Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Friday, August 1, 2014

The Remastered Michael Jordan

Two things happen this week that seem momentous but really aren’t. Except that they kind of are.

Yesterday, (when love was such an easy game to play), a remastered edition of The Beatles’ entire catalogue was released, much to the delight of millions of people who already own copies of all of their records.

On Friday, Michael Jordan (for whom Game 1 of the 1992 Finals was such an easy game to play) will be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame, a foregone conclusion that would have come to pass five years ago had Jordan not (temporarily) traded his golf clubs for a Wizards jersey in 2001, two years shy of becoming eligible for first ballot enshrinement.

So it is that the worlds of rock music and professional basketball turn their respective eyes to the greatest icons in their respective histories, despite the fact that neither icon has created anything new, accomplished anything unexpected, or done anything else to warrant the attention being newly heaped upon them (especially not that awful Okafor for Chandler trade). And yet, somehow, I have spent the better part of the week with the Beatles playing on my iPod and am in the midst of DVRing 9 hours of NBA TV’s Jordan marathon (including the double nickel, which I will revisit out of the masochism with which visitors to a website named KnickerBlogger should be well acquainted).

The lesson, I suppose, is that truly transcendent greatness, the kind that gets inside its observers and re-emerges as either influence or obsession, doesn’t ever stop. Icons capable of so thoroughly dominating the cultural consciousness at the height of their greatness end up defining those cultures long after that greatness subsides. Some people desperately search for excuses to revisit the experience of buying Beatles albums (Oh, the harmonies on Abbey Road sound good this time? You’re kidding!) because they want to recapture the awe they felt hearing them for the first time; other (or in some cases the same) people use Jordan’s Hall of Fame Induction as an excuse to watch 20 year old basketball games for the fifth time without seeming like they’re (completely) crazy.

We buy into contrived excuses to revisit that kind of brilliance for two reasons. The first reason is that the kind of greatness in which the Beatles and Jordan traffic is irreplicableirreplicable because no one, not the Kinks or Kobe, not Oasis or LeBron, can ever be exactly what The Beatles or Jordan were (and still are), mean exactly what The Beatles or Jordan meant (and still mean). Through their achievements and connotations (both good and bad), both have carved out places in the zeitgeist whose impact can be equalled, possibly even surpassed, but never duplicated.

The second reason we keep going back for more is that transcendent greatness is inexhaustible. Much like the second half of Abbey Road or the crescendos in A Day in the Life, Jordan’s series winning jumper over Craig Ehlo in the first round of the 1989 playoffs never stops producing goosebumps. Neither does his dunk on Ewing in the ’91 playoffs (which gives me a rare goosebumps/nausea combo), his hand-switching finish against the Lakers in that season’s Finals, the Flu Game in the ’97 finals, the ’98 title-winner over Bryon Russell, or any of a dozen other moments, each of which is, individually, made greater by awareness of the whole; in Jordan’s case, success is all the more meaningful because so few failures exist to counterbalance it (on the court, at least).

The elephant in the room here is that I am a Knicks fan and, as such, I (and most of the people visiting this site) rooted against a great many of the accomplishments that are now being aggrandized in this space. At the time, I couldn’t have imagined that some of the very moments that served to keep the Knicks titleless throughout my youth would become the moments that I held in the highest esteem little more than a decade later. But, in the end, Michael Jordan’s induction into the Hall of Fame is not only a celebration of his brilliance, but also a celebration of brilliance itself. We watch the highlights and re-read the columns and anticipate his induction speech for the same reason that the opening chords of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band continue to boost listeners’ pulses four decades after they were recorded.

Because greatness is always worth celebrating and always worth revisiting. Even if we need a dumb excuse to do it.

Congratulations to Michael Jordan from a fan base that respects you as much as it hates you. The most fitting tribute we can offer you is a comment board filled with memories of times you crushed us.

63 comments on “The Remastered Michael Jordan

  1. Caleb

    One of my favorite Jordan memories comes from the ’92 playoffs (or was it the ’93?)… I’m sitting at the top of the Garden… it’s been a tough series, the Knicks are shocking the champs by hanging close, but the tide is turning and MJ wants to put an exclamation point on it. He steals the ball, heads over half-court by his lonesome, winds up for a spectacular dunk – rare for him, by those years — and bricks it off the back of the rim. It goes flying back to mid-court.

    There’s a big oooh from the Garden, and moments later the chant is going: “Jordan sucks! Jordan sucks! Jordan sucks! Jordan sucks!”

    In all seriousness, it felt like the most sincere tribute from New York fans to an opposing player, that I’ve ever seen.

  2. dad

    As an older and admittedly somewhat bitter Knick fan when it comes to MJ, I’d take Oscar over him and as far as the memory of his winning shot over Byron Russell, never forget he pushed off and its an offensive foul on anyone else in the league. I wish him well, he is obviously one of the very best ever, but can he know stop making commercials, etc. and just go away and continue to make awful personnel decisions

  3. BigBlueAL

    Michael Jordan would wipe the floor with Oscar Robertson. Ive seen highlights of Oscar, the fact that a 6’5 player like him who couldnt even dunk from what I can tell could average over 10 rebounds a game is all you need to know about that era. With all due respect to a player like Jerry West seriously, he would be a John Paxson type player if he played in today’s game.

    I mean everybody talks about how Earl the Pearl brought street-ball moves to the NBA and all Ive ever seen him do is a bunch of spin moves that the 12th man on any NBA bench today can probably do with their eyes closed. Im only 29 so I obviously sound my age I guess but if there is one thing that annoys me more than anything are older NBA fans talking about how much better basketball was in the 60′s and 70′s. Seriously have you not gone back and watched highlights and old games from that time???? I cant watch it is so boring and hard to watch, let alone there was literally NO Defense played in those days from the perimeter it is ridiculous. The Knicks of today challenge more jumpshots than teams did back then and thats saying something considering how horrible the current Knicks are on D.

    To me the NBA didnt really start becoming what it is today until the mid-80′s, anything before that to be honest really cant compare to the best players from today let alone to the best player ever in Michael Jordan….

  4. dad

    Obviously everyone is entitled to their opinion and MJ over Oscar, fine, to each their own. But when you say that “Jerry West seriously, he would be a John Paxson type player if he played in today’s game” you only demonstrate your incredible ignorance. At least your stupidity is based on the extensive review of highlights so it is not totally baseless. You got that going for you. And I guess Bill Russell was no good becasue he played center at only 6’9″. Clearly Eddie Curry would eat him alive. Actually off the court Curry might eat him.

    The game is different now no doubt so some will like the older style and some the new, but equating West to Paxson? Please. I suppose you think that Steve Kerr (the true comparision to Paxson) is every bit the GM West was.

