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Friday, October 31, 2014

The Melozoic Era: 11 games in

Over the last three weeks, one word more than any other has peppered the KnickerBlogger forums and defined much of its discourse: gel. More specifically, how long would it take for the new-look Knicks to do just that? Some said 5 games. Others said we could do little more than wait ‘til next season – when we’d have a playoff round or two and a full training camp with a new draft pick under our belts (coughKembaWalkerPleaseGetaDUIcough) – to get a truly accurate picture.

I said 10 games. Why? I’d love to say there was some precedent-guided rationale. But there wasn’t. It was completely arbitrary. Or so it seemed at the time. Unfortunately, I somehow lost the ability to count to 10. Thus,  Melo: 10 games in has become, instead, Melo: 11 games in. Hey, at least it’s symmetrical.

After Sunday’s horrifying and sloptastic 106-93 home loss to the Pacers – the 11th game in the Melozoic era – what once seemed a wholly flippant benchmark suddenly took on new weight. Indeed, the Mighty we’d witnessed freeze Cryami with tenacious down-the-stretch defense and timely, disciplined baskets had fallen, and fallen hard. That night in South Beach, the memory was of Stat swooping across the lane like a crazed Pterodactyl, sending LeBron’s attempted shot ricocheting gloriously off the glass in what was, up to that point, the new unit’s defining moment.

Last night, it was the perpetually overachieving and wily Tyler Hansbrough wreaking havoc on the Knicks’ interior D. In so doing, he became just the latest in a growing litany of – how do I put this – “talent-neutral” players to perform as if James Dolan himself had foreclosed on his family’s farm. Without franchise keystone Danny Granger, the Pacers – whom the Knicks shockingly outrebounded 44-33 – seemed to score at will en route to a matadorian 65% TS% that managed to pull a fairly audible chorus of boos from the otherwise subdued Garden crowd. This, after confident proclamations in outlets abound about the Knicks’ potential for upsetting top flight teams like Chicago and Miami in a best of seven series? Are we talking about the same team?

Like that of the hair variety, The Bockers’ new “gel” feels pretty sticky. The troubling loss put the Knicks at 1-3 against teams below .500 since the trade, and 5-2 against teams above it. To call that schizophrenic really wouldn’t be much of a stretch: the team’s entire mood and demeanor seems to swing solely on the reputation of the competition at hand. They seem to pick it up for the good teams (Dallas non withstanding), and totally lay it downs at the feet of the dregs.

Strangely enough, however, when it comes to Anthony himself, what we’ve seen throughout the year – and throughout his career – is largely been what we’ve gotten (with some notable exceptions). From PER to shooting percentage to turnovers, Anthony has basically stuck to his own mean since arriving in Manhattan.

Hardcore supporters of the trade and certifiable Melomaniacs could be forgiven for hoping that the Knicks’ overall performance would mimic that of their newly-acquired star.  That would fit the hero narrative, after all. But that hasn’t been the case. In the 5 losses since Melo’s late February acquisition, he’s netted a TS% of 53%. In their 6 wins? 56%. For his first 11 games in New york, Melo continues to hover around both his career and pre-Knick season % at a just shade over 54%. Even his usage rate has held steady (29.0 before the trade; 29.2 after).

Melo’s largest deviations have come with respect to 3 pointers (42% and nearly one more attempt per game with the Knicks vs. 33% with the Nuggets), rebounds (7.5 per 36 for the year vs. 6.5 per 36 since the trade) and assists (3.0 overall and 3.6 per 36 since the trade). Looking at his shooting, Melo is basically taking one more 3 point attempt per game, and that’s it (19.3 shot attempts per game pre-trade to 20 per game post-trade). Explanations for the rebounding drop, on the other hand, aren’t so readily apparent. However, the disparity might be explained by Melo’s reduced oreb per 36, which have fallen slightly since his arrival.

Understanding his prowess for put-backs after attempts at the rim, combined with his shooting more 3s, Melo appears to be taking more jump shots since his arrival than before, relying less on the “bully ball” that even he claimed was unsustainable. Of course, I didn’t watch all the game film from his 50 some-odd Denver games, so this last part is pure speculation. But something to consider.

For whatever can’t be found in terms of drastic changes in stats, in terms of style, there has certainly been a qualitatively different look and feel about the Knicks since Melo’s arrival. A “swag”, if you will. The pace has slowed, both statistically and viscerally. Before the trade, Stoudemire was typically the only iso-worthy player on the floor. Now the Knicks have two certifiable go-to guys, which has paid dividends down the stretch twice already (Melo channeling LeBron into Stat’s help D against Miami, and Melo canning the game winner in Memphis), but has also lead to more-ball stopping possessions and arguably more ill-advised shots.

Obviously, the biggest X-factor in this entire equation has been Billups – or the lack thereof. After missing 6 games with a deep thigh bruise, Mr. Big Shot may have been the only Knick player sweating Sunday night, looking noticeably winded and not quite up to game snuff. Hopefully, given a few more games of putting his lungs and legs back through the gauntlet, Billups will pick up where he left off before the injury, when his poise and presence was perhaps doing more than anything to keep the Knicks in the game.

When you consider that Melo has played more games in a Knick uniform with Toney Douglas as the starter (six) than with Chauncey leading the charge (five), that lack of PG continuity becomes perhaps the single most legitimate case for holding out judgment until further down the road.

In short: it seems as if they’re still very much figuring out how to play together. But here’s the thing: perhaps everyone is. It doesn’t matter if you’re the ’70 Knicks, the ’05 Pistons or the 2011 Cavaliers: teams are always figuring out how to play together. Some teams just have it figured out more often, and can do it for longer stretches.

Without sounding too meta, maybe the Knicks are still figuring out how to figure it out. But they’ve definitely shown glimpses of a team who, if they were to truly get it together, could very well become a force far sooner than most of us had hoped. That is, of course, assuming Hyde is left at home. For now, it’s probably safe to assume that dangerous and confounding will continue to define the Knicks in equal fashion and measure for the foreseeable future.

126 comments on “The Melozoic Era: 11 games in

  1. Mike Kurylo

    Or perhaps this Knicks team is just a tad above average talent-wise, and the highs and lows are what you’d expect from any above average team over any 11 games…

  2. Mike Kurylo

    The Honorable Cock Jowles: Exactly, Mike. And you won’t hear that on ESPN.  

    Depends on who at ESPN you’re talking about. For instance, if I really wanted to make that point I could make it on ESPN.com. I’m sure other guys like John Hollinger might believe it as well. But if by “ESPN” you mean Steven A. Smith, Charles Barkley, etc. then yes I agree. My theory doesn’t make good copy, and hence why I’m a middling blogger, while they’re millionaires.

  3. jon abbey

    pretty sure you mean ‘swagger’, not ‘swag’, unless you’re making a subtle Lil B the Based God reference, in which case I’m impressed.

  4. d-mar

    It is mind boggling how we not only lose to teams with less talent, but allow middling players to have career nights. I do think this team is capable of playing at least better than average defense, but when I watch a guy like Hansbrough do a slow motion shot fake and then waltz to the basket for an emphatic slam, I really wonder about the mindset of this team. If you watch teams like Chicago and Boston, they never take a night off, and even when they play badly against inferior teams, they manage to close out teams with their defense down the stretch.

    It seems like we’re doing sort of a reverse Miami – play fairly well against the good teams and suck against the bad. You could interpret that as a good sign for us and a bad one for the Heat come playoff time, but who knows.

  5. hoolahoop

    Mike Kurylo: Or perhaps this Knicks team is just a tad above average talent-wise, and the highs and lows are what you’d expect from any above average team over any 11 games…  

    . . . and below average in their level of effort and cohesiveness. Their offense is uber simple and predictable, ball stopping one-on-one basketball. Their defense, invisible.
    I could enjoy a team that plays hard and smart, but loses – the team we had before the trade. I hate a team that plays selfishly and gets outworked consistently.
    In the Pat Riley era the knicks used to get every loose ball. These days that’s a rarity.

  6. Frank O.

    Good teams survive off shooting nights by always putting in great efforts on the defensive end. The Knicks were flaccid from the start.
    Indeed, when you can’t find the ocean with the Hubble telescope there should be a natural inclination to tighten down the screws on defense. The Knicks appeared to have no such inclination last night.
    As it was, Billups, TD and Landry got blown past on far too many takes to the glass, interior defense was soft and the lanes were wide open, even with a match up zone. Jeffries and Billups are still struggling with fitness issues. It’s particularly harming Jeffries right now because he’s playing too much with his hands and getting into foul trouble.
    And Melo and Stat had an off game.
    I think Jim may be right that Billups taking over the offense probably threw off everyone, but there is no excuse for the lack of energy on defense.

  7. Robert Silverman

    hoolahoop:
    I could enjoy a team that plays hard and smart, but loses – the team we had before the trade. I hate a team that plays selfishly and gets outworked consistently.

    In the Pat Riley era the knicks used to get every loose ball. These days that’s a rarity.  

    While I’m certainly guilty of romanticizing the players who left in the Melo deal, I gotta disagree with you here, hola. I’ll give you that they played hard, but smart? Er…no. Felton was gritty and gave his all, but his propensity for blindingly stupid plays was endemic, especially at the end of close games. Gallo/Will/Moz certainly gave their all, but those guys weren’t the Holzman Knicks in terms of b-ball IQ.

  8. JK47

    I can’t really take much more of Jared Jeffries. I know he’s the defensive “glue guy,” but no amount of glue is worth a 2.9 PER and a -.032 WS/48.

