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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Toney Douglas Open Thread

There isn’t much to talk about in Knick-land these days, save for Toney Douglas. D’Antoni is finally giving him extra minutes, and the rookie is responding. One thing I like about him is his defense. When I sat with him during the preseason on press day he brought up the subject of defense and was reflective about it. Subconsciously I walked away liking him, and couldn’t figure out why. But looking back, it’s because he’s the only player that day who talked about that facet of his game. He’s still raw, and he needs to work on his passing, but I like his effort on D and his shooting is coming around. His TS% is 59.4%, and I don’t expect it to remain that high especially with only taking 1.9 free throws per 36, so we’ll have to check back on that when the season ends.

57 comments on “Toney Douglas Open Thread

  1. jaddddd1

    I like Toney’s commitment to D too. It’s his passing that I’m worried about. To run Mike D’s offense, the PG has to be a good passer and creator, and while Toney may be that, he hasn’t shown it yet (except for the occasional flashes). He looks to be real solid overall though, especially considering he’s one of like 3 guys on the team who plays any semblance of D.

  2. ess-dog

    It’s hard to say whether sitting him this long was the right decision or not, since we at knickerblogger are not privy to practices. So I won’t go there. But it’s nice to see a player err on the side of caution in a Knicks uni for once (I’m looking directly at you Harrington.) Douglas really takes care of the ball (save the rookie turnover here and there) and he’ll bring the ball back out or hand off to another player quite often if he doesn’t like what he sees. The difference from Duhon is that when he sees a seam, he can hit the hole and get up to the rim with ease. Of course it’s not the only difference from Duhon. He can also hit 3 pointers, as advertised.
    In fact, despite the Knicks supposed indifference to stats, Toney was highly efficient last year in college (2nd in PPP in college despite being the main ball handler and scorer on his team) and is showing it now.
    Suddenly this team has some athletes out there making great decisions. Chandler’s turned up the efficiency months ago, and Bill Walker looks like he’s gotten most of his explosivity back and could be a very useful player. We could still use an athletic big, but that will have to wait until the summer.

  3. d-mar

    Glad you started this thread, Mike, since Douglas is one of the only reasons to watch the Knicks right now.

    I really love this guy’s D, he gets up in people’s faces, fights through screens and gets the occasional strip. I’m also pleasantly surprised by his shooting, I have no problem with him taking 3′s if he’s open and he’s got a nice midrange J also. Agree that he’s still not a pure PG and won’t make the great pass very often, but the more you watch him, the more you like his game (sort of like a reverse Al Harrington)

  4. Ted Nelson

    “But it’s nice to see a player err on the side of caution in a Knicks uni for once (I’m looking directly at you Harrington.)”

    The only Knicks who turns it over less than Al Harrington is Danilo. The only regulars who score more efficiently this season have been Lee, Danilo, and Nate.

  5. ess-dog

    Yes Ted, but his PPR is the worst on the team besides Bender. About 1/3 of Harrington’s shots are basically turnovers!

  6. Nick C.

    Ted that’s not entirely fair b/c Chandler has almost identical numbers to Harrington and who else is there with significant minuteds Duhon and the now traded Jerfferies? Harrington also manages the unsurpassable double trick of highest usage rate and lowest assist rate. :-)

    As for Douglas, the man of the hour, so far so good, but then again Frank Williams had a helluva first few starts.

  7. Frank

    Seriously, if you shoot the ball within 2 seconds of getting it every time, of course you won’t turn it over.

    Meanwhile – Chandler has been the picture of consistency since December (presumably when he fully recovered from his ankle surgery)? 50% from the field, 80% from the line — I think he’s really been solid.

    Glad to see Douglas turn it on — hopefully it’s not a blip. Love the way he hustles and obviously tries on defense. Even though his on court/off court stats look like the Knicks are worse on D when he’s on the floor, maybe it’s not a coincidence that we held Dallas and Philly to 7-8 pts below their season average with Toney starting…

  8. JoMo

    I haven’t posted anything here in god-knows-how-long (been reading daily though), but can we talk about the fact that the only building blocks we definitely have for the future in Gallo, Douglas, and Chandler also happen to be our three best defenders? One would have to assume that the FA’s we manage to wrangle, no matter if their top-tier or second tier, will most likely be at least AVERAGE positional defenders (save for the Bosh scenario). That’s pretty damn encouraging I think.