  5. dad

    fair enough. I have a hard time giving MJ all he is due becasue he killed the Knicks and I just get tired of always seeing him on TV

  6. BigBlueAL

    Actually you know what the one player that from watching old games/highlights I really like was Clyde Frazier. He played and looked like a guard who could play in today’s game. The thing is he was listed at 6’4 or 6’5, West was listed at 6’2 and I cant imagine he would average 27ppg for his career like he did playing in today’s game.

    So I guess what I shouldve said was guys like Oscar and West had their numbers greatly inflated by playing in an era vs competition that was far superior to today’s NBA. Of course Im sure in today’s NBA West wouldve been more of a PG since that is what he became more of once he played with Wilt and he got older. So again I apologize for the West/Paxson comparison. Its just to me the only players who could even be mentioned in the same stratosphere as Michael Jordan in an argument for best player ever is Magic Johnson with Kobe and Lebron soon to be in that discussion. Players from the 60′s and 70′s to me was just nowhere near the athletes to be mentioned in the same breath of Jordan and guys like Kobe and Lebron.

  7. Z-man

    I strongly disagree with you, Al. Generally speaking, the best of their era would be great in any era. The possible exceptions are the earliest pioneers before the game became popular and somewhat lucrative at the pro level (pre-1955 or so).

    I remember watching games in ’69-’70 and can tell you that those players were “state of the art” back then, even though it looks weird (slow, unathletic) when we watch it now. Each generation builds on the innovations from their predecessors and take it a step further. This goes for the way the game is played as well as the way players prepare. So while old game films look primitive, making it appear like those players couldn’t dribble or play D, that was the state of the art at that time. If a clone of Jerry Wes emerged today, he would probably be more of a scoring point guard and play at 10-15 pounds of muscle heavier than he did. He would be the most dangerous 3 point shooter in the league, especially at the end of games.

    No matter what, B-ball is more about heart, desire, intelligence, the ability to elevate one’s game under pressure, and the ability to make one’s teammates better, etc. than it is about size, speed, strength and flashiness. Jordan would have been great in the 1960′s but would have played a completely different style than he did in the 1990′s. He picked up moves from his predecessors, e.g. Dr. J, who picked up moves from his predecessors, e.g. Connie Hawkins, etc. Similarly, Elgin Baylor and Oscar Robertson would have been a monster slam-dunking highlight reels in today’s game. All of the great ones would have figured it out.

  8. BigBlueAL

    Yeah but thats too much ifs and buts. Im just going by what actually happened and watching them actually play. Basketball is not a sport like Baseball where it is a much different comparison. I love watching baseball games from the 70′s and even the 60′s and some of the Yankees-Dodgers WS games from the 50′s that are available to watch.

    But basketball, c’mon. I cant watch a game from the 60′s and 70′s, hell even the early 80′s was pretty weak up until the 3pt line started being used more often and the Lakers-Celtics Finals in the mid-80′s.

    Ive had this argument alot before but again I greatly apologize for the West-Paxson comparison because that was way off and done more out of frustration. The thing is with Michael Jordan, forget just watching him even statistically speaking he is the greatest player ever. I hated him as much as anybody for what he did to the Knicks but to be honest I dont know how you can look at it objectively and say he isnt pretty easily the greatest player ever.

  9. Z-man

    I agree about Michael, and the consensus is with us. But seriously, who was Michael’s greatest rival? He didn’t start winning championships until Magic and Bird and their respective teams were washed up. Even though the Rodman team had the best record ever, I would take a number of teams over that one in a seven game series, adjusting for the assets that later players and teams had over earlier ones: better training, better medical technology, 3-point shot, etc.

    Examples:
    ’84-’85 Lakers w/ Magic, Kareem, Worthy, Cooper, McAdoo, etc.
    ’85-’86 Celtics w/ Bird, McHale, Parish, DJ, Walton, etc.
    ’66-’67 Sixers w/ Wilt, Cunningham, Greer, Jones, Jackson, Walker, etc.

    Baseball was already 80 years old as a pro sport in the ’60′s and ’70′s and the innovations were much more subtle at that point (split-fingered fastball, e.g.) so the game back then looked much as it does today. Basketball was much younger and much less popular as a pro sport in the 60′s than baseball. When I started following the game in the mid ’60′s, you heard about legends like Mikan, Petit, and others but there was very little footage of them. When West came into the league in the early-mid 1960′s, there were only 8 teams, meaning only 72 players in the league. They still played 82 games, so even the east-west teams played each other 10 times, give or take. Imagine seeng Bird and Magic going at each other 10 times a year during the regular season? That’s what made the NBA great back in the ’60′s, the familiarity you had with the players across the league and the intensities of the rivalries. As a 10 year old, I could name the starting 5 for every team in the league.

    Also, it was a big deal when games were televised. Players almost always played 4 years of college ball before playing in the NBA, so if nothing else, they knew how to play team ball.

  10. BigBlueAL

    Michael Jordan in the NBA Finals defeated teams lead by Magic, Drexler, Barkley, and Stockton/Malone twice. Hell even the Sonics had Gary Payton who is probably a HOFer too. Not to mention obviously struggling with the back-to-back championship Pistons til eliminating them in 1991 and again he had to get past teams lead by HOFers in the Sixers w/Barkley, Ewing’s Knicks and later Reggier Miller and his Pacers.

    The 1995-1996 Bulls statistically speaking are by far the greatest team to ever play (W-L, differential, Off and Def ratings). The Lakers in the 80′s literally had no competition at all in the West, I mean Magic made the Finals in every year that decade except for the 2 years the Rockets made it to the Finals to lose to the Celtics. Except for 1988 most of the years the Lakers barely lost any games before the NBA Finals. The Celtics at least had to get by the great Sixers teams in the early 80′s as they basically rotated every other year til the Celtics went to 4 finals in a row starting in 1984.

    From the teams Ive seen both live and through game replays on NBA TV and DVD’s the Lakers of the mid-to-late 80′s vs the 1996-1997 Bulls wouldve been an AMAZING series and truly a toss-up but in the end I would have to pick the team with Michael Jordan.

    P.S. BTW again I dont mean to offend older fans who obviously loved their basketball in the 60′s and 70′s. Like I said I actually love watching baseball from that time period but again I honestly have to say that the NBA in that time when watching it really looks almost amateurish compared to the NBA of today and the past 25 years or so. Obviously just my opinion and its a great point because sometimes I forget how young the NBA truly is when compared to MLB which is my favorite sport just barely ahead of basketball so at times I forget the difference in their histories.