    He’s averaging 1.1 points on a .159 TS% per 36, and 6.6 rebounds per 36 with 5.3 fouls. I don’t care how much you do that doesn’t show up in the box score, those numbers are a joke for a guy that’s going out there 23 minutes per game. Our defense blows even with him in there– we just surrendered a .607 eFG% to a pretty bad offensive team last night.

    I’m not blaming last night’s loss on JJ– heaven knows lots of Knicks played like doo-doo. But I do think the Jeffries experiment is hurting us more than helping us. It’s not just that he’s bad on offense– it’s that he’s mind-blowingly, utterly incompetent on offense. We’re truly playing 4 on 5 when he’s out there and it’s going to make everybody else’s offense suffer. His play is a net negative, I’m convinced of it.

  9. massive

    I agree with the notion that Jeffries doesn’t deserve minutes at this point. He’s entirely too useless on the offensive end to do any good for us. What good is a “guy who does all the intangibles” if he can’t get any garbage buckets (or a rebound)? I’m at the point where I’d rather see Derrick Brown and Bill Walker share his minutes.

  10. hoolahoop

    Robert Silverman:
    While I’m certainly guilty of romanticizing the players who left in the Melo deal, I gotta disagree with you here, hola. I’ll give you that they played hard, but smart? Er…no. Felton was gritty and gave his all, but his propensity for blindingly stupid plays was endemic, especially at the end of close games. Gallo/Will/Moz certainly gave their all, but those guys weren’t the Holzman Knicks in terms of b-ball IQ.  

    Granted, the pre-Melo knicks made a lot of selfish, bone head plays, and certainly needed something to bring them to the next level, but they also moved the ball and consistently ran the floor. They were scrappy underdogs. It was exciting to watch and often kept the opposing defense off balance. To a degree, at least, they trusted each other. Now, it seems to be more of a one-on-one iso game plan, and lazy defense consumed with an air of false confidence.

    If you played ball you know it’s no fun to be on a team where the best guy shoots every time he gets the ball. The result, you stand around, and shoot when you finally get the ball yourself. Imagine being a pro level talent confident in your scoring ability. You’re going to hoist it up every time if you think you’re not going to get the ball back. One ball hogger creates a cancer that spreads throughout the team. It makes players selfish and lazy. I just don’t think the iso offensive is a winning scheme.

  11. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Wouldn’t it be nice to have a guy in the low post who cleans up a couple buckets off of iso misses every game?

  12. Frank O.

    @11 and @8
    I confess, the “old” Knicks, when playing well, played a beautiful game. Yet, they rarely rarely ever made you feel as if they were in control.
    But when this new team is playing well, it is devastating.

    The problem is still continuity. Billups has played only five games with this team. He’s coming off a debilitating injury that kept him from exercising for several days. It showed last night. He appeared gassed and the team lacked fluidity, to borrow one from Clyde. TD was atrocious.

    Center will continue to be a weakness. My hope is that as Jeffries’ fitness improves – he spent most of the season on the bench – he should be more effective on both sides of the floor. Anyone whose legs are rubbery are going to have trouble scoring. Not that he’s every going to knock down a lot of shots.

    What was most vexing was Amare’s play last night. It kind of felt as if he had given up. It was a frustrating “old Knicks” kind of loss, where they seemed to give up mentally.

  13. hoolahoop

    The Honorable Cock Jowles: Wouldn’t it be nice to have a guy in the low post who cleans up a couple buckets off of iso misses every game?  

    Frank O.:
    Our kingdom for a dominant center…:)  

    I couldn’t agree more.
    Even someone not so dominant (Mosgov) would have made this puzzle much more complete.

  14. TDM

    hoolahoop: I couldn’t agree more.Even someone not so dominant (Mosgov) would have made this puzzle much more complete.  (Quote)

    Ditto that. I’d take Darko, Mozgov, Barron, or any number of D-League stars. Someone that can run, has long arms and could block a shot or grab a board every now and then.

  15. flossy

    You get the sense that Jeffries and Turiaf are in silent competition to see who can be more offensively inept and useless.

    Between JJ’s mind-boggling inability to hit any lay-up, ever, and Turiaf’s stubborn refusal to even look in the direction of the basket unless he’s directly underneath it, this could turn into quite the battle royale. I used to think Turiaf’s passing ability would allow him to contribute a bit on offense, but the (somewhat successful) experiment of having him occasionally run the offense from the high post seems to have fallen by the wayside due to his fragility and the overall roster shake-up.

    In any case, at some point last night we put a line-up on the floor that consisted of Toney Douglas, Roger Mason or Fields (can’t remember which), Shawne Williams, Jarred Jeffries and Ronny Turiaf. All I can say about that is: NEVER. AGAIN.

  16. Frank O.

    Not sure yet why Mason has displaced Walker, BTW.
    Walker’s play has been fairly consistent and Mason has not been demonstrably better.

  17. Caleb

    Let’s not lump Jeffries in with Turiaf… from an efficiency standpoint – TS% – Turiaf is about 10 points better, at a higher volume. He’s closer to Stoudemire than to Jeffries. He’s also had the highest assist rate of any center in the league, three years running. Not that this makes Turiaf a great offensive player; it mainly shows just how bad Jeffries is – he’s not even in the ballpark with a guy who is mediocre.

    You could say the same about Jeffries v. Balkman.

    But I’m not gonna worrry my pretty little head about it..

  18. massive

    I guess the one thing we can agree on is that Turiaf and Jeffries should absolutely never be on the court at the same time. But, if I had to choose, I’d definitely pick Turiaf. Jeffries gets the ball underneath the rim and still won’t score. At least Turiaf can catch an oop, finish around the basket, and get an and-1.

  19. Nick C.

    ng there anyone out there who is still on board with bringing Jefferies back? It seemed like a well-received idea when it happened. Did we forget how awful he was offensively.

  20. latke

    Nick C.: ng there anyone out there who is still on board with bringing Jefferies back? It seemed like a well-received idea when it happened. Did we forget how awful he was offensively.  

    I think jeffries is a good situational player. I thought he was very helpful against Dallas, guarding Dirk. I feel like last night no one wanted to play any D tho, so one guy playing defense isn’t going to make a difference. Maybe the problem is that better defensive teams are better at exploiting his offensive issues.

    I feel like he should be used like Miami uses Joel Anthony: when we really need to slow down a mobile 4. He’s too skinny though to do much against real big men.

  21. mase

    Seems like the new version of the knocks is like the yankees meets Isiah’s 2.0 version… Zero bluebloods left like gallo and Chandler, no future stars ; im getting frustrated with this team because its unwatchable every other night.
    Losing to the pacers is despicable and reminds me how facing the bulls in the first round could be a real disaster…

  22. Frank O.

    Caleb: Let’s not lump Jeffries in with Turiaf… from an efficiency standpoint – TS% – Turiaf is about 10 points better, at a higher volume. He’s closer to Stoudemire than to Jeffries. He’s also had the highest assist rate of any center in the league, three years running. Not that this makes Turiaf a great offensive player; it mainly shows just how bad Jeffries is – he’s not even in the ballpark with a guy who is mediocre.
    You could say the same about Jeffries v. Balkman.
    But I’m not gonna worrry my pretty little head about it..  

    Balkman mystifies me.
    Every team he’s played for, gets him some burn, then, inexplicably, he’s nailed to the bench.
    I mean, there is evidence that the dude doesn’t work hard at improving. What I have seen of him so far this year isn’t much different than what we saw of him as a rookie. Maybe his work habits just suck and so other harder-working folks move ahead of him.
    I don’t get necessarily what nails him to the bench; I also don’t get why at this stage of the game anyone would care, tho.

  23. Frank O.

    One thing is clear to me, however:

    When this team puts up an effort like last night, I find myself utterly infuriated.
    When the “old” Knicks team had a clunker, you still had a sense that they were trying, that they never quit. I didn’t feel as badly about a drubbing because I knew they were young and expected unevenness.
    But this team has three veteran “stars.” I can’t understand mailing it in. Malaise was the word that came to mind watching them.
    The thing that gave me pause yesterday was in that “miked up” moment when D’Antoni told his players before the game to put this team away early. It felt overconfident, like they should and would crush the Pacers.
    If the coach is using language like that, language that seemed to denigrate and underestimates the potential of the other team, it may be that they didn’t prepare for this team with the kind of urgency that a playoff race requires.

  24. budfox07

    It’s only 11 games! The Heat started the season 9-8, losing frequently to teams of lesser talent. They then followed up that 9-8 record with a 21-4 stretch when they finally gelled on the court. It is going to take time. It always does. But the Knicks do have superior talent in these 2 superstars.

  25. Frank O.

    budfox07: It’s only 11 games! The Heat started the season 9-8, losing frequently to teams of lesser talent. They then followed up that 9-8 record with a 21-4 stretch when they finally gelled on the court. It is going to take time. It always does. But the Knicks do have superior talent in these 2 superstars.  

    I’m not bailing on the team. I’m just frustrated by the lack-luster effort.
    Effort isn’t a gel issue. I’m all up with the gel thing. I don’t think the anti-gel crowd are being fair.
    But I can’t accept the effort thing. Last night, you never got a sense that they were trying very hard.

  26. Frank O.

    Frank O.:
    I’m not bailing on the team. I’m just frustrated by the lack-luster effort.
    Effort isn’t a gel issue. I’m all up with the gel thing. I don’t think the anti-gel crowd are being fair.
    But I can’t accept the effort thing. Last night, you never got a sense that they were trying very hard.  

