don’t forget to also find stats for creating double teams, making good decisions in the pick and roll (main offensive play in basketball), and proper boxing out. If you’re going to take a scientific approach to basketball, make sure it’s actually scientific and not based on preconceived assumptions about the value of certain averages.

  107. jon abbey

    Juany8:

    Advanced statistical analysis does have a place in basketball, but the high school level math and analysis you and owen are doing would not be considered anything remotely revealing. Tyson Chandler might be a better overall player than Melo (it’s close) but he is nowhere near the offensive player Melo is. Just because you can’t find a number for half the things that go on in a basketball court doesn’t you can ignore their existence, which is what you continuously do. Find me a stat that compares a player’s offensive efficiency to the expected offensive efficiency of a player with his type of shot selection and then maybe we can start talking. TS% is honestly childish and barely worth the time discussing. Don’t forget to also find stats for creating double teams, making good decisions in the pick and roll (main offensive play in basketball), and proper boxing out. If you’re going to take a scientific approach to basketball, make sure it’s actually scientific and not based on preconceived assumptions about the value of certain averages.

    if I ran a basketball discussion forum, I would sticky this right at the top, well done.

    as I’ve said before, maybe the most important offensive skill is creating space for your teammates (something Baron is a master at, by the way), and I’m pretty sure there’s no way to measure this.

  108. Frank

    Owen:

    Also, I haven’t looked at the Synergy data, but it’s ridiculous to argue Melo is anything other than a mediocre defender.

    This might be my favorite quote ever from a stats lover – “because the data doesn’t fit my preconceived notions, it’s ridiculous”.

    As a matter of fact, Melo has been a very good isolation defender (0.7PPP), PNR ball handler defender (0.76PPP), a ridiculously good post up defender (0.33 PPP in a small sample). He struggles on spot-ups (1.07 PPP – this might be what most people talk about when they call him a bad defender – because he loses his man at times).

    Owen:

    I can just picture Sam Presti sitting in his office, analyzing his extension offer to Serge Ibaka, usage 14.5% and WS/48 .150, saying, “you know what, it’s just pointless to try to assess his value.”

    I’m not saying these stats have no place in evaluating a player’s value. I think it’s just stupid to say Serge Ibaka is more worth my money or is a better player than Carmelo Anthony because Ibaka’s WS/48 is 0.150 and Melo’s is 0.118. If you have Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook as your volume scorers, then Ibaka is a better place to spend your $. If you are running Bill Walker, Toney Douglas, and Landry Fields in your backcourt, would you rather have Ibaka or Melo? Is Ibaka or Melo better FOR YOUR EXISTING TEAM? All I’m saying is that trying to distill a player’s value down to a single # is all fun and good, but it is seriously underestimating the complexity of the game.

  109. jon abbey

    Owen:
    TS% is childish?

    Why?

    And why, Juan and Jon, is offensive skill the only one worth talking about?

    I certainly never said or implied the latter, I’m the one who’s been screaming for more Shumpert all season.

    as for TS%, not to speak for Juan, but all shots are different, it’s just overly reductionist. I’m pretty neutral on the Melo debate as I’ve been from day 1, but there’s no question he gets thrown the ball 28 feet from the basket with a few seconds left on the 24 second clock all the time. that is a decidedly different situation from the open looks teams with the best PGs get all game long, and I think that’s one of many things not taken into account.

    I just think basketball doesn’t lend itself very well to sabermetric analysis, and it doesn’t seem like things are moving in the right direction. maybe they will someday, dunno, but in the meantime too many people cite them as factual evidence, and they very rarely are.

  110. outoftowner

    Juany8:
    Tyson Chandler might be a better overall player than Melo (it’s close) but he is nowhere near the offensive player Melo is. Just because you can’t find a number for half the things that go on in a basketball court doesn’t you can ignore their existence, which is what you continuously do. Find me a stat that compares a player’s offensive efficiency to the expected offensive efficiency of a player with his type of shot selection and then maybe we can start talking. TS% is honestly childish and barely worth the time discussing.

    These are all fair points, but I think you picked the wrong two players to illustrate them. Tyson Chandler has a high TS% relative to his style of player – we know this because he has the highest TS% period in the entire league.