  11. SeeWhyDee77

    I’m a lil late 2 the party..lol. I jus registered today cuz I love talkin hoop..especially Knick hoop. I think it was BigBlueAL who said somethin earlier about MJ an the Big O. I’m only 32..not much older than u, but I will say it is unfair to compare players from different era’s. The Big O was awesome, I can’t necessarily agree with Mike wipin the floor with him. That said, I still have no doubt that Mike is the greatest to ever do it. But not by a great margin. I think that if Magic had hops, we would be talkin about Mike like we talk about ‘Nique. Great scorer..thas it. I think that if the Big O played in Mike’s era, he would be another Magic. I’m only sayin that becuz obviously as the athletes evolve as time presses on, that Robertson would hafta evolve. He wasn’t very athletic when he played, he was jus very smart and used his size at his position to his advantage. If we put 23 in Robertson’s era, he would have to de-volve(is that even a word? lol) athletically. Mike was so phenominal and intense he would still be the best player in that era. But still not by a large margin. Remember, David Thompson was MJ before MJ-and he wasn’t a whole lot better than the competition athletically.

  12. BigBlueAL

    “If Magic had hops, we would be talking about Mike like we talk about ‘Nique. Great scorer..thas it.”

    Huh???? I said that I believe Magic is probably the 2nd best player ever behind Jordan (sorry I dont think Great Big Men can compare to great Guards) so Im not knocking Magic at all, but I dont understand that point. Comparing Jordan to Dominique Wilkins is like comparing Lebron to Iverson. See thats the problem, some people think Jordan was just the greatest scorer ever because he was a freak athlete and thats it. His efficiency was amazing, as was his defense. He also passed and rebounded the ball extremely well too. Their is a reason Jordan also has the highest PER in NBA history.

    Michael Jordan is not just a freak athlete who could score, he is the greatest all-around basketball player ever. Thats why I dont think you can say a player from the older days can come close to comparing to Jordan because athletically obviously nobody can argue that they dont come close to Jordan. BUT as basketball players they dont compare that much to him either. So if statistically Jordan is better than all of them and obviously athletically he is too what is the argument????

    Basketball as much as we like to say is a team sport and is all about skill, which it still is, is alsol very much dominated by athleticism. If you can combine great athleticism with great skill you can put together one great player. No player in history combined the both of them like Michael Jordan….

  13. Z-man

    There was plenty of athleticism in the ”60′s, too. Wilt Chamberlain was a track and field star who ran the quarter mile in :47 and apparently benched 500 lbs. He was a bigger, stronger, faster, and smarter version of Dwight Howard, who is athletic to say the least. Bill Russell was a world-class high jumper and more of a leader and competitor than Jordan ever was. He wouldn’t have dreamed of taking a 2-year hiatus while there were chamionships to be won.

    Athleticism didn’t just happen. What has changed is the emphasis placed on the slam dunk (thanks mainly to Dr J, who followed Hawkins, who followed Baylor). In the 1960′s, dunking by anyone but centers was rare and was seen as showing up the other team, like watching one’s own HRs in baseball or doing touchdown and sack dances in football. So players like Baylor and Robertson don’t seem as athletic by comparison.

    There’s lots of You Tube video with clips of these players. Here’s an example, listen to what Bob Ryan says about Baylor:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=okfp5T1SUg8

    Regarding the level of competition, the ’80′s Lakers had to get through some pretty good teams to get to the finals every year; the Rockets, Mavs, Spurs, Suns, Sonics, and Blazers all had strong teams in those years, every bit as strong as the teams the Bulls had to get through to get to the finals. In the finals, the Lakers beat the Celtics, Sixers and Pistons, all teams that made the finals multiple times and won championships. Same goes for the Celts of that era. The Wilt in his prime 76ers had to get past the legendary Bill Russell-led Celtics with several HOF players.

    All of the teams Jordan beat had 1, maybe 2 HOF’s (Stockton and Malone was the best combo). Every team I mentioned above has at least 3. The Knicks were Ewing and a bunch of guys who between them all had less than 10 all-star appearances, and they pushed the Bulls to the limit. Pacers also pushed the Bulls to 7 games with Reggie and that’s it. None of the teams they faced in the finals were memorable in an historic sense. The only team they played that made the finals twice after their first championship vs. an aging Laker team was the Jazz, a good but not great team.

    Kareem, Magic and Worthy vs. Jordan, Pippen and Rodman, or Bird, Parish, and McHale, or Wilt, Cunningham, Greer are all reasonable arguments. The rest of the rosters are not-the other teams are, in my mind, clearly superior to the best Bulls team.

  14. Ted Nelson

    Comparing players across eras is tough, and there have been similar debates before here.

    I’m with Z-Man and dad. I take a relative view and prefer to compare players in the context in which they played. What more can you do then be amazing compared to your competition? There is a certain development of the game. You grow up with certain pervasive views on nutrition, fitness, and basketball. Until some point (no idea when) it was believed that weight lifting was bad for athletes, so it’s hard to fault players who grew up and played in an era when doctors were telling them this for not lifting weights. On the court, it was a foul to make contact with the opposing player until some point (again, I don’t know when this changed).

    If you took the biggest, strongest, most competitive, hardest working guys from a deadball era of baseball and changed their birth dates so they played in the steroids era, you think they wouldn’t have doped up and hit 60 HRs or thrown 100+ MPH? It’s purely hypothetical and impossible to say what would happen to a person if you changed the entire context in which they lived, so I prefer to just compare players to their peers. Of course, debate over the GOAT and so forth is inevitable.

    Stats are also very hard to compare across eras. A guard’s TS% without the 3pt line is hard to compare to one in today’s NBA. It is amazing that Jordan was able to be so great as a scorer despite a mediocre 3pt shot.

  15. Brian Cronin

    So Jordan decided that his Hall of Fame speech was a good opportunity to talk shit about Jeff Van Gundy.

    Classy, Mike, classy.

  16. BigBlueAL

    It really is amazing how different the rules of the NBA were back then. Heck I was watching a Celtics-Sixers game from the 1981 playoffs and I was completely confused about the whole 3 to make 2 FT’s rule. Same when watching the 1970 Finals between the Knicks and Lakers, I believe back then it was like college now with a 1-and-1 FT rule when before the penalty.

    My only thing is I really get frustrated when older fans criticize the NBA today saying all it is are players dunking and no more fundamentals like FT shooting. The league FT% has basically remained the same throughout the history of the NBA. Heck it might actually be a little bit higher now if Im not mistaken. People like to criticize Shaq for not making FT’s and only dunking (well that was more of a criticism of him before all the championships he won) yet praised Wilt. Hello they are basically the exact same player. Bill Russell couldnt make FT’s or FG’s at a decent %. The FG %’s for many of the greats in the 50′s and 60′s are pretty atrocious.

    Of course its debates like these that are great and bring out the best and worst of fans. I know at times I probably come off as ignorant since I at times just type stuff straight from the hip w/o looking up stuff to really make my argument either valid or not. Alot of this really is just a matter of taste and there is no real right or wrong. But to me at least I think it is pretty clear that Michael Jordan is the G.O.A.T.

  17. Z-man

    I like the debate, Al, and would never try to convince anyone that the game of the 60′s is better than today’s game, just different.

    The 3 to make 2 rule was pretty weird, but it was an attempt to discourage the hack-a-shaq strategy, much as the shot clock was put in to keep teams from freezing the ball.

