Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The New Amar’e Stoudemire

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the second installment of a four part examination of what has gone wrong since the Knicks’ 18-5 start—a stretch in which they were beating teams by an average of over seven points a game—and whether or not the Knicks can return [in varying degrees] to their early-season form. You can read part one here and part two here.)

Let’s be happy. Remember that time, a little over two years ago, when it looked like Stoudemire would lead the Knicks to their best season in a decade?

Okay, now let’s be depressed. Think of  Stoudemire’s 2011-12 season. Think of a fire extinguisher.

Happy again: What about the post game that Stoudemire added?

And sad once more: Remember that time Stoudemire had two knee surgeries in one season? Oh wait. That’s now.

It’s hard to keep track of how I’m supposed to feel about Amar’e as his time here has included about a decade’s worth of drama. If it turns out that these are the death throes of his career, however, then this article is pointless. Barring a medical retirement. we will be saddled with his contract until 2015, end of story. No sense crying over spilled milk even if that milk cost you $100 million dollars, right? Well, $100 million may deserve a little pouting.

Before pouting though, let’s operate under the assumption that when Stoudemire returns, he will play as he did in the time before this most recent surgery and that he will be able to sustain that play for 25-30 minutes a night across most of an NBA season. Optimistic maybe, but within the realm of possibility.

We’re aiming to build a team that can come close to sustaining the dominance of its top lineup, so let’s start with the same chart we used as a jumping off point in the article on Shumpert:

One of the most interesting things to me about this chart is that, while we attributed much of his decline last year to the lack of a penetrating guard, Stoudemire doesn’t appear dependent on Felton. Weird, huh? Instead, it turns out that Stoudemire plays better with Kidd, the guy who takes almost 80% of his shots from behind the three point line.

Trivia time!

Q: Who has assisted on the most Stoudemire field goals this season?

You answered: Raymond Felton

<harsh buzzing sound>

Wanna try again? No, you don’t because unless you’re a particularly astute observer, you will be wrong. It’s not Carmelo Anthony. It’s not Kidd or Pablo. The correct answer is J.R. Smith, who has assisted on 26 Stoudemire field goals this season.

The question was a little disingenuous as Felton hurt his hand just as Stoudemire returned to the floor, missing 10 of the 29 games Stoudemire has played this season. When you adjust for the minutes they’ve been on the floor together, Felton surges ahead, but not by much, and regardless, Smith’s connection with Stoudemire is still brand spanking new. J.R. Smith assisted on a TOTAL of five Stoudemire baskets last year.

Why does this matter? Smith has taken up the slack as a dribble-drive passer when Felton is not on the floor or when the first pick and roll fails, and that has been crucial to Stoudemire’s success. You might think thanks to his improved post game that Stoudemire is being used less often in pick and roll. That’s incorrect. Likely thanks to Smith’s newfound chemistry with STAT, Stoudemire has seen a 5% increase in his usage as a roll man while maintaining his always-stellar pick and roll efficiency.

As far as Stoudemire’s post play goes, on the surface, it appears that it is more of a replacement than an upgrade. No longer able to use his quickness to race past defenders and still shooting almost 10% lower from midrange than in his best season, Stoudemire has used his new post game to get lots of shots near the rim while maintaining a usage percentage and shooting efficiency near those of his best years.

This explains a couple of mysteries in regard to Stoudemire’s play this season:

First, it explains the Kidd connection. Kidd’s timing and court vision allow him to set Stoudemire up deep in the post. Kidd may not directly assist many of Stoudemire’s baskets, but you can bet that he earns a number of hockey assists off Stoudemire’s post play.

Second, it explains why, unlike last year when the two were awful together, Stoudemire’s offense suffers the most when he’s not playing with Tyson Chandler. The primary challenge for pick and roll play is completing a pass into the roll man, and with Chandler off the ball, there is far less space in the middle for that pass to be completed. This was likely the explanation for STAT and Chandler’s struggles last year. However, far more important to getting a player good post position are good screens, something at which Chandler excels.

The best way then to describe Stoudemire’s adaptation is that he has made himself a whole lot more like Anthony, a player who can score without an athletic guard. This sounds pretty good given that this team is built to play off of Mr. Melo. But we don’t necessarily need two Anthonys, especially if they don’t come BOGO. Mr. Melo will be on the floor for 36 minutes a game at least, even more if Mr. Potato Head doesn’t get a hold of himself.

Overall, how you feel about STAT depends on what you’re looking at. If you focus on the Knicks’ other bench players, Stoudemire appears a breath of fresh air in his ability to replace Felton, Anthony and Smith in our best lineup without damaging (and sometimes increasing) its production.

But you also have every right to pout: Amar’e Stoudemire makes about $3.5 million less than J.R. Smith, Jason Kidd, Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton do combined, and yet even after reworking his offensive game, the team performs worse if he replaces any of them. The only time he does help the team significantly is when our other max contract is on the bench. Maybe last year the issue was with Tyson and Amar’e, but like a game of musical chairs, this year its Amar’e/Anthony that are the odd duo out.

Unlike last year, however, when it was the offense that collapsed with Stoudemire and Chandler together, this year with Melo and STAT it’s the defense. Opponents have a TS% of 59% including 40% from three when Anthony and Stoudemire are together. The Synergy numbers add more support to the notion that Melo and Stoudemire are the culprits: Anthony allows his man to score 1.03 PPP, 240th in the league, and Amar’e plays like D’Antoni is still coaching him (jab fully intended) when he has to close out, allowing an even worse 1.08 PPP on spot ups. When one of them replaces a guard in our lineup, he has to guard a perimeter player, and perimeter players do a lot more spotting up.

And don’t even bother with the idea of Stoudemire at center. With our guards lacking the ability to contain penetrators and Stoudemire’s persistent defensive lapses, our defense goes right to the pooper there too. For one example, you can scroll to the chart at the top and look at our defense when STAT replaces Chandler. Want another? The most common Stoudemire-at-center lineup includes Anthony, Novak, Prigioni and Smith. That lineup has a DRtg of 126.2, a number only a dung beetle could love.

To close, I know this statement is completely unoriginal, but it’s hard for me to argue with: The major inhibitor to Stoudemire and Anthony being anything more than competent together, especially now that the Knicks aren’t reliant on the crutch of Anthony as a pick and roll ball handler (another likely cause of their decent play together last year), is the similarities of their weaknesses and strengths. Stoudemire can replace the production of some of the Knicks’ role players, and that’s something the Knicks sorely need, but his potential to be anything approaching a max player in the concept of the post-Anthony-trade Knicks, even after two years, is still very hard to decipher. How management could go two years without accepting this reality is simply dumbfounding, especially given the liability of Stoudemire’s surgically repaired knees, but it is what it is, and maybe it’s enough, if some other things fall their way, for New York to make themselves a dark horse title contender before that 2015 deadline.

Next time: What Can New York Do to Maximize Its Title Chances?

107 comments on “The New Amar’e Stoudemire

  1. flossy

    Speaking of Amar’e and Melo’s defensive issues when paired together and the not-unrelated problem of having Amar’e anchor the defense at the 5, it just KILLS me that Amar’e and K-Mart didn’t have a chance to play any meaningful minutes together.

    I think it’s clear that Amar’e can be an acceptable defensive role player, if you will (weakside shot blocking, etc.) but is an absolute travesty when asked to actually play the Tyson Chandler role of quarterbacking the defense, guarding PnR plays, communicating and all that. Kenyon Martin, on the other hand, has shown the ability to completely replicate all the good things Chandler does on defense, in short spurts at least (I wouldn’t ask him to do it for 36 mpg anymore).

    In theory, the Amar’e/K-Mart C/PF pairing should be just as synergistic as the Tyson/Melo C/PF pairing, combining a high-volume, high-efficiency scorer who can get his own shot with a smart/athletic defender who can cover up the former’s defensive shortcomings.

    Obviously we won’t see it play out that way this season, but if K-Mart is serious about playing here next year (as he says), it’ll present some really interesting problems/possibilities. On the one hand, being able to replace one elite frontcourt pairing (Melo/Chandler) with another (Stat/Martin) without losing anything in terms of productivity would be nice. On the other hand, that leaves only 96 total minutes, maybe a few more if Melo gets time at the 3, to distribute among four players. With a healthy Martin and Amar’e in the mix, you’re looking at them maxing out at 20 mpg and even that demands a lot of creativity with rotation-building. Unfortunately, there’s nothing much that can be done about it since Amar’e is not tradable and Martin would be a great value for the vets min or even mini-midlevel.

    It would be bizarre for a team so be so drastically “top heavy” with talent concentrated at the PF/C positions and a wing/backcourt rotation that is…

  2. flossy

    … sub-optimal, at best. But with the roster built the way it is, and Amar’e’s knees precluding any major shake-up, I don’t see much other option.

    Anyway, good post Max.

  3. dogrufus

    What can we do to maximize title chances?

    Nothing. Management probably knows that. They know Amare isn’t worth near his contract and doesn’t help the team much. Trouble is so does every other FO, and we couldn’t trade him away for nothing, let alone getting value back.

    This team’s fate was sealed with its offseason moves. It’s maxed out now at a fairly mediocre ceiling (47 win team in an awful East). We’re unlikely to win a playoff series, and if by some miracle we do get to the ECF, the probability of beating Miami is exactly 0.0 percent.

  4. Owen

    Excellent post Max. Love this whole series. Watching Amare operate in the deep post with such aplomb my first reaction was, this is awesome. My second reaction was, there is no way his body will handle this pounding. And sadly it couldn’t.

    There is a reason guys in the NBA love the mid range jump shot. It’s not the shot that gets you your max contract. But it’s the shot that gets you through your max contract to your extension. It’s really tough playing inside in the NBA, especially with a frame like Stat’s. I hope he makes it back but not optimistic for any playoff heroics.

  5. ruruland

    dogrufus:
    What can we do to maximize title chances?

    Nothing.Management probably knows that.They know Amare isn’t worth near his contract and doesn’t help the team much.Trouble is so does every other FO, and we couldn’t trade him away for nothing, let alone getting value back.

    This team’s fate was sealed with its offseason moves.It’s maxed out now at a fairly mediocre ceiling (47 win team in an awful East).We’re unlikely to win a playoff series, and if by some miracle we do get to the ECF, the probability of beating Miami is exactly 0.0 percent.

    LMAO.Bookmarked.