    Melo on the other hand, just comparing him to high-usage perimeter players, compared to the 10 highest usage 1′s 2′s and 3′s in the league, Melo is dead last in TS%. Its possible Melo still has a high TS% relative to the shots he takes but then maybe he shouldn’t be taking those shots in the first place.

  111. Juany8

    Did you not finish reading my post? Rebounds per game, Assists per game, and a “defensive rating” are pretty childish too. If you’re going to sit here and tell me someone like Westbrook is a good rebounder for his position, I’d respond that his position has the smallest rebounding responsibility on the floor, and that you can’t simply compare Westbrook and Chandler and say they both deserve equal credit for their rebounding because centers average more rebounds in general. Centers are the closest to the basket and are usually boxing out the opponents best rebounder. Defense works in a similar way. It’s simply not as big a deal what guards do defensively and rebounding as what big man do. It’s a different scale of value altogether.

    TS% and things like WS/48 aren’t advanced at all, they are basic linear correlations that apply to all players equally. Who says something like rebounds is linearly additive? Maybe rebounds increase in value exponentially, so that 20 rebounds would be far more significant than 10 (more than twice as much value added). Maybe rebounds have a diminishing return (say from stealing rebounds from teammates) so that going past a certain number of rebounds means very little (so 24 rebounds would practically add the same value as 20 rebounds). I have to deal with real statistics and real science in my job, real life (which follows clear cut, immutable scientific laws) isn’t as predictable as you seem to think basketball is. And the math that models real life is immensely more complex than the advanced statistics being thrown around this foru.

  112. ruruland

    Owen:
    “1) He will have a higher TS% than Harden because I believe Harden’s TS% will regress more towards last year around 590-600. I think Melo’s will rise above the .575 he posted as a Knick last year.
    Why do I think that? Melo’s fit in this system with this personnel.”

    Also forgot to respond to this.What you are suggesting from what I cant tell is that Harden, in order to regress to his TS% of last year, will post numbers under 55% the rest of the way, since he is over 64% currently. And Melo will do the opposite, posting a TS% of, I don’t know, north of 58%.

    That is implausible, to put it mildly.

    Carmelo simply isn’t an efficient scorer. Unless he returns to shooting 42% from three like he did in his 27 game debut with the Knicks while hitting 87% of his foul shots, it’s not going to happen.

    Which is to say it’s not going to happen.

    D-Mar –I too fervently await the day we don’t have to argue about Melo anymore.

    Dude, I said that from this point forward, not in the aggregate.

  113. ruruland

    Juany8:
    Did you not finish reading my post? Rebounds per game, Assists per game, and a “defensive rating” are pretty childish too. If you’re going to sit here and tell me someone like Westbrook is a good rebounder for his position, I’d respond that his position has the smallest rebounding responsibility on the floor, and that you can’t simply compare Westbrook and Chandler and say they both deserve equal credit for their rebounding because centers average more rebounds in general. Centers are the closest to the basket and are usually boxing out the opponents best rebounder. Defense works in a similar way. It’s simply not as big a deal what guards do defensively and rebounding as what big man do. It’s a different scale of value altogether.

    TS% and things like WS/48 aren’t advanced at all, they are basic linear correlations that apply to all players equally. Who says something like rebounds is linearly additive? Maybe rebounds increase in value exponentially, so that 20 rebounds would be far more significant than 10 (more than twice as much value added). Maybe rebounds have a diminishing return (say from stealing rebounds from teammates) so that going past a certain number of rebounds means very little (so 24 rebounds would practically add the same value as 20 rebounds). I have to deal with real statistics and real science in my job, real life (which follows clear cut, immutable scientific laws) isn’t as predictable as you seem to think basketball is. And the math that models real life is immensely more complex than the advanced statistics being thrown around this foru.

    Great post. Thanks for your great perspective on this.

  114. ruruland

    art vandelay:
    If JR Smith decides to stick around by exercising his opt-in for next year of $2.5M, wouldn´t we then retain his bird rights and be able to go over the cap to sign him to a much more lucrative deal (not sure off-hand how large the raises could be). Has anyone posted previously what the CBA ramifications would be surrounding his potential re-signing after next season? I am hoping Grunwald told him to hold out until after the 2012-2013 season, at which point they would offer him a more fair value contract, which he hopefully would be amenable to and keep him in NYC.

    To me it’s the key to the whole thing.