    Wilt and Shaq were similar, but Wilt was a much better all-around athlete. there is a youtube of an older Wilt vs. a young MVP Kareem in the ’72 western finals. He was at the twilight of his career at age 35 (old by yesterday’s standards) and still looked great next to Kareem (who also should get consideration for GOAT… look how polished his game was!) Wilt still generally played all 48 minutes, and certainly didn’t look slow and fat like Shaq has in recent years. That Kareem would have murdered the 35 year old version of Shaq. The pace of the game was certainly as fast as it is today. You should notice that the game was pretty physical back then, look at Kareem’s reaction to a hard foul. Both guys had multiple nasty blocked shots. Kareem dominated this game, but the Lakers easily won the series and went on to dominate the Knicks in the finals. In Wilt’s wikipedia bio, there is mention of what other teams would do to him, especially Heinsohn on the Celtics.

  18. Ted Nelson

    I don’t have a problem calling MJ the GOAT. I haven’t done enough research to have a strong opinion either way.

    The one problem I do have with MJ’s legacy is how often he’s credited for single handedly winning titles and lifting an otherwise bad team to 6 titles. We can sit and debate how good the Spurs would have been without Duncan, for example, all day and not have an answer. With the Bulls, though, we do have an answer. They won 55 games without MJ and then won 57 in a year where he played only 17 games. This was a title contender without its best player, a team that might have won multiple titles with another top flight player in MJ’s shoes. On the other hand, MJ might not have a single title if Pippen isn’t acquired for Polynice (the Sonics got the pick they used on Pippen from the Knicks, I believe). And might only have 3 if the Spurs don’t get tired of Rodman or the Bulls don’t draft Kukoc in the 2nd round and finally get him to Chicago. Of course, none of it happened that way.

    I just feel like his supporting cast never gets its due. Pippen is a HOFer, probably the best wing defender of his era, the prototypical point-forward, and a good scorer. Rodman was one of the best rebounders of all time and a very strong defender, and Horace Grant was a very good all-around PF. Kukoc is one of the best European players ever. He posted 3 straight years with a PER of 20 in his prime, and would have a stronger legacy if he’d have come to the NBA before age 25. Kerr was a ridiculous 3pt shooter before he got to Chicago. Harper was a 20 ppg scorer 3 separate seasons pre-Chicago, and a defensive beast in a more physical era as a 6-6 PG. BJ Armstrong had a career year in GS after leaving Chicago, then his career was effectively over after that season (career .424 3p shooter). Cartwright was a strong scorer with the Knicks before being acquired for Oakley and the pick that was Strickland.

    Anyway, the other great players also generally played on strong teams, but it’s just a pet peeve of mine. It doesn’t take away from MJ’s greatness and he was clearly the best on those teams. Those were very good teams, though, which thrived in large part on defense and ball movement, with a healthy dose of MJ.

  19. BigBlueAL

    Yeah I love watching Kareem play, even in his older days with the mid-to-late 80′s Lakers. I think he is the greatest C of all-time but it is hard to say any C was greater than Wilt because of his ridiculous numbers. Although from just watching them play I think Olajuwon is right up there too.

    I have a question, when considering thee GOAT, can you really pick a big man over a dominant big guard???? I know numbers wise when you consider who is the GOAT Wilt and Shaq (there are a few other big men to consider as well) are right up there with Jordan. But really can you say that Wilt or Shaq is a better player than Jordan, Magic, Bird, Oscar, Kobe or Lebron???? A big man, no matter how great they are, NEEDS his teammates to get them the ball. The other players mentioned dont need help to do what they do, just give them the ball (of course they all need help but you know what I mean).

    Thats why to me I dont even really consider any big man when considering who is the best basketball player ever. Although I guess you can definitely argue though if you are starting a team since there were many more great guards than C/PF’s you should pick a dominant big man. It is a fun debate, but again to me at least nobody will convince me that Michael Jordan is not the greatest basketball player ever.

  20. rayhed

    i’m only 21, so never really got to experience jordan in his prime (i cant imagine anything more exciting) but the one thing i do remember that jordan doesn’t get nearly enough credit for is his defense… jordan not only dominated on both sides of the floor, he could take over games defensively… there are so many clips of him making huge steals towards the end of the game- if jordan were guarding me towards the end of the game, i would stay the fuck outta the play

    i kinda feel that magic gets noted as the 2nd best player, and i was wondering what sort of defender he was… was he anywhere near jordan’s caliber? is it fair to rate someone so highly if they are so onesided (ala nash)?

  21. BigBlueAL

    Magic lead the league in steals per game a couple of times and for his career averaged 2 per game plus of course over 7.2 rebounds per game so he was more than just an offensive threat.

    From the games Ive seen of him he obviously had a hard time covering real small, quick PG’s since he was 6’9 so most of the time he was on the opposing team’s SG or SF. The Lakers in the 80′s played alot of junk type defenses, many traps and scrambling type half-court D. They were accused many times of playing illegal defenses because of the way they doubled and played D off the ball. But obviously cause of his size, length and quickness he was very good in the passing lanes and getting deflections/steals.

    Ill say one thing, to me he was 50X better defensively than Larry Bird. Bird averaged 10 rebounds per game and 1.7 steals per game for his career but he never had any big seasons of steals like Magic had and from many of the games I saw of him Bird was often basically hidden on D. He usually covered the worst big man on the other team. When the Lakers-Celtics played Bird always covered Rambis or AC Green while McHale had to cover Worthy. He was good though on help D, much like Oakley was. BUT on offense Bird was as unbelievable as his reputation states no doubt.

    Jordan is the best guard Ive ever seen on D. On-the-ball, off the ball stealing passes, getting deflections and blocking shots, and if he was the last man on D on a 3-on-1 fastbreak, dont bet against him somehow breaking it up. Him and Pippen were almost impossible to score on when it mattered most in crunch time, and the way they would press and play full-court D was amazing.

  22. TDM

    I’m sorry, Jordan was a great player, but he couldn’t lace the shoes of Gabe Pruitt, Warren Carter, or Sun Yue.

  23. Ted Nelson

    I saw the Dallas looking for a 2 or 3 for 1 deal rumor and immediately thought about the 1 being Jared Jeffries… only way I see if working financially (in a deal where the Knicks get nothing but expiring deals) is if the Mavericks give up Kris Humphries, Shawne Williams, and JJ Barea… the Knicks could then cut any of the three that Dallas really wanted back.

    Barea definitely seems like he would be the sticking point. Maybe if Beaubois is just killing it in training camp he’s expendable. If the Knicks “agree” to cut him I would assume he probably goes back to Dallas anyway. It’s a pipedream, but a glimmer of hope.

  24. Z-man

    Curry is back in NY. He was apparently “on his own” for all of September after the contracts of his famous trainer was up. How much weight can he put on in a month? What’s the over-under, 325?