  6. johnno

    flossy: With a healthy Martin and Amar’e in the mix, you’re looking at them maxing out at 20 mpg and even that demands a lot of creativity with rotation-building.

    Given their age/fragility, having Stat and Martin max out at 20 miinutes a game is probably the best way for them to make it through a season…

  7. ruruland

    Owen:
    Excellent post Max. Love this whole series. Watching Amare operate in the deep post with such aplomb my first reaction was, this is awesome. My second reaction was, there is no way his body will handle this pounding. And sadly it couldn’t.

    There is a reason guys in the NBA love the mid range jump shot. It’s not the shot that gets you your max contract. But it’s the shot that gets you through your max contract to your extension. It’s really tough playing inside in the NBA, especially with a frame like Stat’s. I hope he makes it back but not optimistic for any playoff heroics.

    Why are you so sure that the collection of shit in Amar’es knees that had to be removed had anything to do with a post game, and nothing to do with years of general wear and tear?

    Because of the muscles atrophying Amar’e probably won’t be up to speed in the first round.

    But 8-9 weeks from surgery, when the Knicks are entering the second round, I can see him starting to make an impact.

    By the conference finals against Miami, he’ll need to be a big time player to extend that series. That’s 10-11 weeks from surgery. He should be great by then.

  8. ruruland

    johnno: Given their age/fragility, having Stat and Martin max out at 20 miinutes a game is probably the best way for them to make it through a season…

    Exactly. No back-to-backs, either. Have a surplus of bigs that you can rotate.

    To me, the fact that Amar’e was logging major minutes in a 4 game in 5 night scenario was an inexcusable. But at least he got the procedure done in time for the playoffs.

  9. patrick

    I’d love it if we could count on STAT for a regular 25-30 mpg for the next 2 1/2 years.

    However, and it breaks my heart to say this, but I really don’t see his body holding up for 82 games + playoffs a year. Maybe, very much maybe, if he’s managed really carefully (no back-to-backs etc) he might last out most of a season?

    I was really hopeful that the new role he performed in Jan/Feb would be permanent, but the latest injury has me very doubtful that he can reliably contribute. If someone wants to cheer me up, please do!

  10. Frank

    ruruland: Exactly. No back-to-backs, either. Have a surplus of bigs that you can rotate.

    To me, the fact that Amar’e was logging major minutes in a 4 game in 5 night scenario was an inexcusable. But at least he got the procedure done in time for the playoffs.

    Makes you wonder whether Woodson really thought out the long-term strategy for this season. With a team with so many injury questions (Amare, Shumpert, and the Jurassic bunch), he needs to be able to see the forest, not just the trees – even if you lose 1 game because you played Copeland and White and whoever a lot, you’ll win more overall by sticking to minutes limits and no back-to-backs. My feeling is this season will be a good learning experience for him — in Atlanta he had one of the youngest teams, and even in their heyday, the Pistons weren’t an old team like this one is – so he’s never had to deal with these issues as a HC before.

    Hopefully next year he’ll take this stuff more into account.

    Will be interesting to see what K-Mart wants for next year as it seems likely that we would want to resign him. The vet’s minimum for a guy with his years in the league is about 1.4, but I think he could probably get a 20% raise of his prorated salary this year by the non-bird exception which equals about 1.7. The question is whether he would hold out for the mini-MLE, which would really constrain our ability to get better in the backcourt. We have no idea whether Prigioni would come back (although I would welcome that). We have no idea whether Kidd will come back or retire. You have to figure that Chris Smith will make the team. And then we have our draft pick, which probably should be spent on another interior defender or a PG type (Jeff Withey? Russ Smith? Kabongo?)

  11. lavor postell

    Frank:
    Will be interesting to see what K-Mart wants for next year as it seems likely that we would want to resign him.The vet’s minimum for a guy with his years in the league is about 1.4, but I think he could probably get a 20% raise of his prorated salary this year by the non-bird exception which equals about 1.7.The question is whether he would hold out for the mini-MLE, which would really constrain our ability to get better in the backcourt.We have no idea whether Prigioni would come back (although I would welcome that). We have no idea whether Kidd will come back or retire.You have to figure that Chris Smith will make the team. And then we have our draft pick, which probably should be spent on another interior defender or a PG type (Jeff Withey? Russ Smith? Kabongo?)

    How about trading Shumpert and our first round pick to move up in the first round and draft Trey Burke if possible? Could totally see us and I hope we would put a deal like that on the table. I love Shumpert but I think Burke could be a serious game changer for this team.

  12. Frank

    lavor postell: How about trading Shumpert and our first round pick to move up in the first round and draft Trey Burke if possible? Could totally see us and I hope we would put a deal like that on the table.I love Shumpert but I think Burke could be a serious game changer for this team.

    Still don’t see trading Shumpert. I like Trey Burke too (big U of M fan) but I really feel like we haven’t seen the best of Shump yet. This year he’ll be a 3 and D kind of guy, but next year I feel like he might make that jump if he (God willing) stays healthy and actually gets to work on his game this summer.

    And wow would our guard defense be terrible if we had Burke, Felton, and Kidd as our PGs next year.

    I guess I wouldn’t be upset if that trade were made, but I wouldn’t be happy either.

  13. ruruland

    Frank: Still don’t see trading Shumpert. I like Trey Burke too (big U of M fan) but I really feel like we haven’t seen the best of Shump yet.This year he’ll be a 3 and D kind of guy, but next year I feel like he might make that jump if he (God willing) stays healthy and actually gets to work on his game this summer.

    And wow would our guard defense be terrible if we had Burke, Felton, and Kidd as our PGs next year.

    I guess I wouldn’t be upset if that trade were made, but I wouldn’t be happy either.

    I agree. Knicks can find value in late first round.

    Shump’s got a .585 TS the last 12 games. He’s only scratching the surface.

  14. ess-dog

    Putting Shump at the 3 is killing our perimeter defense.
    I really don’t get why we’re sticking with the small starting forward thing. I get that Melo can do a lot offensively at the 4, but it seems like it’s to the detriment of the the rest of the team sometimes.

    If we can knock Melo and Tyson down to 30 min a night with Kmart and Camby backing them up, and I guess have Shump play the 3 with some back up minutes from Novak/Predator, the front court should be ok.

    But the back court remains a mess. How long are we going to start Prig with Ray? I still think they should start JR, if for no other reason than I think he would properly defer if he was on the court with Melo more.

    But with the way Kmart is playing, and I hate to say this, the team is definitely more well rounded than with Amare.

  15. Frank

    ess-dog: But the back court remains a mess. How long are we going to start Prig with Ray? I still think they should start JR, if for no other reason than I think he would properly defer if he was on the court with Melo more.

    Not sure what your complaint is with Prigs+ Ray – I think that has been a revelation. According to NBAwowy.com, in a small sample of 123 minutes on the floor together, we are scoring a whopping 1.292 PPP on offense and giving up 0.971 PPP on the other end — a +32 per 100 possessions. And in a VERY small sample (34 minutes), the Ray-Prigs-Shum-Melo-KMart starting lineup is a +11 per 100 possessions.

    yes these are all small samples, but Ray+Prigs has been great IMHO.

  16. chrisk06811

    Will be interesting to see what K-Mart wants for next year as it seems likely that we would want to resign him.The vet’s minimum for a guy with his years in the league is about 1.4, but I think he could probably get a 20% raise of his prorated salary this year by the non-bird exception which equals about 1.7.

    I think it depends if he’s saving up for a new tattoo or not.

  17. ruruland

    A couple things. One, Melo’s numbers at small forward are better across the board than his numbers at power forward.

    higher efg%, lower turnovers, higher assists.

    Second, lineups with Chandler, Melo and Amar’e have been extremely successful, with win profiles of 80 and 72 %.

    Frank, do you have that three man lineup data for those three?

  18. ess-dog

    The Prigs-Felton back court is a very small sample size against bad teams. I’m not against it sometimes, but the fact remains that our guards are sub par.

    I’ve been wanting a traditional line up with Melo at the 3 for months, but I’ve resigned myself to the fact that Woodson wants him at the 4, for trendy stretch-4 purposes, I suppose.

    With or without Stat, our guards are a weak spot.

  19. nicos

    ruruland: Why are you so sure that the collection of shit in Amar’es knees that had to be removed had anything to do with a post game, and nothing to do with years of general wear and tear?

    I’d love to see the medical reports- If doctors knew he had some debris in his right knee in October and thought he could play through it if they limited his minutes I’d feel a lot better. If his knee was clean and he developed that much debris over the course of the season that’s another story. It’s been years since he last had issues with his knees so I don’t think this necessarily means he’s headed for Brandon Roy territory in the next two years.
    As for the breakdown- He really didn’t run the pnr with Felton much at all so it’s no surprise Felton didn’t rack up too many assists with him. Also- to me the breakdown was pretty simple: When he played the 5, no matter how well he played on offense the team was going to suffer (especially when your 4’s can’t protect the paint at all) but when he played the 4 the team really benefitted on both sides of the ball. Amar’e’s time also coincided with Melo’s worst stretch of the season but clearly Melo was playing hurt for a good chunk of it so I’m not sure you can say they can’t play together just yet. Certainly the Melo/Amar’e pnr really seemed to work well. It seems to me that when Melo is shooting the three well, they thrive together, when he’s not, they struggle. Are they the most synergistic pair? No, but I’m not sure they’re fire and ice either.

  20. ruruland

    nicos: I’d love to see the medical reports- If doctors knew he had some debris in his right knee in October and thought he could play through it if they limited his minutes I’d feel a lot better.If his knee was clean and he developed that much debris over the course of the season that’s another story.It’s been years since he last had issues with his knees so I don’t think this necessarily means he’s headed for Brandon Roy territory in the next two years.
    As for the breakdown- He really didn’t run the pnr with Felton much at all so it’s no surprise Felton didn’t rack up too many assists with him.Also- to me the breakdown was pretty simple: When he played the 5, no matter how well he played on offense the team was going to suffer (especially when your 4?s can’t protect the paint at all) but when he played the 4 the team really benefitted on both sides of the ball.Amar’e’s time also coincided with Melo’s worst stretch of the season but clearly Melo was playing hurt for a good chunk of it so I’m not sure you can say they can’t play together just yet.Certainly the Melo/Amar’e pnr really seemed to work well.It seems to me that when Melo is shooting the three well, they thrive together, when he’s not, they struggle.Are they the most synergistic pair? No, but I’m not sure they’re fire and ice either.

    they have a really good connection when Melo drives, actually. prior to this year no one had assisted Amar’e more than Melo.