  115. ruruland

    Owen:
    “Seriously name 10 players in the NBA that are better than Carmelo Anthony and don’t gimme the advanced crap, otherwise even TC is better than Melo.”

    Periodically this board fills up with people who just can’t believe all “the advanced crap” and who love to tell all the people who do what idiots we are. And then, when all their absurd, stat defying predictions don’t pan out they drift off into the darkness. That’s what’s going to happen here. Eventually, all the people will who think Melo really and truly is an All-NBA player (under the right circumstances, with a great point guard, with a stable of marksmen who can stretch the floor, with a solid interior defender behind him, etc etc etc) will finally realize they can’t plausibly pretend he is anymore.

    Obviously, I think Tyson Chandler is better than Melo. And I think that’s been true for most of the years that Chandler has been healthy. For instance the year New Orleans won 56 games with him as the center.

    Carlos Boozer,Marc Gasol, Kyle Lowry,Greg Monroe,Hibbert,Danny Granger, Nicolas Batum, Gallinari, Kyrie Irving, Ryan Anderson, Al Horford, Marcin Gortat

    “And that would be just to get started.”

    Ok, trust me, I will be bringing this up quite a bit the next 2+ months I hope you’re big enough to stick around.

  116. ruruland

    The Honorable Cock Jowles:
    I think that player roles are, for the most part, a myth.

    Tyson Chandler goes from the NBA champions to a .500 team, and, what do you know, his shooting efficiency stays the same.

    It even stays the same when both of the big-name scorers are sitting out.

    LeBron James goes from the Cavs, who had few players outside of Varejao and Jamison (although the latter is certainly overrated), to the most stacked team in the league (with respect to Chicago) and continues to be great.

    See, great players don’t need “systems” to be great. Of course Steve Nash would play a different role in the Triangle, but he’d still be a good shooter and a good passer. His opportunities might change a bit, but as the Carmelo supporters always say, sometimes (and I would say quite often), the play “breaks down” and someone has to put up a shot. We shouldn’t put faith in a player transforming because of a “new system,” because unless he’s changing positions or being asked to do something he’s never done well before (like Amar’e shooting 17 foot jumpers or Jeffries shooting anything at all), the game of basketball essentially remains the same.

    This is why LeBron is a max player and Carmelo is not, despite Carmelo being similarly gifted: LeBron would make any team a better team because he’s a highly efficient shooter, a statistically verified gifted passer (for his size, he’s clearly the best), an all-NBA defender, and a ferocious rebounder. You could say the same for Wade, et al. If the player “needs” a system to be successful, he’s not as good as you think he is.

    THCJ,

    Interesting you mentioned Nash.

    That it was pretty much common knowledge he wasn’t anywhere near as effective even with ridiculous talent in Dallas.

  117. ruruland

    The Honorable Cock Jowles: Yeah, it’s common knowledge, but also wrong.

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/n/nashst01.html#advanced::none

    He was awesome in Dallas, too. Virtually identical TS% and WS/48 numbers.

    He was very good, no question, but his TS% and WS shot up in Phoenix quite a bit

    Dallas TS
    471
    601
    603
    602
    576
    590

    Phoenix TS
    606
    632
    654
    641
    615
    615

    Dallas WS
    .037
    .094
    .169
    .167
    .206
    .162

    Phoenix WS
    .203
    .212
    .225
    .181
    .140
    .178

    Definitely not identical. His assist rate went up 10+%,too. And those were really talented Mavericks teams.

  118. thenamestsam

    jon abbey: and this was the absolute best possible scenario after LeBron wussed out of his destiny in blue and orange, it’s pretty amazing how much talent they’ve managed to assemble so quickly.

    back to what’s going on now, big game tonight if we want to put CLE/MIL in the rear view mirror for good. this one and the next against Boston will tell me a lot, the kind of games they need to win if they’re going to make any real noise this year.

    I disagree strongly that this was the best possible scenario. It was only the best possible scenario because noone in management was willing to show some patience and wait another year. The smart thing to do when we missed out on the very top guys in Lebron and Wade was just to keep building assets until similar guys became available again. Since we made the trade Deron, Paul and Tyson Chandler have all switched teams, and Gasol and Howard both seem available. It’s not like the Knicks needed to make a move right away to get a top-10 caliber guy, there were plenty of other options potentially available if we’d held onto our cards instead of feeling like we had to play them all asap.