    Two weeks and counting until we have something real to talk about. Or not.

  25. Ricky_J

    If Lebron isn’t at least considering coming to NY next year then he’s a complete dick-tease. On the Daily Show last night, Jon Stewart was doing a bit of trying to lure him to NY. Granted it was done in humor but when asked if he would come to NY next year. He winked and said, “I’m here now.”

  26. d-mar

    Saw the Daily Show interview also. We have no clue what LeBron is really thinking, but I was a little surprised he didn’t give the requisite “I’m very happy in Cleveland” answer. I thought it was pretty funny when Stewart handed him an “I Love NY” coffee mug and a take out bag from Shake Shack. Also amazing how freaking huge LeBron is, Stewart looked like a midget next to him.

    (Just grasping for any Knick news, even if it’s really not news!)

  27. Z-man

    A report had it that Knicks were interested in Pavlovic before he signed with, guess who, the Wolves for 1 year @ 1.5 mill. Should we have signed him? Seems like a D’Antoni-style player, could have eaten some minutes at SG. Lousy advanced stats, though.

    Kahn does like to keep active, no?

  28. BigBlueAL

    Nate’s agent says he is 100% to re-sign with Knicks. Of course he hasnt re-signed yet because the Knicks first want to get David Lee re-signed but his agent keeps insisting that there are some sign-and-trade scenarios being discussed before they talk numbers on Lee re-signing for 1 year.

    Why is it that I have the feeling Lee’s agent is just saying this to make it seem like there are teams willing to give Lee a contract that he is looking for when in reality he is just wasting everybody’s time. Unless he is also insisting for a 1-yr deal around 10 mil or so which we know the Knicks will not do.

  29. BigBlueAL

    Hahn just blogged about Gallo playing 5 on 5 scrimmages with his teammates for the past 2 weeks and how he looks alot taller and stronger than last year. Also says what I said that it is hard to believe that Lee’s agent is still looking into possible sign-and-trade scenarios.

  30. Ted Nelson

    What’s the rush for Lee to sign with the Knicks?

    I was intrigued by Pavlovic also, but the guy is pretty crap… about Larry Hughes level: would have been bad and badder.

  31. ess-dog

    For once I agree with Ted. I’m so glad Kahn saved us from having to watch Pavlovic. I would prefer Wally World.

    As far as Lee goes, I could see a team trying to sneak in before camp starts and grab Lee for less money. If Lee feels desperate, he might take a deal for less $ if it’s long term. Maybe some team finds a deal for Lee at 8 mil appealing but unappealing at 9.5 mil? Maybe that value is enough for some team to take on Jeffries too? Who knows?

  32. TDM

    Pavlovic? Not impressed. I’m still trying to figure why Donnie signed three guards, but hasn’t given Arroyo a look. The guy could definitely spell Duhon when needed. And from what I hear, he has been basically begging to get back to the nba. The only downside is that his game, statistically speaking, seems near identical to Duhon’s.

  33. BigBlueAL

    Hahn blogged today about why the Knicks havent picked up a guy like Sczerbiak or another veteran PG or anybody and he makes a good point, they already have more players under contract who are decent who wont even be able to get playing time to begin with.

    The guys being signed are just really training camp fillers. Cosidering D’Antoni keeps a short rotation to begin with, so far here are the candidates for playing time:

    PG: Duhon, Nate, Douglas
    SG/SF: Chandler, Gallo, Hughes
    PF: Lee, Harrington, Jeffries, Hill
    C: Curry, Milicic

    Thats already 12 players who should be expected to get some playing time. With only 3 roster spots left why bother giving it to someone with a guaranteed contract who is a veteran expecting to play. Fill out the roster like they did last year with D-Leaguers and other young guys. BTW you know the main 12 listed above could be decent, at the least I know many people here are discouraged but Im looking forward to watching this team this season and am curious to see if they can truly compete for a playoff spot like I think they can.

  34. Z-man

    Maybe he wants to get a real good look at Toney Douglas before bringing on another backup-caliber PG. Maybe he still thinks Tinsley is an option should all else fail.

    What has been the most frustrating to me this summer is how many rumors of deals there were compared to how little was done. Not that Walsh should just make deals for deals’ sake, but the media has really whipsawed Knick fans around.

  35. Z-man

    Ric Bucher of ESPN had the following to say about Lee.
    “The Jazz have great interest in Lee and are still looking to move Carlos Boozer. There would have to be other pieces involved, but with Boozer’s contract expiring, that would make sense for both sides.”
    I know that the Jazz just locked up Paul Millsap at the four spot for $8 million per season. So why would they have interest in bringing in Lee for probably another long term contract worth approximately $8 million per season? It doesn’t make sense… or does it?
    The Jazz have built their team with strong play at the 4 spot and with excellent play at the point guard position. The team has been successful over the last two seasons playing both Boozer and Millsap in a rotation with Mehmet Okur. Perhaps the Jazz feel as though they could generate similar success using Lee alongside Millsap. Lee is a Sloan type of player. And at $8 million, if Lee reproduces the type of stats that he has been able to produce over the last couple of seasons, then Lee can be a good value at $8 million per season. If the Jazz try and keep a strong 3 man rotation up front for the future, perhaps this makes more sense. After all, Boozer will not remain in Utah for the long haul. Will there be a better option than Lee next off-season, especially at $8-9 million? If not, then why not just get him now and avoid any competition in signing him next summer.
    I am still not sure how strong their interest is in Lee, but it is not as far-fetched as I once thought.
    If Walsh can bring in Boozer for Lee and another piece (so long as that piece is not one of our young guys), then he has to make that move. Boozer is the type of player that can bring some instant credibility to the 2009-2010 Knicks team.”

    I like Lee and would rather sign him long term than get nothing for him, but strongly believe that Boozer is the better player for the team and its aspirations of getting LeBron. If we can get Boozer for Lee and especially if we can unload Jeffries or Curry in the process, I could live with that. Yes, Boozer has been injury prone and is a bit of a primadonna; his stats don’t jump off the page vs. Lee’s, but he has played vs. much tougher competition in the west, is a polished offensive player and is slightly better defensively, and would add another dimension to the offense.

  36. BigBlueAL

    Hahn’s tweets since the Bucher article was posted:

    “So who really believes the Knicks will give up David Lee for a one-year rental? Seriously?”

    “Boozer-for-Lee scenario “not happening” according to a source. Another says it hasn’t been anything new on that “in weeks”. Sorry Ric!”

    “Let’s clarify: Jazz were interested in July. Knix prefer to keep Lee and, no, don’t view him as a 1-year rental. He’ll get his $ next yr.”

    So it seems the Knicks still very much value Lee but just dont want to commit long-term to him yet. Makes perfect sense to me. I just cant wait for all of this to be settled already and then we can have a definitive look at this team for the 2009-2010 season.