    …is fair. sorry

  27. budfox07

    Frank O.:
    I’m not bailing on the team. I’m just frustrated by the lack-luster effort.
    Effort isn’t a gel issue. I’m all up with the gel thing. I don’t think the anti-gel crowd are being fair.
    But I can’t accept the effort thing. Last night, you never got a sense that they were trying very hard. Agreed. Lackluster effort truly infuriates me. It really does. Losing at home to a third rate team is embarrassing. When Hansbrough lights you up for 29 points something went wrong. I’m just glad this didn’t happen: http://dummybros.blogspot.com/2011/03/brooklyn-nets-alternative-history.html

  28. Caleb

    @26 Balkman’s ceiling has obviously gone way down since his rookie year, when he looked (to me, at least) like a potential defensive star in the making – he guarded everyone from Rondo to Yao Ming, racked up blocks and steals and had the best rebound rate of any SF in the league. He’s still a good rebounder but never matched that peak so it was probably a random blip.

    But this is something else; what Balkman does now is easily better than Jeffries on the offensive end, and I don’t see Jeffries as any kind of stopper – he’s pretty good, and versatile, but that’s it. I don’t mind the signing – the vet minimum is all it cost. But it’s ridiculous to be playing him 20+ minutes a game.

  29. BigBlueAL

    Fellow TrueHoop network Warriorsworld.net with an interesting article on David Lee this season:

    http://www.warriorsworld.net/2011/03/14/david-lee/

    One thing about Balkman and I remember someone bringing this up at the time as well, go back to the blowout vs Utah. Balkman was basically fooling around on offense, shooting crazy 3pters and then offensive goaltending when me missed his own dunk and laughing throughout the process. Now I was laughing at the time too but considering the other guys on the court (Rautins-Mason-Brown-Sheldon Williams) were all playing seriously it probably doesnt look good and feeds I guess his reputation of not being serious enough.

  30. Caleb

    @33 I’ll say – I don’t disagree with anyone who says Balkman is constantly shooting himself in the foot with attitude issues, and maybe off-court issues that affect his conditioning and overall play. Whether it’s joking around during a game, a lame warm-up routine, a DUI or making jokes about getting wasted…

    As his agent, I’d be pissed. As a fan/Knickerblogger analyst, my case is: so what? Even if he’s wasting his talents he still plays better than Jared Jeffries. Easy to compare, since they are both defense/rebound/don’t screw up the offense guys.

  31. BigBlueAL

    I feel you Caleb but its easy for us to say that and totally different if you are the head coach of the team when you have to deal with these issues plus the other 14 players too.

    Also apparently Barkley is on Letterman tonight and delivers this not so shocking quote, “In the history of all of basketball (the Knicks) might be the worst defensive team ever.” Pretty safe to say the Chuckster has no clue about defensive efficiency ratings which have the Knicks at 21st in the NBA which is still bad obviously but nowhere near being the worst in the NBA let alone ever. The current Cavs have a shot at being the worst defensive team ever though.

  32. Frank O.

    BigBlueAL: Fellow TrueHoop network Warriorsworld.net with an interesting article on David Lee this season:http://www.warriorsworld.net/2011/03/14/david-lee/One thing about Balkman and I remember someone bringing this up at the time as well, go back to the blowout vs Utah.Balkman was basically fooling around on offense, shooting crazy 3pters and then offensive goaltending when me missed his own dunk and laughing throughout the process.Now I was laughing at the time too but considering the other guys on the court (Rautins-Mason-Brown-Sheldon Williams) were all playing seriously it probably doesnt look good and feeds I guess his reputation of not being serious enough.  

    that was me. It felt like Balkman was goofing off. It bothered me at the time. You get junk time like that, and you’re on the bench, you go out and play like you’re trying out for the team.
    No discipline

  33. Frank O.

    BigBlueAL: I feel you Caleb but its easy for us to say that and totally different if you are the head coach of the team when you have to deal with these issues plus the other 14 players too.Also apparently Barkley is on Letterman tonight and delivers this not so shocking quote, “In the history of all of basketball (the Knicks) might be the worst defensive team ever.”Pretty safe to say the Chuckster has no clue about defensive efficiency ratings which have the Knicks at 21st in the NBA which is still bad obviously but nowhere near being the worst in the NBA let alone ever.The current Cavs have a shot at being the worst defensive team ever though.  

    Barkley has launched a bit of a jihad against the Knicks. I think he’s had to watch some real clunkers.
    The thing is, if the Knicks could improve their defense to like 18th in the league, this would be a team that could go deep into the playoffs.
    But we have only seen a defensive commitment against top teams. The Knicks aren’t getting up for and putting effort into games with subpar opponents.
    I’m struck by how often what appear to be mediocre players who have career games against the Knicks.

  34. BigBlueAL

    The Knicks were 19th last week the last time I checked and for the most part this season have been between 17th and 21st depending on what day you check.

  35. taggart4800

    I think the more that guys like Barkley call out the Knicks for being lackluster on D the more they are going to change their ways, so I am pretty happy with him saying it.
    What I fear is that Melo and Amare come out and play hard D for 1 game as if to make a statement and then get bored of putting in the effort and regress.

  36. hoolahoop

    budfox07: It’s only 11 games!

    I DON’T CARE! Play hard, defend, beat your man to the loose ball, and pass to the open man. No fan has a problem with a team that plays hard and loses. That game was infuriating and dispicable – in MSG!

    budfox07: The Heat started the season 9-8, losing frequently to teams of lesser talent. They then followed up that 9-8 record with a 21-4 stretch when they finally gelled on the court.  

    PLEASE don’t compare the this team to the Heat. The knicks are not going on 21-4 tears anytime soon.

    Hopefully, last night was a wake-up call.

  37. Robert Silverman

    This is the quote that makes me really wonder about MD’A:

    “To be honest with you, it takes a lot of pressure off of us because you just have to get the ball in their hands,” says D’Antoni. “It’s not like you have to go draw a play up that completely frees them up; they’re going to go one-on-one. You just have to get them where they need to be and try not to mess it up. You just try to get them the ball and let them do what they do.”

    I mean, he certainly didn’t believe that in Phoenix, unless the offense really was, “Just give the ball to Nash and let him create,” and all this SSoL mishegas is/was just the fevered hyperbole of Jack McCallum. Really Mike?

  38. Owen

    The last time I saw Balkman on the floor he trapped someone on the baseline, then pushed him out of bounds, creating a foul. D’Antoni went apoplectic in the background. I guess he played against Utah but i think his game is so ugly coaches just can’t bring themselves to play him, other than, highly ironically, Isiah Thomas.

    Until Balkman gets 30 minutes a night somewhere and absolutely sucks I will continue to believe he has the makings of an above average NBA player.

  39. BigBlueAL

    Since we all harp on Melo and his efficiency I figured Id check how the former Knicks are doing in that regard since the trade.

    Gallo has only played in 2 games and Mozgov a few garbage time minutes (though he has played well in those minutes) so I checked on Felton, Chandler and everyone’s favorite Anthony Randolph.

    Chandler has been surprisingly poor considering how well he played initially. All his numbers are worst than with the Knicks and his usage has remained almost the same so thats not an excuse (actually its slightly higher with Denver). His TS% is only .524% and his turnover rate is at a career high rate (granted only 8 games). Felton has an abysmal .462 TS% with a lower assist rate but he has improved his rebounding rate for whatever that is worth.

    Everyone’s favorite Anthony Randolph had a couple of big games which did not go unnoticed here. So I was very surprised to see how pretty poor he has been in Minnesota. TS% of .459% with the lowest rebound and block shots rates of his career. He is passing well and limiting his turnovers. Also he has his highest usage rate of his career so far in Minny so he isnt being shy on offense. In 10 games he has already played more minutes with Minny than in NY (145-127) yet aside from a couple of decent games he has been pretty bad.

    Say what you will about Melo but he hasnt played worse with the Knicks. Granted I know the point is he needs to improve his efficiency to be worth the price he is paid but I would hope/expect for that to possibly happen next season and in the future as long as D’Antoni is the coach. Melo can infuriate you with some of his shot selection but he has also shown what a pretty damn good offensive weapon he can be when he is on.

    I guess what Im saying is at the least he is what he is which isnt exactly a bad thing while the players that were traded away who have played so far havent exactly been lighting up the league.

  40. hoolahoop

    The first day of practice I give every kid an ice cream stick and ask them to break it. They all do it.
    Then I give every kid another ice cream stick. I ask them to stack the sticks, then try to break the bunch of sticks. No one can.
    Moral: As a team we’re much stronger than individually.

    That goes just as well for the best players. As a unit, everyone is better. Guys who try to do it all by themself hurt the team and themselves.

  41. Brian Cronin

    I guess what Im saying is at the least he is what he is which isnt exactly a bad thing while the players that were traded away who have played so far havent exactly been lighting up the league.

    Chandler/Felton’s low TS% spotlight one of the key points I was saying before the trade – that Denver’s offense was not awesome because of Melo, but because there were a bunch of good-to-great offensive players on the team on top of the good-to-great Melo. And those players have continued to be good-to-great even when the replacements for Melo and Ty Lawson (as Lawson is Billups’ replacement) have not been awesome. JR Smith, by the way, seems to have just found a book on TS%, since he has changed his game dramatically since the trade to seemingly completely embrace the concept of TS%.

  42. Z

    Owen: i think his game is so ugly coaches just can’t bring themselves to play him, other than, highly ironically, Isiah Thomas….  