    Put a defensive center and a couple of shooters beside them they do great.

  21. dogrufus

    ruruland: LMAO.Bookmarked.

    Please explain to me what part of my post you find laughable.

    Do we have roster flexibility I don’t know about? Are we very likely to win significantly more than about 47 games? Do we have a high chance of beating Miami if we make it to the ECF? Do we have some high-potential young talent to build around going forward that I don’t know about? Do we have some secret draft picks stashed away?

    What East playoff teams do you think we are likely to beat? We have zero chance vs. Indy, Chicago, Miami, likely won’t play Atlanta. Maybe we have a chance vs. MIL, though our league-worst backcourt will be spotting them about 40 pts every game, and we might beat a Rondo-less Boston.

    Is there some information I don’t know about that makes these predictions invalid? If so, please explain it, as I would happily share in your implacable cheerleaderism rather than be burdened by the low expectations that arise from a realistic assessment.

  22. ruruland

    dogrufus: Please explain to me what part of my post you find laughable.

    Do we have roster flexibility I don’t know about?Are we very likely to win significantly more than about 47 games?Do we have a high chance of beating Miami if we make it to the ECF?Do we have some high-potential young talent to build around going forward that I don’t know about?Do we have some secret draft picks stashed away?

    What East playoff teams do you think we are likely to beat?We have zero chance vs. Indy, Chicago, Miami, likely won’t play Atlanta.Maybe we have a chance vs. MIL, though our league-worst backcourt will be spotting them about 40 pts every game, and we might beat a Rondo-less Boston.

    Is there some information I don’t know about that makes these predictions invalid?If so, please explain it, as I would happily share in your implacable cheerleaderism rather than be burdened by the low expectations that arise from a realistic assessment.

    The Knicks have a decent chance at having their highest SRS in 20 years, and they’ll have done it with $53 million missing about 70 games. They’ll likely have a full complement of healthy players in the post-season (unless you’re counting Sheed).

    You think the Knicks will go 5-9 the rest of the way and have zero chance of beating two team they’re ahead of in the standings.

    They have literally no chance of beating Miami despite beating them twice in the regular season and holding a 16 point lead in the game they lost.

    Just stop.

  23. max fisher-cohen Post author

    ruruland: they have a really good connection when Melo drives, actually. prior to this year no one had assisted Amar’e more than Melo.

    Put a defensive center and a couple of shooters beside them they do great.

    The performance of SToudemire/Melo/Chandler look a lot less impressive though when you take into account that the very same lineups with Stoudemire or Melo subbed out for one of the Knicks’ better players perform even BETTER.

    Yes, offensively they are helping one another, but the cost on defense is larger than that offensive gain even with Chandler in.

  24. lavor postell

    dogrufus: Please explain to me what part of my post you find laughable.

    Do we have roster flexibility I don’t know about?Are we very likely to win significantly more than about 47 games?Do we have a high chance of beating Miami if we make it to the ECF?Do we have some high-potential young talent to build around going forward that I don’t know about?Do we have some secret draft picks stashed away?

    What East playoff teams do you think we are likely to beat?We have zero chance vs. Indy, Chicago, Miami, likely won’t play Atlanta.Maybe we have a chance vs. MIL, though our league-worst backcourt will be spotting them about 40 pts every game, and we might beat a Rondo-less Boston.

    Is there some information I don’t know about that makes these predictions invalid?If so, please explain it, as I would happily share in your implacable cheerleaderism rather than be burdened by the low expectations that arise from a realistic assessment.

    If you want to argue that the Knicks don’t have a chance at beating Miami that’s fine and one I think most people would agree with. The idea however that this team zero chance of beating Indiana (have you watched them at all recently?) or the Chicago “we lost by 900 to the Kings” is ridiculous. Mind you I’m not saying we will definitely beat either of those teams, but to say we have zero chance is going to another extreme. Maybe beat Milwaukee? Is that serious?

    Also flexibility is based on your idea of it. Do we have a lot of flexibility in trades or draft picks we can use? No, but then again this team is going to be ready to reload in 2 years time. Not ideal I’d agree, but this is not the 2005 Knicks with no end in sight and going in reverse. We need to address the backcourt in some capacity during the offseason, that much is obvious, but there are few teams in the East that are going to be vastly better than…

  25. Garson

    Seems like Garnett is out for 2 weeks.

    Aside from us not having to face him, this could drop them to 8th in the standings and give us the desired matchup of Milwakee in the first round (pending our stay in the 2 slot)

    I think an easy first round is vital to a lenghy playoff run… Not to say Bucks are a cakewalk, but terrified of seeing Chicago or Boston in round 1.

  26. ruruland

    max fisher-cohen: The performance of SToudemire/Melo/Chandler look a lot less impressive though when you take into account that the very same lineups with Stoudemire or Melo subbed out for one of the Knicks’ better players perform even BETTER.

    Yes, offensively they are helping one another, but the cost on defense is larger than that offensive gain even with Chandler in.

    Do you know where to find 3 man data?

  27. max fisher-cohen Post author

    @ruru

    yeah, the nba stats website lets you look at any size lineup. I just find it less interesting since you don’t know who the other players are in those lineups and so can’t judge whether a lineup’s performance is due to those three players or the players playing WITH those three players.

    Why do you ask?

  28. Frank

    ruruland: Do you know where to find 3 man data?

    Amare+Melo+Chandler on-court: PPP 1.17, PPP-against 1.076 (only 224 minutes)

    Amare+Chandler w/o Melo: PPP 1.13, PPP-against 0.94 (!) (only 112 minutes)

    Chandler + Melo w/o Amare: PPP 1.12, PPP-against 1.04 (1315 minutes)

    Amare+Melo w/o Chandler: PPP 1.02, PPP-against 1.17 (ouch in 211 minutes)

    And as I’ve posted before, the big lineup with all 3 was just killing teams on the boards — and the lineup with just Amare and Tyson was super-killing other teams on the boards with an ORB% of 42 (!!!!!) and DRB% of 80.2.

    So it IS true that playing all 3 hurts the defense – but the offense was so much better with all 3 that it made up the difference. Disclaimer is that the Chandler + Melo without Amare sample size is so much greater than any of the other combos.

    btw all these #s are from nbawowy.com — ruru if you haven’t gone there yet it is a great website.

  29. lavor postell

    Just a question but I remember that both our TRR and our ORR went to league high levels following STAT’s return and that this was true for lineups with Melo/STAT/Tyson and even moreso with just STAT/Tyson lineups. Getting an offensive rebound counts as an extra possession I assume, so wouldn’t that negatively affect STAT’s offensive rating because the extra possessions will water down the efficacy of each possession even though missing a bunny when Chandler and Amar’e are ready to attack the offensive glass is probably a good decision at times.

    Not sure if that makes sense, but I view it as if STAT misses a layup but gets his own miss and puts it back in that would count as 2 points on 2 possessions right? If I’m wrong please correct me,

  30. dogrufus

    ruruland: The Knicks have a decent chance at having their highest SRS in 20 years, and they’ll have done it with $53 million missing about 70 games. They’ll likely have a full complement of healthy players in the post-season (unless you’re counting Sheed).

    You think the Knicks will go 5-9 the rest of the way and have zero chance of beating two team they’re ahead of in the standings.

    They have literally no chance of beating Miami despite beating them twice in the regular season and holding a 16 point lead in the game they lost.

    Just stop.

    Our SRS has been trending downward quite steadily since the unsustainably good start, and there’s virtually no chance we’ll catch the ’97, ’93, or ’94 teams.

    The idea that it’s some great achievement to be better than we’ve been of late is ridiculous, given we’ve been the absolute laughingstock of the league for that span. It’s a very low bar.

    Our only wins against Miami and Indy came during our unsustainably good start. Since then we’ve been utterly helpless against Indy and Chicago, and only looked good against Miami until they decided they felt like winning. Great defensive teams expose our gimmicky offense for what it is, and force us to over-rely on Melo since we have awful guard play.

    If Miami is playing hard, yes, we have zero chance of beating them. You seem to place a lot of value on small, nice-looking samples that you pluck out with arbitrary endpoints, like those few stretches Melo has done 60% TS for awhile. Our 16 point lead in the first half of a game means less than nothing. Our wins came when Kidd was playing MVP caliber and hitting threes like the greatest shooter of all time. Of late he shots more like the worst.

    We have a tough schedule over the next 14 and are basically a .500 caliber team since the start. I think we’ll beat CHAx2, CLE, WAS,…

  31. dogrufus

    lavor postell: If you want to argue that the Knicks don’t have a chance at beating Miami that’s fine and one I think most people would agree with.The idea however that this team zero chance of beating Indiana (have you watched them at all recently?) or the Chicago “we lost by 900 to the Kings” is ridiculous.Mind you I’m not saying we will definitely beat either of those teams, but to say we have zero chance is going to another extreme.Maybe beat Milwaukee?Is that serious?

    Also flexibility is based on your idea of it.Do we have a lot of flexibility in trades or draft picks we can use?No, but then again this team is going to be ready to reload in 2 years time.Not ideal I’d agree, but this is not the 2005 Knicks with no end in sight and going in reverse.We need to address the backcourt in some capacity during the offseason, that much is obvious, but there are few teams in the East that are going to be vastly better than…

    Flexibility is not some ephemeral, immaterial concept. It’s real and we don’t have it. We can’t even expect to have our own pick every year until 2017.

    The fact that we will probably look to “reload” when Amares deal is up is in itself the problem. We’ll constantly be in a state of overleveraged, maxed out on not-good-enough talent because ownership doesn’t value championships, it values making the playoffs.

    Our unwinnable situation now is just a result of this mentality going back to ’05. We’d have had a good shot at LeBron if we hadn’t spent the previous decade mortgaging our future. In 2015 we’ll probably re-max Melo and add Josh Smith or something.

    There’s literally no way we can ever have any chance of acquiring a player like Durant or LeBron if we never rebuild and never keep our picks. On the rare occasions they’re FA’s they’ll usually choose LA/Texas/FL. I see no path to a championship with…

  32. lavor postell

    dogrufus: Flexibility is not some ephemeral, immaterial concept.It’s real and we don’t have it.We can’t even expect to have our own pick every year until 2017.