  37. Ted Nelson

    I really have no problem with the inactivity this offseason.

    Not only do the Knicks already have a bunch of mediocre players vying for minutes and not really need to add more mediocrity if they don’t feel like it, but free agents know it too. Some guys might really have no other options (and there may be a reason for that…), but most free agents are looking for money, wins, and playing time. The Knicks have only short-term money to offer.

    re: Lee/Boozer

    I think it makes sense for Utah. It’s unclear whether Boozer wants to be there/ will resign, and is a bit older than Deron Williams, Ronnie Brewer, and Paul Millsap. To have Lee and Millsap as part of your frontcourt rotation long-term is solid, even if it’s not the ideal pairing. PF is a deep position, where after the top guys you don’t have a significant drop in talent for a while mostly change in skills. Lee has also played with Deron Williams at rookie all-star game and Olympic practice type venues. As I remember they killed it together as rookies or sophmores…

    I don’t know what makes sense for Lee… I don’t know what he and his agent are projecting as his market value and what they think he can get next offseason.

    The way I see it working for the Knicks is if Jeffries and/or Curry is involved. Otherwise, I’m not that into Boozer. He’s gone next offseason or the Knicks have to significantly overpay him.
    Why would having Boozer help the Knicks get LeBron? Boozer is hurt every season and has a bad attitude (constantly sulking in the media…). He ditched LeBron in Cleveland once (which I don’t have a problem with, but LeBron might), so I have no idea what their personal relationship is like.

  38. BigBlueAL

    Hey Ted a quick question (or for anybody really), Hahn also mentioned that why would the Jazz make the sign-and-trade since it would help the Knicks win more games next season and the Jazz do have the Knicks 1st round pick in 2010.

    Does basically trading Boozer for Lee really make the Knicks that much better???? Obviously if it includes (which it better) either Jeffries or Curry it would help the Knicks in the 2010 off-season but does getting Boozer make the Knicks a playoff team this upcoming season?? Remember now that I am not one of Lee’s biggest fans BUT again I do respect and like him as a player. Boozer is obviously a much better one-on-one scorer but since you guys I admit are much better with evaluating players with stats how do Lee and Boozer compare as players????

    It is interesting to me that Nate and his agent have no problems for now taking a 1yr deal and becoming unrestricted FA’s next year while Lee and his agent are still hell-bent on getting a long-term deal now. Obviously I see both of their points and understand their reasoning but again I think it is a pretty interesting situation if not very laborious for us Knick fans to follow….

  39. Ted Nelson

    BBA,

    True, I didn’t even think about the 2010 1st rounder…

    Boozer had very good years in 06-07 and 07-08. Not only were they his most productive years, but the only years where he’s played significantly more than 1/2 the season since arriving in Utah. Last season I don’t think it’s at all unfair to say that Boozer was worse than Lee. In previous seasons Boozer has been a much better passer/playmaker than Lee and scored at a much higher volume at close to the same efficiency.
    Since he’s coming off of a poor year where he couldn’t even hit free agency as he probably hoped to, Boozer might be extra motivated and have a huge year. However, if he really is injury prone (and it’s not just in his head) then you have to be worried. Based on the last 5 seasons there’s a 40% chance he plays less than 1/2 the season and you can expect about 55 games out of him. I don’t know anything about the medical reasons for his injuries (or medicine in general), but Boozer managed to miss only 8 games in 2 seasons in Cleveland while playing for peanuts and looking for that big contract. He was also young then and maybe healthier.

    I don’t know what Nate’s strategy is vs. Lee or what Walsh’s strategy is with either, but neither has signed so far (unless I missed it).

  40. ess-dog

    It’s interesting that Hahn states that D. Lee is definitely in the plans for 2010. I can’t imagine that Al Harrington will have much of a role this year with Lee and Nate back, and hopefully we can get minutes from the rookies. Al and Hughes are going to have to come to terms with their roles: very high priced spot-minute players. If coach D’s trying to win he will probably go with this rotation:

    pg: Duhon
    sg: Chandler (I hope)
    sf: Gallo
    pf: Lee
    c: Darko

    pg sub: Douglas
    sg sub: Nate/Hughes
    sf sub: Jeffries
    pf sub: Hill/Harrington
    c sub: Curry

    As much as I’d like to buyout Hughes, we might need him around until we see how Chandler does on the foot at at sg. They’ll probably both get spot minutes until the playoffs look out of reach and then the rookies will get more burn.

  41. Ted Nelson

    I don’t have the same expectation for Harrington and Hughes.

    Al Harrington played more MPG than anyone who finished on the roster besides Duhon. He got the same minutes last season as Lee (0.1 mpg more). I have a hard time EXPECTING him to be a bit role player for D’Antoni this season. If it happens I’d call it unexpected.
    The biggest thing I could see cutting his minutes is organizational pressure to showcase Curry/Jeffries, plus the “big” offseason acquisitions: Hill and Darko. And/or showcasing young talent to attract FAs (of course “showcasing” can also just expose a player’s flaws). If productivity is the measure I don’t see Harrington falling out of the rotation, the Knicks just don’t have enough talent. His style is annoying and possibly detrimental to the team, though.

    Harrington is a better player than Hughes. Still, Hughes is the Knicks only SG with both decent size and guard skills. Nate lacks the size and Chandler the guard skills. There’s a lot of ballhandling pressure on Duhon if Chandler is at the 2 spot, and Hughes has a rep as a good defender (not totally deserved but he’s not terrible anyway, it’s not like the Knicks still have a shut-down defender like… Balkman :)… around to compete for minutes). So I think Hughes gets some minutes unless Douglas surprises (Duhon, Nate, Douglas, and maybe Chandler/Gallo could eat all the backcourt minutes and relegate Hughes to the bench).

  42. ess-dog

    Yes Ted, but the addition of TWO centers (Lee played center last year) THREE if you count Hill will have to crunch someone’s minutes. I assume Jeffries will play less center this year, maybe stick to both forward spots.
    I agree about Hughes, although I think Chandler has a lot of potential as a defender (less so at the guard spot.)
    I’m not worried about Duhon handling the ball- that’s his primary asset, but I think we’ll see a lot of small backcourt sets (Nate and Duhon, Douglas and Nate, Douglas and Duhon…)

  43. Ted Nelson

    I agree that the Knicks potentially (hopefully) have more depth this season. I just don’t see Harrington as the odd man out. Almost everything would have to go right with other players for that to happen. The Knicks just don’t have much talent. Jeffries and Chandler are not good (I hope that Chandler will be improved again this season and that Jeffries will be for at least a few weeks until he can be traded… but as of last season they were worse than Harrington… significantly so). Gallo, Hill, and Douglas are unproven. Darko and Curry aren’t good, either, but I would like to see Lee at the 4 this season. Harrington is a proven NBA scorer and a solid defender, how many other Knicks can say that? Not 8 or 9. Honestly, 1 or 2. And both those guys, 2 out of the 3 locks for the rotation (besides Harrington), remain unsigned.