    Even Isiah, who put a lot of his credibility on the line with the Balkman pick (yes, Isiah still had “credibility” at the time, hahaha), stopped playing Balkman. When asked why, Isiah said “Balkman knows why. Go ask him”. Then, of course, no one in the media asked him, so the mystery continues to this day. (this was back before KB got player access. Maybe at media day next fall Mike can finally ask Balkman why Isiah stopped playing him :)

  43. Brian Cronin

    Oh man! I remember that! That was nuts. I remember thinking, “Huh? Why is no one following up on this?!”

  44. JK47

    The Nuggets have pretty much exclusively been playing against average to bad defensive opponents since the trade. I’m curious to see how their offense fares against some top-10 defenses.

  45. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    budfox07: It’s only 11 games! The Heat started the season 9-8, losing frequently to teams of lesser talent. They then followed up that 9-8 record with a 21-4 stretch when they finally gelled on the court. It is going to take time. It always does. But the Knicks do have superior talent in these 2 superstars.  

    This is a classic example of confirmation bias. Why have you framed their “winning” and “losing” streaks as you have? Was there a significant change in the make-up of the team? Different players? A new coach (which does not normally affect player efficiency anyway)?

    You’re claiming that this “gel” thing is a reality by citing an example that supports your hypothesis: that the Heat went 9-8 and then went 21-4.

    Would it be any less fair to say that the Heat simply went 10-8 and then 20-4?

    If you flipped a coin 10 times and it came up 5 heads and 5 tails, and then you flipped it another 10 times and it came up 10 heads and 0 tails, you wouldn’t necessarily attribute it to a change in the coin, nor should you necessarily divide the data into two samples (so long as the variables, such as the person flipping it, and the coin itself, etc.) could be controlled. Yeah, a basketball team is more dynamic than my example, but the fact remains that if you have a relatively consistent set of variables (players) from event to event, eventually, the outcomes will normalize or regress to the mean. The Heat are a very, very good team, and their early struggles were probably more about luck than a lack of “gel.” I can’t prove that conclusively (and the burden of proof’s not on me), but your hypothesis seems to stand on little ground to begin with.

  46. Brian Cronin

    The Nuggets have pretty much exclusively been playing against average to bad defensive opponents since the trade. I’m curious to see how their offense fares against some top-10 defenses.

    The teams they’ve beaten since the trade ranked defensively as:

    11th
    1st
    13th
    14th
    24th
    26th
    28th

    So their last three opponents were certainly bad defensive teams, but the first four were all in the top half of the league, defense-wise, including the best defense in the NBA. And the worse two defensives they played they dropped 116 and 131 points, so that seems to follow, logically, right?

    I’d be more worried about how they’ll handle the better teams offensively – their defensive numbers have been so good, I find it hard to believe they could keep it up against the top offensive teams (like we’ll see when they face Miami and San Antonio soon, plus Orlando).

    Oops, I should mention their two losses. Those came to the #13 and #20 defenses.

  47. BigBlueAL

    The Honorable Cock Jowles:
    This is a classic example of confirmation bias. Why have you framed their “winning” and “losing” streaks as you have? Was there a significant change in the make-up of the team? Different players? A new coach (which does not normally affect player efficiency anyway)?You’re claiming that this “gel” thing is a reality by citing an example that supports your hypothesis: that the Heat went 9-8 and then went 21-4.Would it be any less fair to say that the Heat simply went 10-8 and then 20-4?If you flipped a coin 10 times and it came up 5 heads and 5 tails, and then you flipped it another 10 times and it came up 10 heads and 0 tails, you wouldn’t necessarily attribute it to a change in the coin, nor should you necessarily divide the data into two samples (so long as the variables, such as the person flipping it, and the coin itself, etc.) could be controlled. Yeah, a basketball team is more dynamic than my example, but the fact remains that if you have a relatively consistent set of variables (players) from event to event, eventually, the outcomes will normalize or regress to the mean. The Heat are a very, very good team, and their early struggles were probably more about luck than a lack of “gel.” I can’t prove that conclusively (and the burden of proof’s not on me), but your hypothesis seems to stand on little ground to begin with.  

    I believe baseball analyst Keith Law refers to this as arbitrary endpoints.

  48. Ben R

    Defense is a discipline, if you only play hard defense sometimes it won’t always be there when you need it. You can up your effort for short bursts but you will aways revert back to the mean eventually. If the Knicks want to be better defensively they have to play just as hard against Cleveland and Indiana as they do against Miami and Boston.

    The effort was severely lacking against Dallas and Indiana. We let the worst offense in the league socre 108 and the 2nd worse offense score 115 and 119. We have played good defense three times since the trade holding Atlanta to under 80 and NO and Miami to under 90 but other than that we are letting teams score over 113 points per game on us and have actually slowed our pace since the trade.

    There is a disgusting sense of entitlement on the Knicks right now. Like we fully expected to put it together and come back against Indiana and Cleveland so not trying very hard was okay since we would just pull it out in the end.

  49. Robert Silverman

    I’m sooooo leery of the “Didn’t play hard”/”Had no energy” coach/pundit-speak. Watching the re-run of last night’s game, they weren’t very good on defense (but that’s been the case for the majority of the season). But, more importantly, they missed a TON of open shots they normally hit. I.e., if Billups/Douglas were hitting open 3’s, they win this game. Honestly, many many games are decided by the fact that sometimes the ball doesn’t go in the net. Granted, a good team on those nights, as has been previously stated/locks down on D, penetrates more/etc. and finds ways to win when open shots aren’t falling. But as we all know, this isn’t a good defensive team.

    But to say “They didn’t try” or “They’re lazy” is a red herring. They may not be good at making in-game adjustments (and that’s on both the team and the coach) but to chalk it all up to effort IMHO plays into the worst stereotypes of the lazy millionaire athlete

  50. jon abbey

    Brian Cronin:
    The teams they’ve beaten since the trade ranked defensively as:
    11th
    1st
    13th
    14th
    24th
    26th
    28thSo their last three opponents were certainly bad defensive teams, but the first four were all in the top half of the league, defense-wise, including the best defense in the NBA. And the worse two defensives they played they dropped 116 and 131 points, so that seems to follow, logically, right?I’d be more worried about how they’ll handle the better teams offensively – their defensive numbers have been so good, I find it hard to believe they could keep it up against the top offensive teams (like we’ll see when they face Miami and San Antonio soon, plus Orlando).
    Oops, I should mention their two losses. Those came to the #13 and #20 defenses.  

    so the only one in the top 10 was Boston, who had traded Perkins earlier in the day and played by far their weakest rotation all year. I think Denver has a ton of quality depth, especially when Gallo is back, but they’ve played weak defenses so far since the trade.

  51. BigBlueAL

    Robert Silverman: I’m sooooo leery of the “Didn’t play hard”/”Had no energy” coach/pundit-speak. Watching the re-run of last night’s game, they weren’t very good on defense (but that’s been the case for the majority of the season). But, more importantly, they missed a TON of open shots they normally hit. I.e., if Billups/Douglas were hitting open 3?s, they win this game. Honestly, many many games are decided by the fact that sometimes the ball doesn’t go in the net. Granted, a good team on those nights, as has been previously stated/locks down on D, penetrates more/etc. and finds ways to win when open shots aren’t falling. But as we all know, this isn’t a good defensive team.
    But to say “They didn’t try” or “They’re lazy” is a red herring. They may not be good at making in-game adjustments (and that’s on both the team and the coach) but to chalk it all up to effort IMHO plays into the worst stereotypes of the lazy millionaire athlete  

    D’Antoni talked about this after the game. He said the effort on D wasnt bad but it looked like the more they tried the more it looked like they were running in quicksand. D’Antoni hasnt been shy for ripping the lack of effort on the team (although that happened before the trade, he hasnt ripped the team’s effort since the trade).

    In the 4th quarter when the Knicks got to within 87-77 early in the quarter they held the Pacers to 5 points over the following 4 and 1/2 minutes but they didnt score at all during that time. They also outrebounded the Pacers 44-33. I dont think lack of effort was the problem as much as like Robert said they had a rare horrible shooting night plain and simple.

  52. d-mar

    @54 I mostly agree, Robert, when the Knicks’ shots aren’t falling there aren’t many teams they will beat. They’re not gonna put up any Boston or Chicago-like 85-79 victories. BUT I can’t get the image out of my head from last night of Hansbrough waltzing down the lane in the 4th quarter for a slam as Easy E stepped aside. I know it’s just one play, but it’s indicative of a soft defensive mindset that the Knicks demonstrate against so called “inferior” teams. I don’t think they go out there thinking “we don’t have to try, it’s Indiana without Grainger” but there’s no sense of personal responsibility or commitment to defense or making the hustle plays (how come it seems like we’re the guys committing all the charges and never drawing any?) That has to change.

  53. cgreene

    Really interesting posts today.

    The main concerns for me are these. First, these are not all the ingredients. We have a mid late 1st rd pick. We have Jordan in Europe. We have tradeable contracts. I think DW has shown good acumen for finding the right role players to improve teams. I really hope he sticks around.

    Second, is MDA. He really seems to have lost his religion on SSoL. In all his interviews he references it. To me SSoL is his best attribute. The SSoL offense is good and it works with really good offensive players. I think he should keep them more in that game plan and let Melo adapt. That’s how you get him more efficient. Make him move the ball as part of the offensive strategy.

    ps: Since we chose the arbitrary first 11 games, let’s all remember where our “old Knicks” were after their first 11. 3-8 and we are all about to cut ourselves. We weren’t talking about effort.

  54. dmull

    budfox07: It’s only 11 games! The Heat started the season 9-8, losing frequently to teams of lesser talent. They then followed up that 9-8 record with a 21-4 stretch when they finally gelled on the court.