  119. Owen

    Ruruland – Here is the bet. The season ends April 26th. If Melo posts a ts% above 59.8% (harden last year) from now until the end of the season I will not post on Knickerblogger between the end of the season and June 1. If he comes in under you don’t post.

    Do we have a bet?

    “That it was pretty much common knowledge he wasn’t anywhere near as effective even with ridiculous talent in Dallas.”

    You realize that Steve Nash was the point guard for the best offense in the NBA for 9 consecutive seasons? And he was the point guard of the best offense ever?

    Frank – Carmelo is ridiculously good post up defender based off 15 post ups this year? That seems a little, ahh, I don’t know, disingenuous. You tell me. How do the numbers you posted compare to previous years? What kind of overall rating for his defense can you extract from the Synergy data?

    Re Ibaka, Melo and team construction – I don’t think I am simplifying the game too much by saying that a low usage .150 at 2 million from Ibaka is better than a high usage .150 from Melo at 20 million. High school math I know….

    “Ok, trust me, I will be bringing this up quite a bit the next 2+ months I hope you’re big enough to stick around.”

    I am big enough to stick around. Unless Melo crosses that 60% threshhold….

  120. outoftowner

    Juany8, I don’t think the “advanced” in advanced statistics means that its based on complicated math, just that these are stats that aren’t part of the traditional box score. I agree the publicly available advanced statistics are rudimentary and miss a lot of what’s going on. You’ve listed some excellent criticisms, and there are others I’ve seen. But they are way better than points per game, which is the only real objective metric by which Melo is a star player.

    There are 4 levels of basketball statistics:

    1. box score stats
    2. “advanced” stats that are derivatives of box score stats (TS% etc.)
    3. on court / off court measurements
    4. stats that measure things not captured in box scores (Synergy, hoopdata, whatever theoretical physics Daryl Morey is working on)

    I’d argue it would be hard to make a case for Melo based on any level of those stats.

    Failing that, there’s the eye test, which shows a player who shoots a lot, misses most of the time, and is out of position a lot on defense.

  121. ruruland

    outoftowner:
    Juany8, I don’t think the “advanced” in advanced statistics means that its based on complicated math, just that these are stats that aren’t part of the traditional box score.I agree the publicly available advanced statistics are rudimentary and miss a lot of what’s going on.You’ve listed some excellent criticisms, and there are others I’ve seen. But they are way better than points per game, which is the only real objective metric by which Melo is a star player.

    There are 4 levels of basketball statistics:

    1. box score stats
    2. “advanced” stats that are derivatives of box score stats (TS% etc.)
    3. on court / off court measurements
    4. stats that measure things not captured in box scores (Synergy, hoopdata, whatever theoretical physics Daryl Morey is working on)

    I’d argue it would be hard to make a case for Melo based on any level of those stats.

    Failing that, there’s the eye test, which shows a player who shoots a lot, misses most of the time, and is out of position a lot on defense.

    “which shows a player who shoots a lot, misses most of the time, and is out of position a lot on defense.”

    That’s it? Christ, get Bill Walker back in the lineup ASAP.

  122. jon abbey

    thenamestsam: I disagree strongly that this was the best possible scenario. It was only the best possible scenario because noone in management was willing to show some patience and wait another year. The smart thing to do when we missed out on the very top guys in Lebron and Wade was just to keep building assets until similar guys became available again. Since we made the trade Deron, Paul and Tyson Chandler have all switched teams, and Gasol and Howard both seem available. It’s not like the Knicks needed to make a move right away to get a top-10 caliber guy, there were plenty of other options potentially available if we’d held onto our cards instead of feeling like we had to play them all asap.

    wait, Tyson Chandler switched teams? how come we weren’t in on that? :)

  123. jon abbey

    wait, I don’t like that bet, you two are two of the best posters here. how about if either of you wins, Gideon Zaga never posts here again?