    Chandler is definitely not a bad defender, but I don’t see much difference making ability. His shot blocking is a valuable asset. As a man defender, however, I am under-impressed. The ability may be there, but just like on the other side of the ball the production is not. The Knicks have been a worse team defensively the past two seasons when Chandler is on the court, +/- is imperfect but that doesn’t happen with defensive difference makers on poor defensive teams.

    I am not particularly worried about Duhon handling the ball; although, his playmaking leaves a lot to be desired (27.3 ast-rate to 22.3 TO-rate). (I would call outside shooting and defense his strengths.) My point is that your offense is a lot less dynamic when you have only one (mediocre) playmaker out there. Harrington/Chandler/Curry/Lee/Darko all play with their heads down to varying extents. I believe Gallo will eventually be a playmaker on the wing (if healthy), but maybe not this season. Hughes is not Magic Johnson, but could take some pressure off and would probably be more valuable if told to pass every time he gets the ball and absolutely never shoot (not that it’s going to happen).
    I agree that a lot of small backcourts are likely. Nate is the team’s best SG by a mile, and I would say the best player overall last season. Douglas looks like he’ll at least smell the court and maybe make the rotation.

  44. Ted Nelson

    “Hughes is not Magic Johnson, but could take some pressure off ”

    That was a bad way to phrase it, just reciting a cliche. He could facilitate more ball movement is what I meant.

    I would like to have Nate taking the lion’s share of SG minutes, and wouldn’t really have a problem with Chandler/Gallo/Douglas taking the rest over Hughes. I just think an NBA vet with a prototypical SG build is likely to find his way into the Knicks sorry rotation. Q Richardson, for example.

  45. Z-man

    Ted, I agree with you on Harrington and Nate (but not on Balkman!)

    I wonder if D’Antoni will experiment with Jeffries at the 2. He has shown some ability to defend bigger guards (e.g. Arenas) so when D’Antoni uses an offense- oriented lineup up front (e.g. Curry, Harrington and Gallo) with Nate or Douglas at the PG, maybe offense from the 2 can be sacrificed for defense in 3 to 5-minute bursts. Harrington and Gallo can handle the ball pretty well for forwards and both shoot pretty well from the perimeter, so maybe Jeffries’ lack of ball-handling at the 2 in D’Antoni’s offensive scheme would not be such a big deal in small doses.

  46. Z-man

    BTW I think Douglas is going to get a lot of minutes sooner rather than later. I really like what I saw in Vegas and think he and Nate will go at it in October, making both better. Apparently, Douglas gave Ty Lawson all he could handle in the ACC.

  47. ess-dog

    I disagree about Harrington. His defense is no better than Lee’s IMO, and he’s slow to get up the court. Of course his shot selection almost rivals J-Craw’s, and when he gets the ball, it stops moving. This is a serious problem in the D’Antoni system. His positives are that he can hit the 3 ball and works better in the post than any player we’ve got (although I hate his stupid spin/fade move.) I thought he would make an interesting option as a scoring 6th man if we didn’t resign Nate, but it could be awkward having Nate and Al both on the 2nd team. I think we should try to have Gallo and Chandler shoulder the scoring load for the 1st team, but maybe D’Antoni will start Al, who knows? Also, it will be hard playing Al next to Curry: too much crazy spin-moving.

  48. Ted Nelson

    “Of course his shot selection almost rivals J-Craw’s”

    Shot selection is less important than whether you actually make your shots (I would never advise someone to take as many long 2 pt fade-aways as MJ did, for example), although there is definitely a relationship between the two.
    Harrington has put up a TS% above 54% the past three seasons and was at 55.5% for the Knicks last season. On their careers they’ve got similar TS%, but I’m more comfortable with Harrington at this point based on three straight seasons then Jamal based on one good scoring season.
    Their shot selections are not that similar, anyway, in that Crawford regularly take 80% or more of his shots as jumpers (86% in 07-08). Harrington take 1/3 of his shots from close.
    Anyway, Jamal Crawford regularly played 35-40 mpg for the Knicks. Who else on the Knicks (besides Harrington) can put up 21.3 pts/36 on a TS% of 55.5% or higher? Only a few guys: Nate, Curry, maybe Lee, and maybe Danilo (maybe Hill or Douglas, but probably not as rookies…).

    “His defense is no better than Lee’s IMO”

    I said that there are one or two other Knicks I would say are solid defenders AND proven NBA scorers, and that neither is signed. Lee is one, and Robinson I would say is the other although I know everyone will start screaming about how a short guy can’t possibly be a good defender and that they hate Nate because of his attitude, blah, blah, blah… I would call Nate a solid defender, though.

    “I think we should try to have Gallo and Chandler shoulder the scoring load for the 1st team, but maybe D’Antoni will start Al, who knows? Also, it will be hard playing Al next to Curry: too much crazy spin-moving.”

    I’m not really a believer in 1st teams and 2nd teams, but rather a rotation. Anyway, I think Curry has to start (he’s sensitive and needs to be a beast for trade value). I think Al also has a chance of starting. Not that I really care who starts. I see no reason to believe that D’Antoni won’t value scorers. I don’t see him as caring too much about position, but maybe I’m wrong and he cares about it but has a different interpretation than others.
    I agree totally that ball-movement is crucial, but last season the Knicks outside of Duhon and Nate didn’t put up good ast-rates compared to their careers: (Player–career–last season w/ Knicks) Harrington–10.5–6.6, Hughes–17.8–13.3, Lee–8.6–10.1 (10.2 career high), Jeffries–9.5–8.7, Q–9.6–9.4. Tim Thomas—10.1–9.3. D’Antoni seemed to keep the ball in limited hands and focus on simple offensive sets (good for a simple team, and still seemed to me like the Knicks’ best ball movement in years).

    Chandler is not much of a scorer.
    ………………..Harrington……..Chandler
    PTS/36……….21.3……………..15.6
    TS%…………..55.5%…………..51.5%
    Jump%……….67%……………..74%
    Jump eFG%….47.8%…………..44.2%
    Close%……….33%……………..26%
    Close eFG%….59.2%…………..58.7%
    3P%…………..36.2%…………..32.8%

    I would love for Chandler to improve and certainly think he can be as good as Harrington in a few years (CAN be… might be). As I’ve been saying for two years now he’s got to take the ball to the basket with some authority… score on high % shots and draw fouls. He’s a mediocre jump shooter and shouldn’t camp out on the perimeter. I’m sure he will improve a bit, but I would be surprised (pleasantly so) if he posted a TS% above 55%.

    Danilo is someone I definitely hope to shoulder a large scoring load in the near future, but I don’t know if that’s going to be early this season. He’s coming off an injury marred rookie season in which he was asked to play a very limited offensive role in limited minutes, and he just turned 21.