    Ding ding ding.

    The overreaction going on from night to night is what is infuriating to me…ask any hardcore basketball gambler how teams on their 4th game in 5 night and 7th in ten days, on the road, no less against an elite team are expected to fare.

    The losses to bad teams are alarming, but I’d honestly rather have some bad losses to bad teams and beat good teams than vice versa.

    I mean no disrespect to Jim’s post which was thought out and well-crafted. However, as was noted, any chance at some sort of arbitrary number of games before a team gels was thrown out the window when Chauncey got hurt. Additionally, if you are saying it will take X number of games for a team to gel, then does it really make sense to analyze the statistics of those games? Only if you are intending to then compare them to that of the next X number of games.

    With that said, I also don’t mean to disregard things like TS% etc. which are founded on sound statistical principles but doesn’t it basically going against the very nature of such statistics to over-analyze those of a ten (11) game sample?

    Again, I just don’t see much statistical relevance of the “Melozoic Era.” Like 28 pointed out, you could argue it took Miami 17 games and that was with pre-season work.

    Ultimately, I think the proof is probably already in the pudding though. It’s pretty obvious that this team is usually going to be tough to stop. However, their defense, on the interior in particular is non-existent. That is the only thing that seems obvious to me watching them night in night out and it was obvious during wins over good teams and losses to bad teams alike.

  55. d-mar

    From Hahn’s twitter: “Pacers radio analyst Bob Leonard suffered a heart attack after game last night. Team says he’s now in good condition. All the best to him.”

    That’s what Indiana scoring 106 points will do to a guy (too soon?)

  56. Ben R

    I am not normally one to harp on lack of effort but I think it really is the case with this team. We got up for the Miami and Atlanta games and played solid defense yet Milwaukee and Clevelend score at will.

    I actually think Amare is more of the culprit than Melo. Melo is slow to rotate and doesn’t run shooters off the 3 point line well but Amare can’t get out of his man’s way fast enough. He is a good shot blocker but other than that he is a complete zero on the defensive end.

    Now that we have no center it’s even worse. Even if we kill ourselves on the defensive end we will sturggle against bigger teams because a combination of Jeffries, Amare and Shawne is outmatched game in and game out. Sporatic minutes from Turiaf and Sheldon help a little but our froncourt is so poor defensively we need to out work the other team just to approach average.

    The effort wasn’t bad last night but it was not the same effort we put in against Miami. There is no room for error with this team. We need players to work their asses off if we want to compete with teams that every night are bigger and stronger than us.

  57. Robert Silverman

    Ben R:
    Now that we have no center it’s even worse. Even if we kill ourselves on the defensive end we will sturggle against bigger teams because a combination of Jeffries, Amare and Shawne is outmatched game in and game out. Sporatic minutes from Turiaf and Sheldon help a little but our froncourt is so poor defensively we need to out work the other team just to approach average.

    Again, I think this is a bit of revisionist history/faulty memory. The only center the Knicks lost was Mozgov, who was terrible in the beginning of the season and had a couple of good games before the deadline. It’s not like they were throwing a mid-90’s Mutombo out there. Blocked shots notwithstanding, they’ve done a terrible job of both closing out on three point shooters and defending at the rim both pre and post-Melo.

  58. Ben R

    Robert – We were terrible defensively before the trade as well but people didn’t seem to have as many illusions about this team. Now people talk like we’re alot better and I just don’t see it. A little better maybe but it’s not like we went from a 25 win team to a 50 win team it’s more like a 42-45 win team to a 45-48 win team. Also we had alot more potential to grow at the center spot between Mozgov and the cap room we would have had this summer. Also long term AR was a better defensive asset than Williams or Jeffries, and Gallo while also not great defensively worked harder than Melo on the defensive end.

  59. daJudge

    It seems we are still very soft defensively, defined by me as a conscious backing off from physical engagement. JJ and Turiaf are exceptions but are offensively challenged. TDDWTDD may also be an exception. The other Knicks are all very soft man to man (lots of hand contact) and abysmal on picks. All the guys need to play physical defense. That’s my pet peeve. One of my concerns over the past few days is Melo’s statements regarding his being beat up in the post in Denver (he doesn’t want to be physical even on offense?) and Amare’s reluctance to play physical defense (he’s to valuable to accrue fouls). Defense to me is more than effort, it is physical sacrifice. I also have major concerns regarding Coach’s philosophy regarding defense and his ability to demand that it is executed. You know, it can’t just be that the offensively challenged play physically. I don’t think it works that way if you want to be great at any level in hoop. Also, sorry to change the topic but I think I recall that BigBlueAl is a Yankee fan. Bernie Williams was jamming with the Allman Bros on MSG tonight. He was really good. Check it out BBA.

  60. BigBlueAL

    daJudge: It seems we are still very soft defensively, defined by me as a conscious backing off from physical engagement.JJ and Turiaf are exceptions but are offensively challenged.TDDWTDD may also be an exception.The other Knicks are all very soft man to man (lots of hand contact) and abysmal on picks. All the guys need to play physical defense.That’s my pet peeve.One of my concerns over the past few days is Melo’s statements regarding his being beat up in the post in Denver (he doesn’t want to be physical even on offense?) and Amare’s reluctance to play physical defense (he’s to valuable to accrue fouls).Defense to me is more than effort, it is physical sacrifice.I also have major concerns regarding Coach’s philosophy regarding defense and his ability to demand that it is executed.You know, it can’t just be that the offensively challenged play physically.I don’t think it works that way if you want to be great at any level in hoop. Also, sorry to change the topic but I think I recall that BigBlueAl is a Yankee fan.Bernie Williams was jamming with the Allman Bros on MSG tonight.He was really good. Check it out BBA.  

    I wouldve checked it out if I didnt live in Miami and dont have DirecTV which means no MSG for me :-(

  61. d-mar

    You guys who voted to play Miami in the playoffs want to reconsider? They really look like something’s clicked, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they go on a major run to finish the season. I still say I’d take my chances with the Magic, I know Dwight destroys us, but the rest of the team just doesn’t terrify me.

  62. BigBlueAL

    Gotta give credit where credit is due, Felton was on fire tonight. 22 pts and 12 asts including 6 for 9 from 3pt range. Chandler with a nice game too which is good to see because as I mentioned earlier he was great initially but had been pretty dreadful lately.

    Must say Im beginning to buy into the Ty Lawson hype. He is still pretty bad as a defender but even Im beginning to wish the Knicks had drafted him now. I always think people greatly exaggerate the Knicks “poor” draft last year because they make it seem like the Knicks are the only team to pass up on Lawson and Blair. I still dont think Blair is that great plus he was passed over by every team in the NBA in the 1st round plus a few others in the 2nd round as well. But Lawson offensively at least is developing into a really, really good PG. Again he was drafted at #17 and the Knicks drafted #8 so they werent the only team to pass on him but I can definitely see not only statistically but just seeing him play period how good Lawson is.

  63. d-mar

    Also, Chandler and Felton a combined 10-14 from 3 pt. range in a win over NO. Where was that accuracy a month ago??

  64. BigBlueAL

    d-mar: You guys who voted to play Miami in the playoffs want to reconsider? They really look like something’s clicked, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they go on a major run to finish the season. I still say I’d take my chances with the Magic, I know Dwight destroys us, but the rest of the team just doesn’t terrify me.  

    I voted for Chicago and am sticking to it but I have a feeling Boston might be dropping to the #3 seed. The Heat have looked great last 3 games but they have done this before this season. They seem like a team who can go from looking great to becoming fragile in an instant though which would be a problem in the playoffs if they are that mentally weak at times.

  65. Brian Cronin

    so the only one in the top 10 was Boston, who had traded Perkins earlier in the day and played by far their weakest rotation all year. I think Denver has a ton of quality depth, especially when Gallo is back, but they’ve played weak defenses so far since the trade.

    11th, 13th and 14th are “weak” defenses but 10th would be a strong defense? I don’t buy that. And the Celtics were a great defensive team without Perkins most of the season, so I don’t buy that, either.

    And tonight they put up 114 in a win over the 6th ranked defense.

  66. Brian Cronin

    Smith, by the way, is continuing his embrace of TS%. How weird is it that Smith just figured this out now?

  67. latke

    Brian Cronin: Smith, by the way, is continuing his embrace of TS%. How weird is it that Smith just figured this out now?  

    not that weird seeing as his contract is about to expire. The style does suit his game though. He’s definitely best in a fast, chaotic offense.

  68. Ben R

    Brian Cronin: Smith, by the way, is continuing his embrace of TS%. How weird is it that Smith just figured this out now?  (Quote)

    Actually Smith was very efficient his first three years in Denver posting a TS% of:
    07 – 58.5%
    08 – 60.3%
    09 – 57.6%
    Then last year his efficiency just fell off a cliff. Partly due to stuggles at the 3 point line and partly due to getting to the free throw line less. So I would say he is reverting to form rather than finally figuring it out. I’ve always thought Smith was a really nice offensive player.

    With him playing well they’ve got alot of firepower from deep which gives Nene tons of room inside. Lawson, Gallo, Smith and Afflalo are all excellent 3 point shooters, Chandler and Harrington are good, and Felton can be effective if he watches his shot selection.

  69. hoolahoop

    Finally, someone telling the truth about Billups game last night, not blaming it on missing a few games. From the coaches mouth:
    “The ball didn’t flow and we didn’t move,” D’Antoni said, pointing out some of the same chemistry issues that have affected New York at times since Carmelo Anthony arrived.