    The fact that we will probably look to “reload” when Amares deal is up is in itself the problem.We’ll constantly be in a state of overleveraged, maxed out on not-good-enough talent because ownership doesn’t value championships, it values making the playoffs.

    Our unwinnable situation now is just a result of this mentality going back to ’05.We’d have had a good shot at LeBron if we hadn’t spent the previous decade mortgaging our future.In 2015 we’ll probably re-max Melo and add Josh Smith or something.

    There’s literally no way we can ever have any chance of acquiring a player like Durant or LeBron if we never rebuild and never keep our picks.On the rare occasions they’re FA’s they’ll usually choose LA/Texas/FL.I see no path to a championship with…

    That’s fair enough

  33. ruruland

    max fisher-cohen:
    @ruru

    yeah, the nba stats website lets you look at any size lineup. I just find it less interesting since you don’t know who the other players are in those lineups and so can’t judge whether a lineup’s performance is due to those three players or the players playing WITH those three players.

    Why do you ask?

    Just curious. Great stuff Max and Frank.

  34. ruruland

    dogrufus: Our SRS has been trending downward quite steadily since the unsustainably good start, and there’s virtually no chance we’ll catch the ’97, ’93, or ’94 teams.

    The Knicks can come close to meeting or surpassing the ’97 Knicks with a hot-start. They’re likely to have a higher point differential.

    This Knicks team is comparable to all but two of the best Ewing Knicks teams, which is pretty good I’d say.

  35. ruruland

    dogrufus: Our

    Our only wins against Miami and Indy came during our unsustainably good start.Since then we’ve been utterly helpless against Indy and Chicago, and only looked good against Miami until they decided they felt like winning.Great defensive teams expose our gimmicky offense for what it is, and force us to over-rely on Melo since wehave awful guard play.

    So, I’m the one who cherry picks data? GTFO.

    The fact is that the even when Miami decided to “play hard” the Knicks continued to generate quality shots out of a “gimmicky offense.”

    A gimmick offense — high screen and role– which is basically being patterned by most of the successful offenses in the NBA including San Antoni and Houston.

    There’s actually nothing gimmicky about the high screen and role — the Heat have had no answers in stopping it.

    It does have weaknesses with this personnel, which is Felton taking jump shots off the dribble. But it consistently tests the defenses’ discipline, and Melo in the post has been a pretty solid fall-back option (most Melo post-ups and isolations occur after high pick and roll).

    The Knicks beat San Antonio twice this season, the third ranked defensive team in the NBA.

    I’m guessing those wins don’t count, either.

  36. nicos

    Frank: Amare+Melo+Chandler on-court: PPP 1.17, PPP-against 1.076 (only 224 minutes)

    Amare+Chandler w/o Melo: PPP 1.13, PPP-against 0.94 (!) (only 112 minutes)

    Chandler + Melo w/o Amare: PPP 1.12, PPP-against 1.04 (1315 minutes)

    Amare+Melo w/o Chandler: PPP 1.02, PPP-against 1.17 (ouch in 211 minutes)

    And as I’ve posted before, the big lineup with all 3 was just killing teams on the boards — and the lineup with just Amare and Tyson was super-killing other teams on the boards with an ORB% of 42 (!!!!!) and DRB% of 80.2.

    So it IS true that playing all 3 hurts the defense – but the offense was so much better with all 3 that it made up the difference. Disclaimer is that the Chandler + Melo without Amare sample size is so much greater than any of the other combos.

    btw all these #s are from nbawowy.com — ruru if you haven’t gone there yet it is a great website.

    And that’s with Melo playing hurt a decent amount of the time. Unless you think Melo’s poor play was caused by Amar’e (which, given the fact that he didn’t shoot well with Amar’e off the court during that stretch either, I doubt) those numbers should improve if both are healthy. And remember, the Knicks were still a really good defensive team last year with Amar’e and Melo playing a lot of minutes together- while they improved once Amar’e went down they were in the top ten all year so I don’t think it’s impossible for them to play together at that end of the floor.

  37. ruruland

    dogrufus:

    If Miami is playing hard, yes, we have zero chance of beating them.You seem to place a lot of value on small, nice-looking samples that you pluck out with arbitrary endpoints, like those few stretches Melo has done 60% TS for awhile.Our 16 point lead in the first half of a game means less than nothing.Our wins came when Kidd was playing MVP caliber and hitting threes like the greatest shooter of all time.Of late he shots more like the worst.

    Uh, the game the Knicks lost to Miami by 6 whole points and led most of the game, they shot 8-29 from 3.

    And no, the samples I select are not arbitrary, in fact the reason I post them is because they aren’t arbitrary.

    Dog, check this.

    The Heat have lost three games by at least twenty points since the big three were formed (and all playing together in same game).

    The Knicks have two of those wins, the Spurs in SA on a b2b three years ago being the other blowout.

    So no, the 3-point shooting wasn’t merely beating Miami, it was blowing them out.

    Combine that with the game the Knicks competed with Miami while shooting 27 % from three, it should give you a pretty indication that they can compete with them.

    Second, the Heat played really hard in the second blowout in Miami.Many commented on their energy level until the Knicks started winning and destroyed the narrative that Miami could easily discard them if they played hard.

  38. ruruland

    nicos: And that’s with Melo playing hurt a decent amount of the time.Unless you think Melo’s poor play was caused by Amar’e (which, given the fact that he didn’t shoot well with Amar’e off the court during that stretch either, I doubt) those numbers should improve if both are healthy.And remember, the Knicks were still a really good defensive team last year with Amar’e and Melo playing a lot of minutes together- while they improved once Amar’e went down they were in the top ten all year so I don’t think it’s impossible for them to play together at that end of the floor.

    Especially with Amar’es improvements on that end and Melo turning up his energy in the playoffs.

  39. ruruland

    dogrufus:

    We have a tough schedule over the next 14 and are basically a .500 caliber team since the start.I think we’ll beat CHAx2, CLE, WAS,…

    Ok, so what win total would dissuade you from coming over here every couple of weeks and posting the same thing?

    Look, there’s also a chance the Knicks are peaking at the right time. That with their age and make-up, couldn’t really sustain their top defensive play from early in the season.

    I mean, offensively, there’s little reason to believe what the Knicks have done is fluke.

    That high pnr/Melo-centric offense is third in the NBA, with the lowest turnover rate.

    Something else, dog, at the current 11.8 % turnover rate, the Knicks would finish with the 25th best possession offense in NBA history.

    Historically, the vast majority of those team have been very successful in the playoffs.

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/tsl_finder.cgi?request=1&match=single&type=team_totals&lg_id=NBA&year_min=&year_max=&franch_id=&c1stat=tov_pct&c1comp=lt&c1val=12&c2stat=&c2comp=gt&c2val=&c3stat=&c3comp=gt&c3val=&c4stat=&c4comp=gt&c4val=&order_by=wins

  40. ruruland

    Excuse me, the Knicks, with its current tov rate, would have the 18th lowest turnover rate in NBA history.

  41. ruruland

    This final stretch could be very telling. Not just because the vast majority of successful playoff teams finish strong (read Herring’s recent piece), but because it would make a lot sense for an old veteran team to start well, coast in the middle, and finish strong.

    Dog thinks the Knicks will go 4-10 to finish. I’m thinking it will be more like 10-4. Do I get permission to laugh him off the board when the latter occurs?

  42. johnno

    dogrufus: Do we have a high chance of beating Miami if we make it to the ECF?

    Uh, does ANYONE have a HIGH chance of beating the Heat in the postseason?

  43. dogrufus

    ruruland: So, I’m the one who cherry picks data? GTFO.

    The fact is that the even when Miami decided to “play hard” the Knicks continued to generate quality shots out of a “gimmicky offense.”

    A gimmick offense — high screen and role– which is basically being patterned by most of the successful offenses in the NBA including San Antoni and Houston.

    There’s actually nothing gimmicky about the high screen and role — the Heat have had no answers in stopping it.

    It does have weaknesses with this personnel, which is Felton taking jump shots off the dribble. But it consistently tests the defenses’ discipline, and Melo in the post has been a pretty solid fall-back option (most Melo post-ups and isolations occur after high pick and roll).

    The Knicks beat San Antonio twice this season, the third ranked defensive team in the NBA.

    I’m guessing those wins don’t count, either.

    That’s exactly what makes it gimmicky for our team- the personnel. Great defenses can shut down our offense completely, as IND and CHI have, by taking away Chandler’s roll. Either we just get lucky and shoot amazing from 3 (we were 60-133 in the 4 wins vs. MIA/SA) or we grind to a halt on melo/JR isolations and Felton’s midrange jumpshot.

    The three point shooting isn’t there to sustain play like the perfect storm of the first few games. Kidd has utterly collapsed, an outcome that was the most predictable in the world when we gave up what would be the best guard on our team last season to sign him long-term. Felton’s always been mediocre. Melo’s three point shooting has collapsed as well, his outlier season becoming just an above average one for him, and trending down. Novak only works against defenses that suck now.

    With better personnel we wouldn’t be as reliant on three point shooting with mediocre shooters, like if we had a scorer the…

  44. max fisher-cohen Post author

    nicos: …And remember, the Knicks were still a really good defensive team last year with Amar’e and Melo playing a lot of minutes together- while they improved once Amar’e went down they were in the top ten all year so I don’t think it’s impossible for them to play together at that end of the floor.

    While I do think this is the best argument for optimism, we had better man defense (although not help defense) from our guards last year. Our guards’ defensive weakness this season is dribble penetration, which puts a lot more pressure on the Amar’e/Melo tandem to help, something neither is very good at. We see that issue regardless of health — almost any decent dribble penetrating guard goes off against new york. Douglas/Lin/Davis/Fields maybe aren’t great with regard to lateral quickness, but they’re significantly better than our guards, and then there’s the difference between pre and post-surgery Shumpert.

  45. GHenman

    This would be a very depressing sight without ruru. Most NY championship teams that I have seen over the last 40 years have gotten hot at the right time and beat the odds. That’s what made them so exciting. That’s why we watch the games.

  46. dogrufus

    ruruland: Uh, the game the Knicks lost to Miami by 6 whole points and led most of the game, they shot 8-29 from 3.

    And no, the samples I select are not arbitrary, in fact the reason I post them is because they aren’t arbitrary.