    One thing that I’ve noticed about Douglas is that he seems to always prefer to pass before even attempting to beat his man off the dribble. If he works on some serious conditioning (first step) and ball-handling in the offseason and adds some penetration threat to his game I think he’d be a totally different monster. He seems to be pretty decent at converting once at the rim, but he never looks like he’s even a threat to attack.

    Also, everyone seems down on his passing but he definitely looks like he’s coming around. Add to the fact that the sixers were focusing their defense on preventing any PnR’s to Lee i’d say he made a lot of good decisions. I also think he couldve netted at least two more dimes had Lee converted on several of his “forays to the paint.”

    @Nick C – Frank Williams … really? … really? What the hell happened to that guy?

  9. iserp

    I am curious; for those who watched the games, what happened with Sergio? Was he playing badly or didnt he fit with the rest of the team?

    I don’t have any problem with TD starting, but Duhon is logging some minutes now…

  10. DS

    “Then again Frank Williams had a helluva first few starts.”
    I remember Frank Williams seeming terrified to face his defender i.e. he’d dribble with his back to the basket waayyyy too much.

    Toney seems to be a hard worker, a gritty type. I wish he and Sergio could be the points of the future. Realistically, though I think only Toney will stick and will serve as a Charlie Ward-type; defense, decent three point shooting, good control, FSU product.

  11. Owen

    When I watch Douglas he doesn’t strike me as a great ballhandler. That’s my biggest concern. I may be giving too much weight to that end of game turnover against the Hawks, but he looks to me like someone with the size of a point guard but the skills of a shooting guard. I love the shooting efficiency but the rest of the box score (so far) looks sparse.

    I remember trawling through some threads on APBRmetrics where they came up with some very positive evaluations of his college play. I think by some of the metrics concocted over there he was a top ten player in the nation at FSU. And from what I can see so far, I think it was a good late round gamble.

    But right now, I just don’t see huge upside in Douglas. There are a ton of guys in the league with very simliar ability. He looks like he projects like a more efficient Flip Murray…

  12. Nick C.

    You’re forgetting the starts as PG b4 he pulled a hamstring and you know who brought Marbury in, every game was a blowout win. Be that as it may Douglas looks good enough all things considered.

  13. Caleb

    Happy Birthday, Toney! (He’s 24)

    For perspective, he’s only a month younger than Rajon Rondo. He’s already older than Mike Conley or Lou Williams or Mario Chalmers… 2 years older than Stephen Curry or Russell Westbrook… 3 years older than Brandon Jennings, Derrick Rose or Jonny Flynn.

    With that in mind, you have to look at his game more for what it is now, than potential. But if his first 500 minutes aren’t a fluke – if he can really shoot this well (or anything like it), and play solid defense, he could have a long career as a good rotation player.

    Yesterday, I suggested Lindsey Hunter as a comp, but Charlie Ward is a good one. Neither one was nearly as efficient a shooter as Douglas has been in his limited minutes. He had a great rep in the ACC; Mike Krzyzewski said Douglas was his toughest opponent last year. He obviously knows how to play.

  14. TDM

    @ 13: And 5+ years older than Holiday.

    Speaking of Holiday, he would have been another solid pick instead of J Hill. That said, love what we have seen so far from Toney. Interestingly, the Lakers are probably kicking themselves right now as they could use help at the pg position. The local sports guys out here [LA] are continually discussing how Fisher needs to be replaced in the starting line up.

    I read that Duhon has been mentoring Toney, and trying to help him with the pick-and-roll. Hopefully, TD and Lee are putting in extra time trying to develop that facet of his game. Also, kudos to Duhon for being a team player (assuming the reports are true).