    D’Antoni said the team was frequently “standing around and watching” Billups against Indiana.

    He also noted thought that neither Billups nor Douglas looked comfortable in their respective roles now that the 34-year-old veteran is back in the fold.

    When asked how long he expected it to take Douglas and Billups to get acclimated again, D’Anonti said “it should be done. We can’t afford [to wait].”

  70. Brian Cronin

    Sorry, Ben, I was specifically referring to recent comments by Smith where he said something along the lines of, “They finally convinced me that I should be taking more threes” and it made me laugh.

  71. Brian Cronin

    Big loss for the Sixers. After the Jazz blew a 15-point 4th quarter lead, they tied the game with nine seconds left and then beat the Sixers in overtime.

    Good news for the Knicks!

  72. Mowgli

    and New Jersey has won 5 in a row, I know its too early,
    and it doesnt mean anything right now,
    but I cant help thinking that Deron would have been THE player
    for us, especially for our system.

    And even if we can get him when is FA, 3 stars in the same team I dont think its the best way to go. U dont have $ to sign anybody else..I’d rather have Gallinari as SF and use Melo’s money for a solid C and good bench.

    sorry to bring this up again, but I am not and I will never be happy with the trade we did, We gave up a lot for a player we didnt need.

  73. BigBlueAL

    NJ has won 5 in a row but Williams didnt play in 2 of those games. Not to mention the first 4 wins were 2 vs Toronto in London then home games vs Golden St and the Clippers (the 2 games he missed).

    BTW I know all of this because he is on my fantasy team lol.

  74. Nick C.

    How did Williams manage to do so well with a new squad, while playing with an injured wrist and after missing a few games b/c his wife gave birth????? How did that team manage to do so well for 5 games after trading its PG and starting PF? I know its a weak comaprision but still. I think there are examples each way to cherry pick of teams and players that come together quickly and those that don’t. Beyond a few games it’s just a built in excuse that I got my fill of during the last GMs regime. Anyway they get to play tonite let’s see how things go. As for Hansborough I wouldn’t go ripping on the NYK or him so much he had gone for 20+ the three previous games let’s hope it stops there.

  75. jon abbey

    Favors wasn’t starting, he was their third big man when he was dealt. and I still don’t believe we had enough to trade for D-Will.

  76. Frank

    I think overall the offense will be fine once Billups gets up to speed. He looked really bad sunday night — between his and TD’s miserable shooting, that was the game.

    The major problems right now are HORRIBLE HORRIFIC etc. defensive rotations, the constant switching on pick and rolls, and Amare’s terrible interior defense. I’d love to blame this on the fact that these are defensive concepts that rely a bit on playing for a long time together, but the fact they can do it against some good teams and not against other bad teams is a little infuriating. Re: Amare — he is a totally different defender when in foul trouble. If I see him try to “pull the chair” out from another guy posting him up, I’m going throw my mug at the TV. For every traveling call he picks up, he gives up 5 easy buckets. I saw him jump AWAY from the baseline 3 times on sunday night to “pull the chair” on Hibbert, leading to easy layups over Hibbert’s stronger R shoulder. Make the crappy post player go to his weak side please. I don’t know whether this is just bad Amare defense or very poor defensive coaching.

    Again – people will want to blame this on Melo’s arrival and the departure of our previous heroes, but all these problems were present before the trade. We need a real defensive coach, as well as a wakeup to MDA that the focus on defense needs to come from the top. If Amare plays horrible D, he needs to sit down until he gets it together.

    Last thing on this rant – one thing I will say against Melo is that he plays defense with his hands A LOT. He’s got quick hands but it leads to a lot of bad fouls. Jefferies is the same way recently, but his issue probably is more fatigue than anything else.

    One good thing is that Shawne Williams’s shooting touch seems to be back. He needs more minutes.

  77. Owen

    “btw Denver is 7-2 since the trade… Just to say ”

    The Nuggets are actually 8-2 since the trade and have had the best efficiency differential over that period in the league (by a huge margin.) That’s because only one of those 8 wins was by less than ten points.

    Ty Lawson is playing 32 minutes a game and averaging 14 and 8 assists, two steals, two turnovers, and a ts% of 57.5%. That’s my kind of defensive liability. Obviously, he is no Jordan Hill though…

    Meanwhile, Dejuan Blair is averaging 14 and 12 this season per 36 and has played in every game of his ACL-deprived NBA career.

  78. jaylamerique

    Owen: “btw Denver is 7-2 since the trade… Just to say ”The Nuggets are actually 8-2 since the trade and have had the best efficiency differential over that period in the league (by a huge margin.) That’s because only one of those 8 wins was by less than ten points.
    Ty Lawson is playing 32 minutes a game and averaging 14 and 8 assists, two steals, two turnovers, and a ts% of 57.5%. That’s my kind of defensive liability. Obviously, he is no Jordan Hill though…Meanwhile, Dejuan Blair is averaging 14 and 12 this season per 36 and has played in every game of his ACL-deprived NBA career.  

    he has a ts% of 52 and is a 6’5 power foward. i mean can we please stop romanticizing dejuan blair. He starts on the spurs because mcydess is 50 and splitter is still adjusting to the game + he wouldn’t solve any of our defensive needs.

  79. Owen

    Dejuan Blair is making 918,000 this year and posting almost the same Win Shares per 48 as Amare Stoudemire.

    Do you really care about a ts% slightly below league average (and which was much higher in his rookie year) when you get 12 rebounds per 36, strong defense, and a reasonably efficient offensive cog who can set a monster pick?

  80. budfox07

    This is a classic example of confirmation bias. Why have you framed their “winning” and “losing” streaks as you have? Was there a significant change in the make-up of the team? Different players? A new coach (which does not normally affect player efficiency anyway)?

    You’re claiming that this “gel” thing is a reality by citing an example that supports your hypothesis: that the Heat went 9-8 and then went 21-4.

    Would it be any less fair to say that the Heat simply went 10-8 and then 20-4?

    If you flipped a coin 10 times and it came up 5 heads and 5 tails, and then you flipped it another 10 times and it came up 10 heads and 0 tails, you wouldn’t necessarily attribute it to a change in the coin, nor should you necessarily divide the data into two samples (so long as the variables, such as the person flipping it, and the coin itself, etc.) could be controlled. Yeah, a basketball team is more dynamic than my example, but the fact remains that if you have a relatively consistent set of variables (players) from event to event, eventually, the outcomes will normalize or regress to the mean. The Heat are a very, very good team, and their early struggles were probably more about luck than a lack of “gel.” I can’t prove that conclusively (and the burden of proof’s not on me), but your hypothesis seems to stand on little ground to begin with.

    Honestly, that is a rather poor point of comparison. Contrasting a random event such as a coin toss and a coordinated skill based competition is highly specious. It is the very embodiment of “apples and oranges.” The very reason you pay money for LeBron, Wade, and Bosh is to increase your probability of winning. There is no way to increase your probability in a coin toss…it is entirely random! To compare the two would be like me contrasting my socks to a lightbulb. So I think you better put a little more work into your concepts. Also, you speak of “confirmation bias.” Confirmation bias is based upon preconceptions.

  81. budfox07

    Honestly, that is a rather poor point of comparison. Contrasting a random event such as a coin toss and a coordinated skill based competition is highly specious. It is the very embodiment of “apples and oranges.” The very reason you pay money for LeBron, Wade, and Bosh is to increase your probability of winning. There is no way to increase your probability in a coin toss…it is entirely random! To compare the two would be like me contrasting my socks to a lightbulb. So I think you better put a little more work into your concepts. Also, you speak of “confirmation bias.” Confirmation bias is based upon preconceptions.

    The Honorable Cock Jowles:
    This is a classic example of confirmation bias. Why have you framed their “winning” and “losing” streaks as you have? Was there a significant change in the make-up of the team? Different players? A new coach (which does not normally affect player efficiency anyway)?You’re claiming that this “gel” thing is a reality by citing an example that supports your hypothesis: that the Heat went 9-8 and then went 21-4.Would it be any less fair to say that the Heat simply went 10-8 and then 20-4?If you flipped a coin 10 times and it came up 5 heads and 5 tails, and then you flipped it another 10 times and it came up 10 heads and 0 tails, you wouldn’t necessarily attribute it to a change in the coin, nor should you necessarily divide the data into two samples (so long as the variables, such as the person flipping it, and the coin itself, etc.) could be controlled. Yeah, a basketball team is more dynamic than my example, but the fact remains that if you have a relatively consistent set of variables (players) from event to event, eventually, the outcomes will normalize or regress to the mean. The Heat are a very, very good team, and their early struggles were probably more about luck than a lack of “gel.” I can’t prove that conclusively…

  82. budfox07

    Cont:

    The “Gel” thing is this: You have three players who were all the focal point of their offense for the past five or so seasons. They all had to adjust their typical style of play to make this team work. They takes some getting used to. So the “consistent set of variables (players)” that you speak of is not quite consistent, as their roles shift (and reshift) in the offensive scheme. Again, contrasting heads and tails to a highly variable scenario is illogical as heads are always heads and tails are always tails and thats it.

  83. Jim Cavan Post author

    The Honorable Cock Jowles: Yeah, a basketball team is more dynamic than my example, but the fact remains that if you have a relatively consistent set of variables (players) from event to event, eventually, the outcomes will normalize or regress to the mean.