    Dog, check this.

    The Heat have lost three games by at least twenty points since the big three were formed (and all playing together in same game).

    The Knicks have two of those wins, the Spurs in SA on a b2b three years ago being the other blowout.

    So no, the 3-point shooting wasn’t merely beating Miami, it was blowing them out.

    Combine that with the game the Knicks competed with Miami while shooting 27 % from three, it should give you a pretty indication that they can compete with them.

    Second, the Heat played really hard in the second blowout in Miami.Many commented on their energy level until the Knicks started winning and destroyed the narrative that Miami could easily discard them if they played hard.

    Exactly. We played well, but didn’t shoot amazing from 3, and lost. You shouldn’t mistake a 6 point loss to LeBron’s Heat as us nearly beating them. If he had to, he’d have just shut us down even more brutally in the second half. I watched that game. We were never really in that game.

    A lot of teams have beaten big-3 Miami when they weren’t playing hard/well. They started out .500 for a stretch in the beginning. This season they obviously played well below their ability in the early going. This shouldn’t be confused with actually being able to beat them when LeBron really feels like winning in a playoff setting. LeBron has peaked at an arguable GOAT level. Nobody’s beating that team that isn’t OKC or maybe SAS somehow.

  47. dogrufus

    ruruland: Ok, so what win total would dissuade you from coming over here every couple of weeks and posting the same thing?

    Look, there’s also a chance the Knicks are peaking at the right time. That with their age and make-up, couldn’t really sustain their top defensive play from early in the season.

    I mean, offensively, there’s little reason to believe what the Knicks have done is fluke.

    That high pnr/Melo-centric offense is third in the NBA, with the lowest turnover rate.

    Something else, dog, at the current 11.8 % turnover rate, the Knicks would finish with the 25th best possession offense in NBA history.

    Over the next 14 games? No win total would dissuade me from my stuctural issues with the way the Knicks are built and my conviction that we’re about the 12-15th best team in the league and will win 0-1 playoff series. Maybe if we won all 14 somehow I’d drink the Kool-Aid a little, but we won’t.

    You seem to give us a pass for our age and make-up. “We missed 70 games of 49 million$ of players,” you pointed out in another thread, but acting like we’re blindsided by Amare being unreliable is absurd. We signed up for that, just like we signed up for Kidd and Camby and Sheed and all the guys who could contribute for two weeks and then break down like clockwork. The oldest team in the league should expect injuries. We’ve probably run better than we could have expected in that regard, given how durable Chandler’s been vs. his history.

    Am I supposed to be celebrating that we have the sixth best offense? It’s the only thing we’re actually good at, so we should have something. The Tov% thing would be more impressive if we weren’t also dead last in assists, which we are.

    Gee, notice a common thread among that list of teams you posted? One that is perhaps more relevant than tov%? The six best are top 10 defenses…

  48. dogrufus

    ruruland:
    Excuse me, the Knicks, with its current tov rate, would have the 18th lowest turnover rate in NBA history.

    How low does our assist rate rank in NBA history? Dead last in the league now.

  49. Owen

    We aren’t beating Miami unless Lebron gets hurt. We might be underdogs if he were hurt most likely as long as Wade is healthy.

    Ruru – You, as usual, are insanely optimistic. It just shows you haven’t been a Knicks fan very long.

    Dogrufus – I concur with what you wrote above. And I will be grinding my teeth for the next two years in anticipation of the extension we are going to give Melo for his 30’s. It’s honestly too painful to think about….

  50. dogrufus

    johnno: Uh, does ANYONE have a HIGH chance of beating the Heat in the postseason?

    If anyone does, it’s OKC/SAS.

    GHenman:
    This would be a very depressing sight without ruru.Most NY championship teams that I have seen over the last 40 years have gotten hot at the right time and beat the odds.That’s what made them so exciting.That’s why we watch the games.

    Sorry if you would prefer ruru’s irrational optimism mask the fact that the team is mediocre and maxed out. Tell me, how many of those NY championship runs over 40 years have been done by the Knicks? None. We don’t get hot at the right time because our rosters are poorly constructed due to shortsighted priorities and incompetence of management. We win in baseball because we have unlimited money and smart management/ownership. We’ve won in football because we have two teams, which doubles the odds, and football is flukey.

    It’s up to ownership and management to build a team such that getting hot at the right time can translate into a championship. For us it would translate to taking Miami to 5 or 6 games.

  51. dogrufus

    ruruland:
    This final stretch could be very telling. Not just because the vast majority of successful playoff teams finish strong (read Herring’s recent piece), but because it would make a lot sense for an old veteran team to start well, coast in the middle, and finish strong.

    Dog thinks the Knicks will go 4-10 to finish. I’m thinking it will be more like 10-4. Do I get permission to laugh him off the board when the latter occurs?

    I said we’d win five games. CHAx2, WAS, CLE, and one other.

    Given your record with past predictions on the board I wouldn’t crow too loudly about anything. It’s not particularly relevant. We could very well finish 9-4 if Felton or Melo hit a lot of threes. It wouldn’t change the core issues with the team, the fact that we have no chance of a championship for at least the next five years, and assuming ownership stays the same, probably the next five decades.

    Does it seem to you that our team is coasting when it hasn’t beaten a winning team in over a month? Do you believe we could shut down quick guards if we really wanted to, and choose to be destroyed by them every single game as a clever ruse? Do you think the 6th best offense and 17th best defense is a formula for a deep playoff run? Help me understand.

  52. er

    dogrufus: If anyone does, it’s OKC/SAS.

    Sorry if you would prefer ruru’s irrational optimism mask the fact that the team is mediocre and maxed out.Tell me, how many of those NY championship runs over 40 years have been done by the Knicks?None.We don’t get hot at the right time because our rosters are poorly constructed due to shortsighted priorities and incompetence of management.We win in baseball because we have unlimited money and smart management/ownership.We’ve won in football because we have two teams, which doubles the odds, and football is flukey.

    It’s up to ownership and management to build a team such that getting hot at the right time can translate into a championship.For us it would translate to taking Miami to 5 or 6 games.

    OKC is not beating miami, I think they gave that up when they gave up harden

  53. dogrufus

    ruruland: I agree. Knicks can find value in late first round.

    Shump’s got a .585 TS the last 12 games. He’s only scratching the surface.

    We could also find value in the early first round if we ever followed rational team-building strategy and kept our first round picks instead of throwing them at smarter teams as we pay the highest possible price for established big names.

    You’re right that drafting well is a legitimate strength of our FO. Too bad we never get the chance to use it.

  54. johnno

    dogrufus: my conviction that we’re about the 12-15th best team in the

    Which, of course, bears no relationship to objective reality. The Knicks have the 7th best record in the league and the 8th best point differential. What is the old saying? You are entitled to your own opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts. Or how about this one from Bill Parcells — You are what your record says you are.

  55. dogrufus

    er: OKC is not beating miami, I think they gave that up when they gave up harden

    To my eternal disappointment as an NBA fan, you’re probably right.

  56. dogrufus

    johnno: Which, of course, bears no relationship to objective reality.The Knicks have the 7th best record in the league and the 8th best point differential. What is the old saying?You are entitled to your own opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts.Or how about this one from Bill Parcells — You are what your record says you are.

    Oh really? What’s our record and point differential in the past 45 games or so? Without the perfect-storm 18-5 stretch we started with, we’re a very very mediocre team.

    We also play in an incredibly weak conference. The top five seeds in the West have a better record than us. That’s right, we’d be the sixth seed if we were in the West and had the same record.

    And we wouldn’t have the same record in the West. We’d have a worse record because we’d be playing more games against tougher Western teams. Given this, it’s very likely the next couple seeds in the West are also better than us. HOU is likely better now and massively better for the future. LA has far superior talent and is held back by horrible coaching. All told, it’s doubtful we’d even be a playoff team in the West.

    The Nets are better than us too, and the record will show by season’s end (look at their schedule, then look at ours). Indy has been far better than us over the last three months and have an elite defense. Same goes for Chicago. Atlanta is around where the borderline is. I’m not sure we’re better than ATL, but I’m willing to entertain we might be as good.

    So by my estimation the top 8 seeds in the west are clearly better than us, along with MIA, IND, CHI, and BK. We’re about the 13th best team, in the mix with UTA, DAL, ATL. Explain where I’m wrong.

  57. Frank

    dogrufus: Exactly.We played well, but didn’t shoot amazing from 3, and lost.You shouldn’t mistake a 6 point loss to LeBron’s Heat as us nearly beating them.If he had to, he’d have just shut us down even more brutally in the second half.I watched that game.We were never really in that game.

    This is hilarious. We were never in that game when we were up 18 in the second half. If you were reading this site after the game- I reviewed each of the 3 pointers we shot in that game and we had 22 WIDE OPEN 3 pointers with about half of those shot by JR and Novak. We hit only 7 of them. If we hit wide open 3s at even an average rate, that game is a blowout.

    It’s definitely a make or miss league, but I did not feel bad about that game. We’ve played 12 quarters against Miami this year and led for 11 of them- pretty sure no other team can say that.

  58. Z-man

    Dogrufus, your rants are pretty bizarre. Whatever you say that makes sense is poisoned by complete nonsense, as Frank pointed out in @61. I truly feel sorry for you, since even if the Knicks so well right now, you lose; unless you aren’t a Knicks fan at all, and just want to stop by and troll.

    I have no problem with disagreeing with the way mgmt went about rebuilding, being sour on the Amare signing and the Melo trade, or the Lin, non-matching, etc. But right now, this team is still #2 in the east and Amare is the only core guy unlikely to be ready at the start of the playoffs. Out of the blue, K-Mart has given us something we desperately needed. Shump is improving. Kidd and Felton are shooting much better lately. Chandler is getting much needed rest for his legs at the same time his neck is recovering. since we can’t go back in time and undo all of the personnel moves you didn’t like, I don’t see the point in relentlessly crying about the team we don’t have, and spinning the shit out every positive take to make your case that all hope is lost.

    BTW, how did Dallas win a championship just 2 years ago, with much the same management formula as we have right now? Weren’t they hopelessly capped out in the years prior to winning? Wasn’t Dirk a one-trick pony that could never win as his team’s alpha dog?

  59. massive

    Anyone ready for some good news? The Pacers will be without David West, Danny Granger, George Hill, and Lance Stephenson tonight against the Hawks.