    I am not a big Al Harrington fan. I am just trying to be realistic. The Knicks are not overflowing with talent. If Harrington is not playing I think it could be a very good sign that several other players are exceeding expectations.
    Personally, I would like to see Harrington played for a few weeks/months and then traded for another expiring plus a pick. They might keep him around to boost the win total a little for incoming FAs, though.

    I would say that if Danilo and Chandler are the Knicks primary scoring options and get 35-40 mpg, the team probably doesn’t win 20 games… maybe not 10. (That’s just what I see as likely, maybe they both break out in a big way.) I would like to see no one shouldering the load, and a somewhat democratic system where Nate, Lee, Curry, Harrington, Danilo (maybe Hill and/or Douglas) are getting more shots than others.

  49. Nick C.

    “His defense is no better than Lee’s IMO”

    I said that there are one or two other Knicks I would say are solid defenders AND proven NBA scorers, and that neither is signed. Lee is one, and Robinson I would say is the other although I know everyone will start screaming about how a short guy can’t possibly be a good defender and that they hate Nate because of his attitude, blah, blah, blah… I would call Nate a solid defender, though.

    Ted you must have the lowest standards in recorded history to call Lee and Nate solid. Nate never met a screen he didn’t go under, barely pressures the ball while Lee is overmatched at C and passable at PF, notwithstanding the good 2-3 possessions in an row he once played against Yao. Its a slow dry off season if this is what passes for comment worthy. I guess I could rave about the newest signing the Lakers former 15th man Sun Yue.

  50. Ted Nelson

    The context was who should be in the Knicks rotation next season, so we were talking in relative terms.

    In absolute terms I don’t think it’s a stretch anyway.

    First it’s important to define solid. By solid I mean around the league average, give or take a bit. Solid: not strong and not weak.

    The Knicks were the 23rd best defense in the league last season, 1/2 way between average and the worst. They were a better defensive team last season with Nate on the floor. He causes TOs with his steals, rebounds well for a guard, and is an exceptional athlete.
    Fighting through screens is a good proxy for defensive effort, but is not an all-encompassing defensive measure. Pressuring the ball when you have limited help behind you is not necessarily a smart strategy.

    Lee is not a center. The previous two seasons, with Lee at his natural spot, the Knicks were a better defensive team with him on the floor. He’s a beast on the boards and a solid athlete. I respect D’Antoni for trying to get his best players on the court, but I really hope one or more guys step up and push Lee back to PF.

    These two are not all-defense candidates, but also aren’t guys who will hurt your team defense. That’s what I mean by solid.

    I am really tired of people complaining about the speed of the offseason. Two first rounders, an in-shape Eddy Curry, a (fingers crossed) healthy Danilo, a semi-passable C in Darko, runs at Jason Kidd, Grant Hill, Andre Miller, and Ramon Sessions, being close to bringing back Lee and Nate without overpaying… what more were people looking for? Was Donnie Walsh going to turn garbage into treasure before the season even starts?
    I would have loved to see Curry and Jeffries traded, Walsh move up in the draft (hardly a sure thing unless he got up to #1, anyway), sign some exciting FAs… but none of those things were very feasible.
    I’m not amped to have Darko, but prefer a barely passable C for this roster than the barely passable wing given up to get him. I wasn’t high on Hill before the draft, but he’s the Knicks most promising defensive bigman since…. I don’t know, Camby???
    If Hill, Douglas, Darko, and Curry are total non-factors and Danilo plays only 400 minutes then I will call this a slow offseason.

  51. Nick C.

    Whatever, I took solid to mean close to strong. At any rate, I’m not sure anyone is complaining, its more like stating facts, and a silent off-season is miles ahead of previous regime(s).

  52. ess-dog

    It could be argued that the Curry/Lee frontcourt tandem was the strongest we’ve had in years. Darko also has the potential to create an interesting pairing with either Curry or Lee or Hill for that matter. I think Al’s game (if you can call it a “game”) is best suited for a half-court offense that has a dominant defensive/rebounding big man. He would be good next to Howard (who wouldn’t?), Tyson Chandler, Oden… someone like that. With our best rebounder a forward (Lee) we then need a center who can step out with a jumper (Darko?) or create offense w/ a back to the basket (Curry?)
    You could argue that since Curry doesn’t block shots or rebound or pass out of the double team, that you might as well play Harrington next to Lee… but Curry can block a few shots, and actually was pretty efficient in the post (years ago) and then there’s Darko who can pass and has a jumper. Most likely, he will work the four guys into the rotation depending on the situation (not a lot of minutes for Hill, I’m guessing.) Most elite teams have a good 7 footer though that you need to counter with another 7 footer (Curry, Darko or the ultra long Hill) so I think the big guys should be playing center a good bit.

  53. Z-man

    I don’t have a problem with it being slow, but the amount of false rumors has been staggering. How many times did we hear that Sessions was definitely going to get done, that they were close on this deal or that, etc.?

    I don’t blame Donnie for this, it’s the rumormongering press that upsets me. Specifically, Hahn’s sources are all over the place.

  54. Z-man

    Thoughts on the above discussion re: rotation…

    D’Antoni is simply not going to use a long rotation, not his style. he only question is who will make the cu.

    I don’t think he’s going to play Jeffries much. The league knows what he is by now so there is no need to showcase him.

    Hill will get limited opportunities at first. His burn will depend on how Curry and Darko perform. If both play reasonably well or if one plays very well, Hill won’t see much action. My guess is that unless he has a surprisingly strong preseason, he will have to wait for an injury or a trade involving any frontcourt player to get into the rotation.

    We’re short on guards, so they will probably all be in the rotation. If Douglas plays well, Nate and Chandler eat up most SG minutes, at Hughes’ expense. If Douglas is not ready, Hughes moves into SG rotation and Nate slides over to PG more regularly.

    So, assuming Lee and Nate are signed, and barring a trade or injury, my prediction for the rotation is:

    Starters:Duhon, Chandler, Gallo, Lee, Curry
    Subs: Harrington, Nate, Douglas, Darko

    Likely, but not definite rotation sub: Hughes

    Spot/situational duty: Hill, Jeffries, end-of-bench scrubs just added and not worth naming.

    My guess is that Walsh will continue to work feverishly to trade Curry and/or Jeffries for a guard.

  55. Dan Panorama

    Interesting to see people picking Gallo as a starter — has D’antoni said anything about it? I’d imagine they’d be pretty cautious with him at first given he’s coming back from major back issues and I’d expect him to be coming off the bench for awhile at least.

  56. Z-man

    Dan, valid point, although they might want to hit the ground running with Gallo. Preseason will probably determine whether Gallo or Harrington starts.

  57. Z-man

    BTW, same for Curry vs. Milicic. Assuming Chandler is healthy and Lee is signed, Duhon, Lee and Chandler are locks, no?

Comments are closed.