    Has anyone given any thoughts to the Knicks 2nd round selection in 2010? If the Knicks are able to sign Camby in the off-season, as I hope they will, I think a great pick if he’s still available would be Hassan Whiteside. Although he doesn’t have the offensive game Camby had when he was at UMass, he has loads of potential to become to defensive stalwart like Camby. If not him, I’m also intrigued by Jarvis Varnado, but he’s undersized to play C.

  15. d-mar

    “I read that Duhon has been mentoring Toney, and trying to help him with the pick-and-roll. Hopefully, TD and Lee are putting in extra time trying to develop that facet of his game. Also, kudos to Duhon for being a team player (assuming the reports are true).”

    I gotta give credit to Duhon, if you watch the bench after timeouts, he’s the first one up and congratulating the guys coming off the court.

  16. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    If Duhon were a malcontent, he’d have no future in the league whatsoever. He doesn’t have the star power of an Iverson-type player, nor the “specialty” of, say, Bruce Bowen. He’ll be able to land a bench role at another franchise after the season closes (and the vet’s minimum ain’t too shabby).

    As a point guard (and I’m assuming he’s an intelligent guy, being a four-year player at Duke), he might also desire a career in coaching. Wouldn’t have much to look forward to if he had a rep as a sulker.

  17. massive

    Probably the only reason i stood behind Duhon for so long was because he is a such a good teammate. He honestly probably has the best attitude anybody can have after being sent to the bench in a contract year (D’Antoni did him a favor, if you ask me). Him mentoring Douglas is the icing on the cake, I hope he gets a job somewhere next season.

  18. Z-man

    “Yesterday, I suggested Lindsey Hunter as a comp, but Charlie Ward is a good one.”

    I thought of this as well. I was never a big Ward fan on O, but admired his D. Hopefully Toney will be more proficient on the offensive end and just as good on D.

    I disagree with the notion that TD has limited further potential because he entered the league at age 23. PG is a difficult position to learn and it often takes players time to come around. Chauncey Billups is a notable example, and there are many others. He clearly isn’t a prodigy, but I think he has more potential to improve than his age might indicate. It is also noteworthy that his role in college was really not that of a point guard, and that he had little to work with and still led his team to the NCAA tournament. If anyone can be a late bloomer, this guy fits the mold.

    On another note, the play of Bill Walker is making the Nate trade a bit more palatable. Since we surely were going to renounce him anyway, it is nice to have gotten at least something potentially useful in return.

  19. Ted Nelson

    I just feel like Harrington gets unfairly scapegoated to some extent. The Knicks stink, but he’s not that bad. Frustrating to watch, sure. Maybe a bit of an underacheiver on his career, but not much (he didn’t have the talent to be much better). He scores from the inside and outside, and scores in bunches at times. A .550 TS% is solid.

    His assist rate is really not that bad. It’s right in line with what Marion used to put up for D’Antoni (significantly better than some of Marion’s seasons). It’s a tad lower than Chandler’s, and yes I know Chandler’s usage is 6 percentage points lower. He’s not out there to make plays for other people. He’s out there to put it in the basket. He does fine at his job. There are a bunch of holes in the Knicks roster (more holes open then filled, easily), but a sixth man who can light it up is not one of them.

    The point about no one behind him who got minutes being any good is valid. But again it’s not his fault the Knicks lack talent. He’s ahead of plenty of guys who’ve played partial seasons with the Knicks in TS% and TO%.

    Chandler gets a ton of love for improving his game–and deservedly so–but he’s maybe a notch better than Harrington at best. May be worse than Harrington still. I just find it odd that Chandler gets such love and Harrington such hate.

    “Seriously, if you shoot the ball within 2 seconds of getting it every time, of course you won’t turn it over.”

    He’s got to take it to the basket about as much as any Knick besides Lee (same % inside shots as Chandler, for example). That invites strips, charges, walks… all TOs.