  60. cgreene

    The bottom line is no one knows whether we are the 18-5 team or the team that lost 4 straight around the ASB. The reality is that we are somewhere in between with as good a shot as any team of making the ECF. We have Memphis, Boston, Charlotte, Milwaukee, Wash, Atlanta, Indiana at home. Do we not think we will take 5 of those games? I do. Celtics, Heat, Hawks, Thunder, Charlotte, Bulls, Cavs on the road. Tough ones but if we get the Cavs and Cats all we need is 1 of the tough ones and that’s 50 wins. Pretty darn good year. Not great. But pretty good and that definitely gets the 2 seed IMO especially if we beat Indiana at home. We have a better conf record by 3 games right now which would be the tie break.

  61. cgreene

    ps: we get the 2 seed and get out of round 1 I say we are going ECF. the 3 seed and Indiana on the road in round 2 = 40% chance of winning that series.

  62. Owen

    Um, they got really lucky? Dirk was amazing. Terry played the best basketball of his career ever, over the playoff run. Kidd and Marion were still pretty effective. And they had Chandler and Haywood, who gave them a pretty amazing 48 minutes from the center spot.

    Carmelo has never touched the numbers that Dirk put up in those playoffs. Melo hasn’t put up the numbers Terry put up either. Or Chandler for that matter. So there is a lot of reasons to think we are nothing like that edition of the Mavericks.

    They also have one of the smartest front offices in basketball and one of the best coaches, something we don’t have going for us.

    I don’t know, if Melo and JR want to put superman capes on, I am all for it. But not holding out much hope….

    “BTW, how did Dallas win a championship just 2 years ago, with much the same management formula as we have right now?”

  63. dogrufus

    BTW, how did Dallas win a championship just 2 years ago, with much the same management formula as we have right now? Weren’t they hopelessly capped out in the years prior to winning? Wasn’t Dirk a one-trick pony that could never win as his team’s alpha dog?

    That Dallas team was much better than we are. They were as good as us on offense and much better on defense (8th to our 17th). They went 57-25 that year, which is usually on the low end of true contenders’ records.

    Dirk was also much better than Melo’s ever been- a true offensive superstar who gives you elite efficiency along witht the high volume scoring. Melo flirts with that level for a few weeks every now and then but regresses to a mean that is a clear level below.

  64. max fisher-cohen Post author

    Owen:
    Um, they got really lucky? Dirk was amazing. Terry played the best basketball of his career ever, over the playoff run. Kidd and Marion were still pretty effective. And they had Chandler and Haywood, who gave them a pretty amazing 48 minutes from the center spot.

    Carmelo has never touched the numbers that Dirk put up in those playoffs. Melo hasn’t put up the numbers Terry put up either. Or Chandler for that matter. So there is a lot of reasons to think we are nothing like that edition of the Mavericks.

    They also have one of the smartest front offices in basketball and one of the best coaches, something we don’t have going for us.

    I don’t know, if Melo and JR want to put superman capes on, I am all for it. But not holding out much hope….

    “BTW, how did Dallas win a championship just 2 years ago, with much the same management formula as we have right now?”

    Don’t forget matchups. They avoided the fast paced teams that had plagued them in the regular season — they were a combined 2-6 vs. Denver and San Antonio; fortunately for them, both were eliminated before they had to play them.

    All but the best teams need a degree of luck to make the finals. After all, if you average a 60%/40% advantage in each of your playoff series, the odds of you winning four straight series is still only 12%. That said, Dallas got luckier than just about any NBA champion I can think of. I’d guess if you re-ran those playoffs 100 times, Dallas only takes the title maybe 4 times.

  65. jon abbey

    also Barea became unstoppable for like a month, something he hasn’t done before or since.

  66. jon abbey

    massive:
    Anyone ready for some good news? The Pacers will be without David West, Danny Granger, George Hill, and Lance Stephenson tonight against the Hawks.

    and are up by 15 in the second, clearly you didn’t count on the dominance of Jeff Pendergraph and Orlando Johnson.

  67. er

    dogrufus: Oh really?What’s our record and point differential in the past 45 games or so?Without the perfect-storm 18-5 stretch we started with, we’re a very very mediocre team.

    We also play in an incredibly weak conference.The top five seeds in the West have a better record than us.That’s right, we’d be the sixth seed if we were in the West and had the same record.

    And we wouldn’t have the same record in the West.We’d have a worse record because we’d be playing more games against tougher Western teams.Given this, it’s very likely the next couple seeds in the West are also better than us.HOU is likely better now and massively better for the future.LA has far superior talent and is held back by horrible coaching.All told, it’s doubtful we’d even be a playoff team in the West.

    The Nets are better than us too, and the record will show by season’s end (look at their schedule, then look at ours).Indy has been far better than us over the last three months and have an elite defense.Same goes for Chicago.Atlanta is around where the borderline is.I’m not sure we’re better than ATL, but I’m willing to entertain we might be as good.

    So by my estimation the top 8 seeds in the west are clearly better than us, along with MIA, IND, CHI, and BK.We’re about the 13th best team, in the mix with UTA, DAL, ATL.Explain where I’m wrong.

    This is truly insane. The Heat play in the same shitty conference as us if they didnt win 25 in a row then……..i guess they are just a good team, not a dominant one. Your point about records are equally silly as the knicks were constructed to beat eastern teams, so sure they suck against the fast paced western teams (all of whom they beat at home except houston and lac) but that isnt what was in mind.

  68. er

    dogrufus:
    So by my estimation the top 8 seeds in the west are clearly better than us, along with MIA, IND, CHI, and BK.We’re about the 13th best team, in the mix with UTA, DAL, ATL.Explain where I’m wrong.

    I dont understand how the top 8 seeds are clearly better than the knicks. Maybe the top five ill give you, but LA?! if we lost 2 in a row to the wiz and phx this board would be on fire. Also it is quite absurd that you think we are in the group with UTA dallas and atlanta. These teams are a clear level below the real world Knicks, not your imaginary 13-15 best team in the league knicks. The Jazz are awful, and Dirk has been shit since the chip. Indy and chi have been pretty shaky idk if you have noticed the knicks are still the 2 seed after a 4-4 8 game stretch. As for the Nets, see last night

  69. ruruland

    dogrufus: That’s exactly what makes it gimmicky for our team- the personnel. Great defenses can shut down our offense completely, as IND and CHI have, by taking away Chandler’s roll. Either we just get lucky and shoot amazing from 3 (we were 60-133 in the 4 wins vs. MIA/SA) or we grind to a halt on melo/JR isolations and Felton’s midrange jumpshot. The three point shooting isn’t there to sustain play like the perfect storm of the first few games. Kidd has utterly collapsed, an outcome that was the most predictable in the world when we gave up what would be the best guard on our team last season to sign him long-term. Felton’s always been mediocre. Melo’s three point shooting has collapsed as well, his outlier season becoming just an above average one for him, and trending down. Novak only works against defenses that suck now.With better personnel we wouldn’t be as reliant on three point shooting with mediocre shooters, like if we had a scorer the…

    Despite all of this, the Knicks still have the third most efficient offense in the NBA. More efficient than the beloved Rockets, Spurs and even Nuggets (all of which have been healthier and rely more heavily on transition offense)

    That’s with Amar’e Stoudemire, a guy who was having one of the 15 most efficient seasons for usage above 25, sitting out more than 60 percent of the season.

  70. ruruland

    dogrufus: Exactly. We played well, but didn’t shoot amazing from 3, and lost. You shouldn’t mistake a 6 point loss to LeBron’s Heat as us nearly beating them. If he had to, he’d have just shut us down even more brutally in the second half. I watched that game. We were never really in that game.

    This is just stupid.

  71. BigBlueAL

    dogrufus: Oh really?What’s our record and point differential in the past 45 games or so?Without the perfect-storm 18-5 stretch we started with, we’re a very very mediocre team.

    We also play in an incredibly weak conference.The top five seeds in the West have a better record than us.That’s right, we’d be the sixth seed if we were in the West and had the same record.

    And we wouldn’t have the same record in the West.We’d have a worse record because we’d be playing more games against tougher Western teams.Given this, it’s very likely the next couple seeds in the West are also better than us.HOU is likely better now and massively better for the future.LA has far superior talent and is held back by horrible coaching.All told, it’s doubtful we’d even be a playoff team in the West.

    The Nets are better than us too, and the record will show by season’s end (look at their schedule, then look at ours).Indy has been far better than us over the last three months and have an elite defense.Same goes for Chicago.Atlanta is around where the borderline is.I’m not sure we’re better than ATL, but I’m willing to entertain we might be as good.

    So by my estimation the top 8 seeds in the west are clearly better than us, along with MIA, IND, CHI, and BK.We’re about the 13th best team, in the mix with UTA, DAL, ATL.Explain where I’m wrong.

    The Nets are better than the Knicks?? OK you have obviously become a Nets fan and are trolling us. Ive been reading for the past 3 weeks here that the Knicks were going to fall to the 5-7 seed range and all they have done is actually gained ground on Indiana and tied them again for 2nd while further distancing themselves from the 5-7 seeds and are up 3 games in the loss column on the Nets whose next 3 games are at Portland, Denver and Utah.

  72. johnno

    dogrufus: Oh really? What’s our record and point differential in the past 45 games or so? Without the perfect-storm 18-5 stretch we started with, we’re a very very mediocre team.

    In case you didn’t notice, the season is 82 games long — and all of them count. All teams go through unsustainably hot streaks (Heat and Nugget current streaks and Clippers 18 game streak earlier in the year) which, if you subtracted from their records, would leave them looking much less impressive. Teams go through unsustainably cold stretches too which, if you subtracted them from their records, would make them look more impressive. Take out a 3-7 stretch from the Knicks’ record and WOW! If you look at the 6 week stretch from the beginning of January until the middle of March the Wizards were world-beaters. Unfortunately for them, you can’t ignore the rest of the season. The bottom line is this — the Knicks are a good enough team that, if they play up to their potential in the playoffs, they can make some real noise and have a chance (albeit a very slim one) of making it to the finals. If, on the other hand, they play even slightly below their best, they can lose in the first round. My suggestion is that everyone should wait until they are finished playing for the year before we decide if the season is a success.