    I think we’re all getting a little too hung up on the “gel” thing (present company obviously included, as I chose an arbitrary number of games from which to examine whether said term had been met). But your point about “outcomes normalizing or regressing to the mean” I think helps illustrated how maybe we should be looking at the term. That is, when we say we’re waiting for our team to “gel”, gel does not, I don’t think, necessarily mean getting to a point where we’re a 55 or 60 win team. That is, “to gel” doesn’t necessarily equal towering success. Rather, I’d rather look at “gel” as a phenomenon by which our current schizophrenia — beating the Heat with solid D and timely hoops, and then abandoning both of those things abhorrently in losing at home to the Pacers in what appeared to be a collective, complete lack of effort — tails off and we begin to see more consistent play (even if that consistent play equates next year to 45-50 wins instead of 55-60). Because if we’re waiting for an Eastern Conference Finals trip or 60 wins in order to deem our crew “gelled”, well, we could be waiting for a while.

    It certainly appears as though we have one of the most schizophrenic — that is to say inconsistent — teams in the league. But every team has the capacity for this. Hell, look at the Spurs’ two games against the Heat, and vice-versa. But those violent swings just tend to happen much more seldom with teams that have played together for years.

    So if we think about gelling as simply regressing to our own mean, it becomes both a little easier to understand and a…

  84. Doug

    DeJuan Blair is the R.A. Dickey of the NBA. How much longer can he keep this up? I wonder what happens if he gets a knee injury and there’s no ACL to tear.

  85. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    jaylamerique:
    he has a ts% of 52 and is a 6’5 power foward. i mean can we please stop romanticizing dejuan blair. He starts on the spurs because mcydess is 50 and splitter is still adjusting to the game + he wouldn’t solve any of our defensive needs.  

    No, his career TS% is .545 (which isn’t bad) and he averages about 5.8 ORB per 48 minutes. By comparison, the Knicks’ entire team this season averages about 10.5 ORB per game. Think about that for a second.

  86. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Doug: DeJuan Blair is the R.A. Dickey of the NBA. How much longer can he keep this up? I wonder what happens if he gets a knee injury and there’s no ACL to tear.  

    I see what you’re saying, but it doesn’t matter. He’s not guaranteed $65M over the next three years. He’s making what, $918k this season? Like so many posters said at the time, that’s exactly the kind of low-risk, huge-reward play that NBA GMs should make 100% of the time. And the worst part is that he was touted by top analysts as one of the best, if not THE best, rebounder in college basketball history. He fell to the best drafting team of the 00s at pick #37. There’s no excuse.

  87. d-mar

    I guess it’s understandable that the day after the Knicks lose to the Pacers at home and Denver beats up on NO on the road, you’d hear some chirping from ex-Knicks, but what exactly does Felton mean when he says: “We’re a better team, I feel like”? Better than the old Nuggets team, which he wasn’t on? And of course Al Buckets has to chime in with “If we had to play them in one game, I think we’d win” Also, I don’t think it shows much class for Melo’s former teammates to slam him when he was THE reason anyone showed up to games for the last 5 years.

  88. stratomatic

    I developed a model for personal use that is a balanced version of PER and Wins Produced. I think it does a better job of valuing rebounds and the tradeoff between usage and efficiency than either of them does alone and therefore is actually superior.

    Based on my model:

    1. Substituting Melo for Gallo should be worth approximately 3.35 wins over the course of a season

    2. Substituting Billups for Felton should be worth approximately 1.00 win over the course of a season

    That’s 4.35 approximately wins added.

    The team was 2 games over .500 when the trade was made and the efficiency differential was more or less in line with that performance. So you could say the Knicks were about a 44 win team before the trade and a 48-49 win team after the trade based on the starting lineup.

    Here’s the kicker.

    My model rates Wilson Chandler as a mildly above average player and his minutes are currently going to inferior players.

    It’s hard to trace exactly who is getting the minutes, but Shawn Williams and Jared Jeffries seem to be getting a good chunk of them even though the positions may be shuffled (Jeffries playing C for example). I don’t have a great sample for Jeffries because he didn’t get many minutes in Houston and there’s not much of a sample for NY so far this year either, but I feel confident he’s a downgrade from Chandler. I do have enough of a sample of Williams from this year to gauge an estimate.

    Giving Williams 10-15 minutes of Chandler’s minutes should be worth approximately -1.00 wins over the course of a season.

    If the same is true of Jeffries (it could be even worse), the Knicks are losing a big chunk of what they gain with Melo/Billups because they have less depth.

  89. stratomatic

    …..continued

    I would also argue that even though the team is marginally better right now (though not nearly as not a much as many mainstream thinkers thought), given that Chandler and Gallo still have upside and we could have used Curry’s cap space to add wins in another way, the trade was bad one from a long term perspective that looks even worse in light of the fact we were supposedly in a strong negotiating position, that Billups is older than Felton, and there is always an outrside shot that Mozgov develops into a useful enough player to add more wins.

    The results for both teams so far seem to support this view.

  90. Owen

    Stratomatic – I would agree with your conclusion.

    Denver was in a unique position I think, with Lawson and Smith on the bench ready to take up the slack. Personally, I don’t think Lawson is much worse than Billups right now. Smith has proven himself as a better scorer than Carmelo and has shown the ability to post 20/36 volumes with high efficiency and low turnovers in the past. He is the kind of guy, along with Marcus Thornton and Ben Gordon and others, who makes clear how ridiculous it is to pay a guy a max contract to score a ton of points while doing little else.

    To make a stupid prediction that someone will spit back at me next April: this Denver squad will challenge for the title of the most efficient in history next year. (Dallas with Nash and Nowitzki has the record)

    It’s really a murderers row (and a stat man’s dream) between Gallo, Smith, Nene, Lawson, Anderson, and Afflalo. All those guys are easily capable of posting a ts% in excess of 58%.

    The Warriors are going to have to take a backseat as my second favorite team, Lee be damned…

  91. Jim Cavan Post author

    Interesting Tweet a little while ago by Hahn quoting Melo as saying he’d “spent the last few days thinking of how to make his teammates” better, and concluded that “if that means me taking 10 less shots, I’m comfortable with that.”

    No idea whether this was prompted by a “talk” with D’Antoni or if he’s simply just thinking through his and the team’s recent struggles. But we can all agree that this is a good sign, right?

  92. Owen

    Not really. We can hope that Carmelo changes the way he plays. But the reality is that very few NBA players make big statistical leaps at this point in their career.

  93. Nick C.

    But Owen, if it is true, and he stops taking asinine shots on which the degree of difficulty is high but the percentage is low won’t his TSP go up (ala Josh Smith last year cutting out the 3s)? I know the comeback is that Smith reverted, but it is hopeful nonetheless.

  94. Frank

    @THCJ

    I am assuming you are in heaven right now with Lawson playing well and the Melo Knicks struggling. Great for you!

    Re: your Blair fascination — I think it easy to criticize lots of things in our position. Our livelihoods and money are not on the line. Fact is (and this came out in several reports after that draft) – many team doctors would not sign off on him. Tough to draft someone when the team doctor will not clear someone, much like trades occasionally get cancelled after a physical (ie. Tyson Chandler a couple years back). A second round pick is basically a freebie – so I agree with you that any team that had a pick in the 2nd before SA should have taken him. A first round pick is guaranteed money with salary cap implications for 3-4 years going forward.

    Second – I’m not sure if you’re complaining to the NBA in general about Dejuan Blair’s draft slide, but we DID draft Toney Douglas in the late 1st round, who has been better than at least 17-18 of the 28 players drafted before him. Tough to argue with getting a very solid guard with the 29th pick in the draft – a guy who will probably play 10+ years in this league as a 6th man, or possibly even as a starting PG on a team that has other ballhandlers. I think in the late first round, you should be very happy to get a solid contributor like TD.

  95. Jim Cavan Post author

    @103

    I don’t think anyone is expecting a big statistical leap. But if we’re talking about a few extra passes out of isos here, a few ill-advises fast break pull up 3s there, there’s no reason to believe his stats couldn’t go up a little bit. And I don’t think you necessarily need them to “jump” in order to have a palpably more positive impact on your team and thus the team’s success.

    Again, let’s use Paul Pierce as an Example. Between the 06-07 and 07-08 seasons, we saw his scoring go down (24.3 to 19.7 per 36), while his assists per 36 (4.0 to 4.5), TS% (.571 to .599), ORtg (110 to 115) and DRtg (107 to 100) all improve.

    Now, Boston’s Big Three was arguably better, and Pierce absolutely benefited from their arrival. But Stat and Billups are no slouches. Like Pierce, I don’t see why Melo can’t actively improve his efficiency. In fact, I think Melo has better court vision than Pierce and is a better natural passer. If he’s coming out and saying he’s been thinking about this for days, I think that says something.

  96. stratomatic

    Felton and Chandler had very good games last night. I can’t wait to see the Knuggets when Gallo comes back. They have so much depth it’s really amazing. They have flexibility in matchups, can go really small with Lawson/Felton, a bench that should be able to outplay most others, the ability to continue at a high level even when two important players like Gallo/Affalo (sp) are out. I don’t think they are among the elite teams in the league, but they have a lot of young players with upside. If they can keep everyone happy with their playing time and use the cap space they have now well, they are going to be a very good team for a long time.

    I’ve been watching every T-Wolves game also. I haven’t changed my opinion of Randolph at all.

    He does some things that absolutely scream huge upside, but he still seems to have no idea that he can’t shoot well and takes a lot shots that are good for other players but bad for him. It hurts his productivity and TS%. If he could just change that part of his game a little (a no brainer really), he would immediately become productive. I think they are more or less giving him his freedom now because it’s Minny, but eventually he’ll either become a better shooter or will be reigned in.