  124. Juany8

    Lol at the Daryl Morey reference, you realize Houston was actually willing to deal for Melo without him signing an extension? So let’s go with that statistical analysis, by both his action and words, Morey has come out and said that Carmelo Anthony and Allen Iverson were stars. He spends quite a bit of money on developing far more advanced analysis than what you have available online, so I’m going to put more faith in him (and I’m a Rockets fan, I think Daryl Morey is the best gm in the league). I always find it hilarious that there are posters here that think they would make brilliant gms because they have a spreadsheet and some box scores. Again, I probably deal with statistics and science at the engineering firm I work at than most posters on this board do, I know how valuable objective analysis is, and I can say with absolute clarity that anyone using WS/48, TS% or PER to make decisions about a player’s relative worth is not being objective. Whether or not it’s possible to objectively quantify basketball is a different matter, but the level of analysis seen on the internet is barely above the level of simply looking at per game averages. Mostly because every one of those statistics is based around per game averages lol, as if all you need is a unit conversion to compare how valuable a rebound is to a made shot

  125. Frank

    Owen:

    Frank – Carmelo is ridiculously good post up defender based off 15 post ups this year? That seems a little, ahh, I don’t know, disingenuous. You tell me. How do the numbers you posted compare to previous years? What kind of overall rating for his defense can you extract from the Synergy data?
    Re Ibaka, Melo and team construction – I don’t think I am simplifying the game too much by saying that a low usage .150 at 2 million from Ibaka is better than a high usage .150 from Melo at 20 million. High school math I know….

    OK- first of all I WAS talking about Melo this year (and not previous years) and I did say that the post-up thing was a small sample. So if you are done already repeating the obvious we can move on. Geez, it’s like talking to Karl Rove and his straw men.

    And since you were talking about Ibaka in the context of Presti offering an extension- if you think Ibaka is going to resign for $2M then you have a misguided notion of how smart the league has become. If you’re talking about Ibaka on a rookie deal, then sure – i’d love to sign all players to a rookie contract. We could make a big 12 rather than just go for a big 3.

    I’m not even arguing that Melo isn’t overpaid – he is. And so is Amare, especially considering the CBA. I’m just arguing that distilling Tyson Chandler down to his ORtg of 130 or whatever is just not that useful in the context of comparing him to Michael Jordan. Is Chandler better than Michael Jordan offensively? of course not. But you should know that Jordan NEVER had a ORtg or DRtg as good as TC has this year. Was he a better defender than Chandler? I don’t know, maybe, but they DO COMPLETELY DIFFERENT THINGS. It’s like comparing doctors and lawyers based on their billing – apples and oranges.

  126. Owen

    “Owen:
    Ruruland – Do we have a bet?

    How about we just bet and admit we were wrong when the season is over?”

    I think it’s a good stake but if you don’t want to risk a month off from Kblogger on Melo’s scoring prowess I understand.

    Frank – You can compare low usage and high usage. I think the entire enterprise of being an NBA gm is figuring out how to mix and match different types of player. And that requires valuing them. But we got a game going on, so will leave it there….

  127. Bruno Almeida

    Owen:
    Ruruland – Here is the bet. The season ends April 26th. If Melo posts a ts% above 59.8% (harden last year) from now until the end of the season I will not post on Knickerblogger between the end of the season and June 1. If he comes in under you don’t post.

    Do we have a bet?

    “That it was pretty much common knowledge he wasn’t anywhere near as effective even with ridiculous talent in Dallas.”

    You realize that Steve Nash was the point guard for the best offense in the NBA for 9 consecutive seasons? And he was the point guard of the best offense ever?

    Frank – Carmelo is ridiculously good post up defender based off 15 post ups this year? That seems a little, ahh, I don’t know, disingenuous. You tell me. How do the numbers you posted compare to previous years? What kind of overall rating for his defense can you extract from the Synergy data?

    Re Ibaka, Melo and team construction – I don’t think I am simplifying the game too much by saying that a low usage .150 at 2 million from Ibaka is better than a high usage .150 from Melo at 20 million. High school math I know….

    “Ok, trust me, I will be bringing this up quite a bit the next 2+ months I hope you’re big enough to stick around.”

    I am big enough to stick around. Unless Melo crosses that 60% threshhold….

    thank you for bringing some sanity to this board, Owen, but there’s no point in trying to discuss with someone who can only think in highly hypothetical conjectures.

    if EVERYTHING goes right yeah, then Melo will have a .600 TS%, Amare will go back to his .200 WS/48 form and we’ll contend for a title.

    unfortunately I don’t think that’s happening, and we’re lucky we found Lin out of nowhere to salvage this season.

    but out with the pessimism, at least we won pretty nicely today, even if it was against a bad team without arguably their best player.

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