  73. BigBlueAL

    Also the Pacers next 5 games are at Dallas, at Houston, at Phoenix, at the Clippers and home vs OKC. They play in NY toward the end of the season so if the Knicks win that game the season series will be tied at 2-2 and since currently the Knicks have 3 less losses vs the East than Indiana they will most likely finish with the better conference record.

    The Knicks are much more likely to finish 2nd than 4th with 3rd still being probably the most likely scenario.

  74. ruruland

    dogrufus: Exactly. P>A lot of teams have beaten big-3 Miami when they weren’t playing hard/well. They started out .500 for a stretch in the beginning. This season they obviously played well below their ability in the early going. This shouldn’t be confused with actually being able to beat them when LeBron really feels like winning in a playoff setting. P>

    How do you qualify when Miami is and isn’t playing hard?

    Secondly, are they the only team that doesn’t play hard all the time?

    I’d argue that one of the Heat’s biggest advantages is that Lebron and Wade are capable of playing with more energy — playing harder– than most of the players in the league.

    I’d argue that that advantage dwindles in the playoffs. And let’s not pretend that the Heat haven’t struggled some in the post-season.

    Boston and Indiana weren’t exactly superpowers last year, and it’s quite conceivable that the Knicks, with Amar’e, could match what Dallas did to them in the Finals two years ago.

    Also, I’ve watched thousands of basketball games, as had many of the people who commented during the second Heat vs Knicks game that the Heat were playing hard with a point to prove.

    Were they not playing hard in the third game after getting blown out twice to the Knicks previously? The same game they fell down 16 points and were fortunate to have the Knicks wide-open 3 after wide-open 3 down the stretch.

    get outta here. Look, I’m not saying the Knicks are likely to beat Miami, just that they have a punchers chance, enough that it should be great series.

    You cannot have it both ways. You cannot, one hand, ignore how the Knicks have played against Miami, and then base your argument on the other playoff oppponents on the regular season match-ups.

    That’s cherry-picking at its worst. What a great fan you are.

  75. GHenman

    dogrufus: If anyone does, it’s OKC/SAS.Sorry if you would prefer ruru’s irrational optimism mask the fact that the team is mediocre and maxed out. Tell me, how many of those NY championship runs over 40 years have been done by the Knicks? None. We don’t get hot at the right time because our rosters are poorly constructed due to shortsighted priorities and incompetence of management. We win in baseball because we have unlimited money and smart management/ownership. We’ve won in football because we have two teams, which doubles the odds, and football is flukey. It’s up to ownership and management to build a team such that getting hot at the right time can translate into a championship. For us it would translate to taking Miami to 5 or 6 games.
    The Knicks did win it in ’73 and ’70 before that. I was a young boy, but I don’t think they were the best team in the league either year. If they get healthy, I beleive they will have a punchers chance, as long as they don’t punch any fire extinguishers. Maybe we get lucky and the Heat get all the freak injuries. I may be overly optimistic, but to say they have no chance is irrationally pessimistic. As for the future, can’t they redo some of these contracts under the new cba?

  76. ruruland

    johnno: In case you didn’t notice, the season is 82 games long — and all of them count. All teams go through unsustainably hot streaks (Heat and Nugget current streaks and Clippers 18 game streak earlier in the year) which, if you subtracted from their records, would leave them looking much less impressive. Teams go through unsustainably cold stretches too which, if you subtracted them from their records, would make them look more impressive. Take out a 3-7 stretch from the Knicks’ record and WOW! If you look at the 6 week stretch from the beginning of January until the middle of March the Wizards were world-beaters. Unfortunately for them, you can’t ignore the rest of the season. The bottom line is this — the Knicks are a good enough team that, if they play up to their potential in the playoffs, they can make some real noise and have a chance (albeit a very slim one) of making it to the finals. If, on the other hand, they play even slightly below their best, they can lose in the first round. My suggestion is that everyone should wait until they are finished playing for the year before we decide if the season is a success.

    This.

  77. johnno

    dogrufus: And we wouldn’t have the same record in the West. We’d have a worse record because we’d be playing more games against tougher Western teams

    By the way, I know that you don’t like to let facts get in the way of your opinion, but the Knicks have a 15-13 record against the Western Conference. The Nets are 12-15, the Hawks 15-14, the Celtics 14-15, the Bucks 12-13 and the mighty Bulls 11-13.

  78. ruruland

    dogrufus: We could also find value in the early first round if we ever followed rational team-building strategy and kept our first round picks instead of throwing them at smarter teams as we pay the highest possible price for established big names.You’re right that drafting well is a legitimate strength of our FO. Too bad we never get the chance to use it.

    The Knicks have had multiple opportunities to deal Shumpert. Good people are in the front office.

    Barring injuries, the Knicks will make a few runs at a championship with Melo and Chandler, and they’re going to be here for the long haul.

    Melo is going to take a substantial pay cut on his extension. And 1-2 great players will be added to the mix in 2015, along with even better role players.

    The next window will be much wider than the current one.

    If you honestly think all of this is simply bidding time for a complete rebuild in a couple of years, you haven’t paid attention.

    Mistakes were made in the past. The Knicks gave up too much in the Melo deal. They made mistakes with Amar’es contract.

    But what they’ve done with the cards they had was pretty good. This team has a puncher’s chance before the reload.

  79. ruruland

    dogrufus: Indy has been far better than us over the last three months and have an elite defense. Same goes for Chicago. Atlanta is around where the borderline is. I’m not sure we’re better than ATL, but I’m willing to entertain we might be as good.So by my estimation the top 8 seeds in the west are clearly better than us, along with MIA, IND, CHI, and BK. We’re about the 13th best team, in the mix with UTA, DAL, ATL. Explain where I’m wrong.

    Gold.

  80. jon abbey

    yellowboy90:
    wall putting on a show against the Grizz and NO is up by 19 early.

    kind of terrible news for the Wiz in a way, though, good luck signing him for less than the max after that game.

  81. jon abbey

    one reason I was so pessimistic about our chances against Indiana/Chicago/Boston/Brooklyn is I thought all of those teams beat us up a bit and got into our heads and that would only get worse over a playoff series. that decidedly changes if we really have this version of Martin for the duration, fingers crossed.

  82. bobneptune

    Z-man:

    BTW, how did Dallas win a championship just 2 years ago, with much the same management formula as we have right now? Weren’t they hopelessly capped out in the years prior to winning? Wasn’t Dirk a one-trick pony that could never win as his team’s alpha dog?

    First of all, Dallas won 50+ games 11 straight years during that run in the west, so they were pretty good for a decade leading up to the championship.

    Besides Chandler (2 yrs younger without a ‘bulging disk’ in his neck) they had another good defender starting named Marion.

    Their high usage/Hi volume forward scorer had a .612 TS% for the year and not a .555 like ours. Dirk’s career playoff TS% is .584 over 128 games whereas melo’s is a whopping .518 over 54 games.

    Dallas also had a roadrunner back up point Barea to wreak havoc with the opposition.

    And , of course Kidd is 2 years older, not better.

    However;I would not be surprised if the Knicks made it to the EC finals, but if they were in the west, I’m not sure who they would be a favorite over. But they are in the east, thank God.

    Health is their problem. Wallace and crazy eyes are likely done. Amar’e is a long shot to return. All hopes lay on Kenyon Martin (yes, he of the 2 microfracture surgeries) a lifetime WS/48 of .100 continuing to play another 40 games at his current .179 clip. But hey, the Resurrection is Sunday, so anything is possible. Of course, Melo’s hammy has to be thought of as iffy.

    But the real fear is Chandler. This isn’t some guy sleeping wrong and waking up with a stiff neck. He has a disc problem in his neck and the nerve supply for the arms comes from the Brachial Plexus. That’s the one to watch. Disc problem in the neck = diminished power in the arms.

  83. bobneptune

    ruruland:

    Melo is going to take a substantial pay cut on his extension.

    I understand you are a fanboi, but what on earth makes you think this , other than waving the pom-poms in the fanboidom your fertile imagination?

    You know, he had the chance to do this (take less) a couple of years ago and refused when he could have become an UFA and left the Knicks with assets to move for a real top player to play along side him.

  84. Z-man

    Owen:
    Um, they got really lucky? Dirk was amazing. Terry played the best basketball of his career ever, over the playoff run. Kidd and Marion were still pretty effective. And they had Chandler and Haywood, who gave them a pretty amazing 48 minutes from the center spot.

    Carmelo has never touched the numbers that Dirk put up in those playoffs. Melo hasn’t put up the numbers Terry put up either. Or Chandler for that matter. So there is a lot of reasons to think we are nothing like that edition of the Mavericks.

    They also have one of the smartest front offices in basketball and one of the best coaches, something we don’t have going for us.

    I don’t know, if Melo and JR want to put superman capes on, I am all for it. But not holding out much hope….”

    Really, what championship team over the last decade hasn’t gotten INCREDIBLY lucky at some point?

    SA: lucked into Tim Duncan, w/o whom they have zero rings
    Miami: lucked into LeBron James and Chris Bosh taking less than the max to team up with Wade
    Boston: lucked into Garnett by making one of the most one-sided trades in NBA history, thanks to Benedict McHale
    Lakers: Lucked into Shaq and Pau Gasol
    OKC: lucked into Durant when they had the 2nd pick and Portland took Oden

    Bottom line: once LeBron went to the Heat, Knicks were reduced to having only a puncher’s chance of winning anything. They have just as much of a chance of getting to the conference finals as any team other than Miami, OKC and SAS. It would take a lot of luck for us to get there, and some even to get to the ECF’s.

  85. ruruland

    bobneptune: I understand you are a fanboi, but what on earth makes you think this , other than waving the pom-poms in the fanboidom your fertile imagination?

    You know, he had the chance to do this (take less) a couple of years ago and refused when he could have become an UFA and left the Knicks with assets to move for a real top player to play along side him.

    This one’s bookmarked, too.

  86. Z-man

    bobneptune: First of all, Dallas won 50+ games 11 straight years during that run in the west, so they were pretty good for a decade leading up to the championship.

    Besides Chandler (2 yrs younger without a ‘bulging disk’ in his neck) they had another good defender starting named Marion.

    Their high usage/Hi volume forward scorer had a .612 TS% for the year and not a .555 like ours.Dirk’s career playoff TS% is .584 over 128 games whereas melo’s is a whopping .518 over 54 games.

    Dallas also had a roadrunner back up point Barea to wreak havoc with the opposition.

    And , of course Kidd is 2 years older, not better.