    His rebounding is down a little, but that is to be expected. He went from two of the wost rebounding teams (GS and NY) to the best (the Love Machine). He’s still demonstrating how helpful he could have been on the boards to a poor rebounding team like NY.

    They play him at Point Forward a little and also allow him to bring up the ball up. At times he looks terrific as a passer and handler. For him, it’s mostly going to be about learning what a good shot is and getting more experience. He’s in a great place to get that experience, but probably a bad place in terms of his own current productivity because the thing he does best is rebound, and Minny is already very good at that.

  97. Nick C.

    Along those lines didn’t David Lee, whose percentages on shooting 12-16 and 16-20,or whatever the categories were, were static or improved this year, exlplain the drop in FG etc.% b/c he doesn’t have the slip play with GS that he did with NYK because Beidrins’ man is there waiting.

  98. Michael Cline

    If the Accuscore NBA playoff simulator on ESPN can be trusted, we’ll upset the Heat in the first round.

    Then again, the first time I ran it it had Philadelphia beating Boston, then us, and then Chicago to make the Finals. lol

  99. stratomatic

    Owen,

    I’ve been watching a lot of GS basketball also.

    Some people in GS have been openly hostile towards the Lee deal, complaining about his “D” and much lower efficiency relative to NY.

    Some have argued that he benefitted from playing in D’Antoni’s system as a 5 because he had all that space, but I don’t totally buy that even if it’s true to some extent. He was even more efficient under Isiah and at least some of the time Curry was taking up room down on the block. He scored inside anyway and hadn’t even developed much of a mid range game to keep defenses more honest.

    I’ve looked at the stats trying to figure out exactly what’s going on, but it’s not clear. I think it’s as simple as he’s not be used properly. I also think GS is poorly constructed. The back court is too small and a huge liability on defense. Biedrins has taken a huge step backwards and is a mismatch with Lee.

    If I was GS I’d try to trade Monta Ellis (sell high) and try to get a more legtimate all around SG to pair with Curry. Then I’d try to find a way to unload Biedrins (probably impossible) and find the type of C that belongs with Lee. The kid they have been playing with him lately might be OK in time.

  100. Owen

    I am not saying it’s impossible that Carmelo remodels his game. And there is certainly upside in his statistics. He had a three year stretch where he was much more efficient and played better. But the sum total of his efforts on the basketball court, since college, have never been all that impressive from any statistical perspective. I would say Carmelo’s UPSIDE right now is Paul Pierce’s career. Now, I think Pierce is a very underrated player. After Kobe he is one of the very best perimeter playmakers of his generation. But he is no all time great.

    Re Blair – I think it’s a good point that we got Toney Douglas. He actually was an excellent player in college, projecting as a top 5 pick producer on at least one measure. (statistical +/-) I have no problems with that pick. It was a good gamble at that time of the draft. But if the Knicks could have found a way to buy a late first rounder they should have found a way to get a second rounder also to take Blair with. It would have cost them absolutely nothing. And I suspect the reason they didn’t do it is because he wouldn’t have “fit” into MDA’s system.

    Re Lee – His numbers have fallen but not in a significant way. Sure, he posted a 65% ts% in his better than Kobe year, but gave a probably more accurate baseline at 60% the following year, followed by 59% and a high usage 58.5%. That shows what Lee can do pretty accurately and what I think he would have done without the injury. In the last two months he is has been around 55%. Given full health next year I see no reason he should not go back to being a high 50’s true shooter.

  101. stratomatic

    Jim Cavan: Interesting Tweet a little while ago by Hahn quoting Melo as saying he’d “spent the last few days thinking of how to make his teammates” better, and concluded that “if that means me taking 10 less shots, I’m comfortable with that.”No idea whether this was prompted by a “talk” with D’Antoni or if he’s simply just thinking through his and the team’s recent struggles. But we can all agree that this is a good sign, right?  (Quote)

    It really depends on whether he shoots less often with the same shot type distribution or eliminates most of the bad shots in situations where a pass would often have lead to a sueprior option.

    When I watch Melo play, I see a much better version of Harrington and that’s not a good thing. The saddest part of all is that Melo actually has very good passing skills and could easily become a much better player. It’s up to D’Antoni and Melo to make that come to pass.

  102. jon abbey

    of course, if Walsh had taken a PG like Lawson instead of Jordan Hill like he should have, he wouldn’t have needed to take Douglas with the second pick.

  103. Z

    Jim Cavan: Interesting Tweet a little while ago by Hahn quoting Melo as saying he’d “spent the last few days thinking of how to make his teammates” better, and concluded that “if that means me taking 10 less shots, I’m comfortable with that.”… we can all agree that this is a good sign, right?  

    If he’s not shooting, what exactly is he going to be doing out there?

  104. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Z:
    If he’s not shooting, what exactly is he going to be doing out there?  

    Makin’ crazy scrilla.

  105. BigBlueAL

    From Hollinger’s Insider piece today on his playoff predictor simulation:

    “Just looking at the early rounds, it immediately becomes clear that for anyone in the East, avoiding New York is the key. Boston, for instance, has an 88 percent chance of beating projected No. 7 Philadelphia and a 90 percent chance of beating projected No. 8 Indiana … but shows up only as a 70-30 proposition against the Knicks. Similar odds face the Bulls and Heat in their prospective matchups.”

    Fear us baby!! lol

  106. Ben R

    stratomatic: Then I’d try to find a way to unload Biedrins (probably impossible) and find the type of C that belongs with Lee.

    I think we should “help” them unload Biedrins. This summer we could trade Turiaf, Balkman, Walker and Rautins for Biedrins and solve our hole in the middle with a young center whose value is at an all time low. Or keep Walker and S&T one of the Williams’ instead.

  107. flossy

    Ben R:
    I think we should “help” them unload Biedrins. This summer we could trade Turiaf, Balkman, Walker and Rautins for Biedrins and solve our hole in the middle with a young center whose value is at an all time low. Or keep Walker and S&T one of the Williams’ instead.  

    Is his value really that low?

  108. Mike Kurylo

    Doug: DeJuan Blair is the R.A. Dickey of the NBA. How much longer can he keep this up? I wonder what happens if he gets a knee injury and there’s no ACL to tear.  

    Huh? Dickey didn’t start until the age of 28, and didn’t have a good season until the age of 35. DeJuan Blair is 22 years old with a career PER of 17.6. Maybe Fernando Valenzuela is a better analogy. Someone you’d guess is going to fall off the cliff due to injury. Perhaps Hideo Nomo who had ~1000 IPs in Japan in just 5 seasons.

  109. Mike Kurylo

    Mike Kurylo:
    Huh? Dickey didn’t start until the age of 28, and didn’t have a good season until the age of 35. DeJuan Blair is 22 years old with a career PER of 17.6. Maybe Fernando Valenzuela is a better analogy. Someone you’d guess is going to fall off the cliff due to injury. Perhaps Hideo Nomo who had ~1000 IPs in Japan in just 5 seasons.  

    Maybe I’m thinking the wrong sport. Eddie George? Earl Campbell?

  110. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    BigBlueAL: From Hollinger’s Insider piece today on his playoff predictor simulation:“Just looking at the early rounds, it immediately becomes clear that for anyone in the East, avoiding New York is the key. Boston, for instance, has an 88 percent chance of beating projected No. 7 Philadelphia and a 90 percent chance of beating projected No. 8 Indiana … but shows up only as a 70-30 proposition against the Knicks. Similar odds face the Bulls and Heat in their prospective matchups.”Fear us baby!!lol  

    Yeah, but PER grossly overrates volume scorers, so…

  111. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    BigBlueAL:
    You are such a party pooper….  

    I actually read this piece that said researchers found that fans rooting for underdogs had a better time than those rooting for the favorites. Something to do with exceeding expectations. ’07 Giants, anyone?

    Overvaluing the average pieces that we currently have won’t do anything for your mental health. Being realistic will make victory all the more sweet.

  112. BigBlueAL

    The Honorable Cock Jowles:
    I actually read this piece that said researchers found that fans rooting for underdogs had a better time than those rooting for the favorites. Something to do with exceeding expectations. ’07 Giants, anyone?Overvaluing the average pieces that we currently have won’t do anything for your mental health. Being realistic will make victory all the more sweet.  

    Im as big a Yankee fan as I am a Knicks fan, maybe even slightly more so since I only played baseball when I was younger and work as an umpire so baseball is my favorite sport although only slightly so.

    So trust me I know the differences between rooting for the underdog than the favorite lol. Probably same reason I enjoyed the 1999 playoff run alot more than I did the 1994 playoff run as a Knicks fan.

    But shit man we are fans not statistical analysts. Cant we just enjoy rooting for our favorite team period without worrying about the odds or actual reality of their chances of winning????

  113. Mowgli

    I wasnt arguing the fact that Melo is a great player, I am just sayng:
    ask yourself what would you have done if you were Knicks GM ?

    I personally wouldnt have done that trade, and I am a Melo fan,
    I just think that with a cap you have to use your money wisely,
    U dont necesseraly need 3 “superstars” to be a top team, Chicago has one and some good solid players, and look where they are.

    What superstar even mean ? Espn superstar ? to me Noah is a star for the Bulls more then Bosh is for Miami.

    I think we were covered at SF position wiv Gallo and Chandler,
    and I think we needed, to get to the next step, a great PG ( CP3, Dwill ) and a solid C.

    Yes, probably we couldnt have traded for Dwill now, then I wouldnt have done any trade at all and waited for FA, we are not goin to win anything this year anyway..

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