  20. Ted Nelson

    “He looks like he projects like a more efficient Flip Murray…”

    Murray’s career TS%? .493. Douglas is putting it in at almost 60% over a small sample size. Maybe in time he misses some shots and that evens out, but it might end up a bit like saying David Lee is a more efficient Eduardo Najara.
    I think the plus defense is another area where he could really distance himself from your average Flip Murray.

    “With that in mind, you have to look at his game more for what it is now, than potential.”

    There is a definitely trend of players improving less at a certain age, but it’s far from a rule. That’s especially true with rookies. Just to throw out some examples. Euro stars: Manu and Kukoc come to mind as guys who were among the best in Europe, in their mid-20s, and struggled as rookies relative to year 2 in the NBA. Billups is a guy some have been putting out as a best case for Toney, and (as Z-Man notes) he didn’t get it together till about 25 after a few years in the league. Antonio Daniels was another combo-guard taken right after Billups who stuggled as a 22 year old rookie. Those are just the easiest examples I can think of and I agree the average 18 year old will improve more than the average 23 year old. There are enough Billups and enough Darius Miles/Eddy Currys/etc, though, that we can hope Douglas improves substantially.

    “Speaking of Holiday, he would have been another solid pick instead of J Hill.”

    Dubious.

    “Has anyone given any thoughts to the Knicks 2nd round selection in 2010?”

    Lots of thought to both their second round picks (they didn’t end up giving one to Houston, did they?). If they still have 2, should they try to move up? Watched the conference tourneys with an eye on the guys who might fall to the 2nd.

    “I think a great pick if he’s still available would be Hassan Whiteside.”

    I doubt he’ll be there: http://www.nbadraft.net/ http://www.draftexpress.com/

    “I gotta give credit to Duhon, if you watch the bench after timeouts, he’s the first one up and congratulating the guys coming off the court.”
    “He honestly probably has the best attitude anybody can have after being sent to the bench in a contract year”

    Hate to be annoying, but Nate did similarly well after being benched and somehow took crap for it on this board.

    “On another note, the play of Bill Walker is making the Nate trade a bit more palatable.”

    Very true. Could just be luck, but I take it as a positive sign of the front office’s evaluation skills.

  21. Ted Nelson

    Interesting read as Knicks fans:

    http://www.draftexpress.com/article/DraftExpress-Overseas-Free-Agent-Rankings-Players-1-12-3360/

    Full rankings: http://www.draftexpress.com/rankings/Overseas-Free-Agents/

    Whether it’s to surround a prize free agent or two or to build a team after striking out in free agency, getting a cheap veteran from Europe may behoove the Knicks this offseason. At least invite some of these guys to the Summer League, maybe sign one of the top guys straight-up if there’s a bit of cap space left over that’s not enough to lure in a legit NBA free agent.

    Not all of these guys are actually free agents, by the way, they’re just guys who are not draft eligible and don’t have their draft rights held by a team.

    As far as Knicks big needs… Couple of Cs at the top of the list (one has a “comfortable buyout” this offseason, the other not till after 2010-11). PG crop not great, a few guys down the list a little. Lots of wings and combo-guards, but not really areas of need. If he’s up to coming, would love to see D’or Fischer on the Knicks’ summer league roster. He’s not ranked very highly, but was always a big rebounder/shot blocker at West Virginia.

  22. Ted Nelson

    Hendrix is probably right at the top of my list (not sure why I mentioned Fischer first, just a fit guy who has always intrigued me… doubt he ever makes the NBA). No idea what Hendrix’s contract status is.

  23. Frank

    Watching Douglas, I’d say his most likely career course will be the Chris Childs/Charlie Ward/Lindsey Hunter course – which is really pretty good out of the 27th pick of the draft — all 3 of those comps were integral parts of some very good teams. Billups is a pipe dream, although it certainly looks like he’s got the work ethic to get there.

    Re: Harrington – I don’t hate him at all — certainly when he’s on he’s the best scorer we’ve got. In fact, I’d much rather see him on this team going forward than someone like Rudy Gay, who has the same game but will probably cost 4-5M/year more and who is not any sort of a centerpiece player. You just get the feeling with Harrington that he has so much more talent than production – just frustrating.