    However;I would not be surprised if the Knicks made it to the EC finals, but if they were in the west, I’m not sure who they would be a favorite over. But they are in the east, thank God.

    Health is their problem. Wallace and crazy eyes are likely done. Amar’e is a long shot to return. All hopes lay on Kenyon Martin (yes, he of the 2 microfracture surgeries) a lifetime WS/48 of .100 continuing to play another 40 games at his current .179 clip. But hey, the Resurrection is Sunday, so anything is possible. Of course, Melo’s hammy has to be thought of as iffy.

    But the real fear is Chandler. This isn’t some guy sleeping wrong and waking up with a stiff neck. He has a disc problem in his neck and the nerve supply for the arms comes from the Brachial Plexus. That’s the one to watch. Disc problem in the neck = diminished power in the arms.

    Dallas was always on the verge of being capped out and made many terrible deals along the way. Finally they patched together the winning formula, aided by several guys having career years.

    As to your shoveling dirt on Chandler, WTF? You have obviously read his MRI and are an expert on his specific injury.

    Do K-Mart and Kidd look washed up to you? Not to me. I’m OK going to battle…

  87. BigBlueAL

    You all can worry about 2014 and 2015, Im rather enjoying this year and am looking forward to the next couple of months. Anything to keep me from having to watch Vernon Wells and Juan Rivera getting plenty of at-bats in April and May lol.

  88. Z-man

    …with them. As to Barea and Terry, what have they done since? Why is it so implausible that Felton and JR might step up just like they did?

  89. er

    BigBlueAL:
    You all can worry about 2014 and 2015, Im rather enjoying this year and am looking forward to the next couple of months.Anything to keep me from having to watch Vernon Wells and Juan Rivera getting plenty of at-bats in April and May lol.

    +100

  90. Brian Cronin

    Yeah, I haven’t seen a Knick second round playoff series in over a dozen years!! If that’s all I see this year then I’m pleased (a third round showing would be nice, though. I think the last third round appearance for the Knicks was the same year of their last second round appearance).

  91. BigBlueAL

    Brian Cronin:
    Yeah, I haven’t seen a Knick second round playoff series in over a dozen years!! If that’s all I see this year then I’m pleased (a third round showing would be nice, though. I think the last third round appearance for the Knicks was the same year of their last second round appearance).

    Yup, 2000 they reached the conference finals. The last playoff series victory for the franchise was in the 2nd round that season vs Miami.

    You know its funny because there are some people here who are trying to minimize the Knicks success this season because the East outside of Miami is bad and reaching the conference finals wouldnt be that big a deal because if they were in the West they wouldnt even win a round. Well this was all true in 1999 and 2000 yet nobody looks back at those teams skeptically, they look back at them with fond memories as they should.

    The 1999 and 2000 Knicks were basically slightly above average teams in the regular season playing in a weak East with only 2 other good teams (Indiana and Miami) to deal with come playoff time and they took advantage of that with a memorable run to the NBA Finals in 1999 and to the East Finals in 2000. Those teams had many flaws and a roster of players that didnt seem to fit properly (sound familiar??) yet I enjoyed every second of watching that team.

    Riley’s teams (plus the 1997 Knicks) were a different story because they were very good to great regular season teams who gave us some great memories and heartbreaks come playoff time. Riley laid the groundwork for the franchise which allowed them to reach the 2nd round of the playoffs 9 straight seasons. Dont see that happening with this current group obviously but I will gladly take and enjoy a 2 to 3 year stretch like the Spree/Houston teams gave us which this current group is capable of doing.

  92. Brian Cronin

    I slightly disagree.

    On the one hand, obviously, who cares if the Knicks are lucky to be in the East if it means they get to go further in the playoffs than they would normally?

    On the other hand, I very much remember how weak the East was those years (and especially in 2001-2003, when the East was so bad that the Sixers and Nets represented them in the NBA Finals – at least the 2000 Pacers were a legitimately good team and I think you could say that about the ’99 Knicks, Heat and Pacers), so I wouldn’t say that we forget how weak the conference was just because the Knicks did well in the weak conference. You can’t tell me that you don’t look back at the 2001 Sixers and not think about how bad the East was from around 1999-2003.

  93. BigBlueAL

    Brian Cronin:
    I slightly disagree.

    On the one hand, obviously, who cares if the Knicks are lucky to be in the East if it means they get to go further in the playoffs than they would normally?

    On the other hand, I very much remember how weak the East was those years (and especially in 2001-2003, when the East was so bad that the Sixers and Nets represented them in the NBA Finals – at least the 2000 Pacers were a legitimately good team and I think you could say that about the ’99 Knicks, Heat and Pacers), so I wouldn’t say that we forget how weak the conference was just because the Knicks did well in the weak conference. You can’t tell me that you don’t look back at the 2001 Sixers and not think about how bad the East was from around 1999-2003.

    That 2001 76ers team got off to an amazing start and was the talk of the NBA for the first couple of months. Then they made a HUGE trade by getting Mutombo at the deadline even though they had to give up Theo Ratliff who was hurt at the time I believe. That team won 56 games and had to beat the Allen/Cassell/Big Dog Bucks team in the conference finals who won 52 games themselves. They also had made it to the 2nd round in 1999 and 2000 before losing to Indiana so you could argue they were a young team on the rise and with the Pacers rebuilding, the Knicks trading Ewing and Zo getting hurt before the season that was their time. I dont look at that team as a fluke team in a weak East, I give them their props for being a very good team that season.

    Cant argue with you about the Nets teams though, all I do remember is how awful the East was those years lol. But this Knicks team has the best team in the NBA in their conference so it really doesnt compare to the East during the Nets reign imo.

  94. BigBlueAL

    Also the 2000 Knicks did win 50 games yet there were 2 teams who won more in the East that season in Indiana and Miami who had been very good teams the previous 2 seasons (in Miami’s case previous 3 seasons) so yeah they had 2 legitimate good teams to deal with.

    The current Knicks have the best team in the NBA to deal with plus a Pacers team who could win 50 games as well in their conference and a couple of teams behind them in the standings who despite mediocre records everyone here is scared to death of in the Bulls and Celtics. So yeah if the Knicks make the East Finals this year Im going to remember them very fondly in the future, even more so if they win 50 games which they very well could (need to go 8-6 rest of the way) because that would solidify them in my eyes as being a very good regular season team too.

  95. Brian Cronin

    Oh yeah, just by virtue of Miami being in the East the East is better now than it was in that 2000-2003 era.

    But again, remembering them fondly and remembering that they played in a weak conference are not necessarily opposing points of view, ya know?

    I just want to see them win. I don’t really care too much where they rate amongst past teams when doing so. :)

  96. BigBlueAL

    Brian Cronin:
    Oh yeah, just by virtue of Miami being in the East the East is better now than it was in that 2000-2003 era.

    But again, remembering them fondly and remembering that they played in a weak conference are not necessarily opposing points of view, ya know?

    I just want to see them win. I don’t really care too much where they rate amongst past teams when doing so. :)

    You and me can acknowledge the East isnt very strong but still enjoy watching this team and potentially looking back at them very fondly in the future but its pretty obvious that some people here wont feel the same way and will use the weak East as an excuse to minimize whatever success this team has mainly it seems because they dont want the Melo Knicks to be looked at favorably in the future.

    My point is the relatively weak East in 1999 and 2000 doesnt seem to have diminished what those Knicks did in the playoffs so why should it diminish what the current Knicks do if they indeed reach the conference finals and lose to the best team in the NBA?? Especially if along the way they eliminate teams like the Celtics and/or Pacers who are bitter rivals in Knicks history and are always fun to play against and defeat.

    Im not saying the current Knicks if they lose to the Heat in the conference finals should be considered a very good team in NBA history like Riley’s Knicks were but like it or not they would be one of the most successful teams in Knicks history.

  97. johnno

    dogrufus: The Nets are better than us too, and the record will show by season’s end (look at their schedule, then look at ours). Indy has been far better than us over the last three months and have an elite defense. Same goes for Chicago. Atlanta is around where the borderline is. I’m not sure we’re better than ATL, but I’m willing to entertain we might be as good.
    So by my estimation the top 8 seeds in the west are clearly better than us, along with MIA, IND, CHI, and BK. We’re about the 13th best team, in the mix with UTA, DAL, ATL. Explain where I’m wrong.

    OK, so “what have you done for me lately?”
    Since February 1, I think that everyone would agree that the Knicks have had a reasonably difficult schedule. Their record over that time is 14-11. Here are the records of some of the teams that Dogrufus thinks are “clearly better” or in the same category as the Knicks over that time — Celtics 14-10, Hawks 13-13, Bulls 10-14, Nets 14-10, Bucks 10-15, Warriors 12-14, Clippers 14-10, Jazz 10-15. Are any of those records “clearly better” than the Knicks’ record over the same stretch? And remember, Melo missed five games during that time and was clearly compromised in two more in which he tried to play (GS and Denver). Take out those 7 games and the Knicks are 12-6 since February 1. There are only about 3 or 4 teams that have won more than 2/3 of their games since 2/1.

  98. maxwell_3g

    ruruland: Exactly. No back-to-backs, either. Have a surplus of bigs that you can rotate.

    To me, the fact that Amar’e was logging major minutes in a 4 game in 5 night scenario was an inexcusable. But at least he got the procedure done in time for the playoffs.

    same person who was upset that amare didnt finish out the heat game. pick a side, my man. more minutes or less?

  99. maxwell_3g

    dogrufus: Flexibility is not some ephemeral, immaterial concept.It’s real and we don’t have it.We can’t even expect to have our own pick every year until 2017.

    The fact that we will probably look to “reload” when Amares deal is up is in itself the problem.We’ll constantly be in a state of overleveraged, maxed out on not-good-enough talent because ownership doesn’t value championships, it values making the playoffs.

    Our unwinnable situation now is just a result of this mentality going back to ’05.We’d have had a good shot at LeBron if we hadn’t spent the previous decade mortgaging our future.In 2015 we’ll probably re-max Melo and add Josh Smith or something.

    There’s literally no way we can ever have any chance of acquiring a player like Durant or LeBron if we never rebuild and never keep our picks.On the rare occasions they’re FA’s they’ll usually choose LA/Texas/FL.I see no path to a championship with…

    +1000. i honeslty think if things thud this year we should look to trade melo for picks galore and start building up young talent and picks for 2015

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