    Re: guys like Bill Walker — I guess it all depends on whether Donnie tries to go for 2 max FA-types or not. I’m sort of on the fence on that. Let’s say (realistically) we can land Bosh and Joe Johnson — we still have no inside defensive presence and on top of that we have no salary cap money to find anyone significant to fill that hole. To be honest, I’d almost rather the Knicks do something like this –

    assume $32M in salary cap space with minimum contracts for anything above that
    - 16.5 M goes to Lebron/Wade. Joe Johnson as last resort even though I don’t think he’s anywhere near a max player.
    - 8M in 2010$ goes to Lee
    - 6M or so to Marcus Camby or Brendan Haywood (BH might get more)
    - 1M to Bill Walker — or possibly give the remaining 1.5M to McGrady if he’ll take it — I have a hope he can bounce back after more rehab (although he’s looking suspiciously like Penny Hardaway right now)
    - then fill the rest with low-cost guys
    - Buy a late first round pick from some team like memphis or the T-Wolves, and pick 2 interior defensive-types like Varnado etc. with that pick and the 2nd round pick.

    I think even if we strike out on LBJ/Wade/Bosh, a team fielding Douglas, Joe Johnson, Chandler, Gallinari, Lee, and Haywood/Camby is still a pretty good team, probably a 4 seed in the East. Certainly would be our best defensive team in a decade. Couple that with some draft picks and whoever we might be able to pick up with Curry’s expiring, and we might actually have something…

  24. Frank

    Watching Douglas, I’d say his most likely career course will be the Chris Childs/Charlie Ward/Lindsey Hunter course – which is really pretty good out of the 27th pick of the draft — all 3 of those comps were integral parts of some very good teams. Billups is a pipe dream, although it certainly looks like he’s got the work ethic to get there.

    Re: Harrington – I don’t hate him at all — certainly when he’s on he’s the best scorer we’ve got. In fact, I’d much rather see him on this team going forward than someone like Rudy Gay, who has the same game but will probably cost 4-5M/year more and who is not any sort of a centerpiece player. You just get the feeling with Harrington that he has so much more talent than production – just frustrating.

    Re: guys like Bill Walker — I guess it all depends on whether Donnie tries to go for 2 max FA-types or not. I’m sort of on the fence on that. Let’s say (realistically) we can land Bosh and Joe Johnson — we still have no inside defensive presence and on top of that we have no salary cap money to find anyone significant to fill that hole. To be honest, I’d almost rather the Knicks do something like this –

    assume $32M in salary cap space with minimum contracts for anything above that
    - 16.5 M goes to Lebron/Wade. Joe Johnson as last resort even though I don’t think he’s anywhere near a max player.
    - 8M in 2010$ goes to Lee
    - 6M or so to Marcus Camby or Brendan Haywood (BH might get more)
    - 1M to Bill Walker — or possibly give the remaining 1.5M to McGrady if he’ll take it — I have a hope he can bounce back after more rehab (although he’s looking suspiciously like Penny Hardaway right now)
    - then fill the rest with low-cost guys
    - Buy a late first round pick from some team like memphis or the T-Wolves, and pick 2 interior defensive-types like Varnado etc. with that pick and the 2nd round pick.

    I think even if we strike out on LBJ/Wade/Bosh, a team fielding Douglas, Joe Johnson, Chandler, Gallinari, Lee, and Haywood/Camby is still a pretty good team, probably a 4 seed in the East. Certainly would be our best defensive team in a decade. Couple that with some draft picks and whoever we might be able to pick up with Curry’s expiring, and we might actually have something…

  25. Caleb

    “He looks like he projects like a more efficient Flip Murray…”

    That’s just weird! Aside from what Ted said, Douglas looks like a guy who could stick in the league on defense – that’s the point of his existence (in the NBA!) Decent shooting, learning to play the point – that would all be gravy.

    As to age and improvement – obviously there are exceptions but it’s hard to find a more consistent trend that age predicts progression. It’s a curve, with rapid improvement slowing in the early 20s and performance peaking around 25 or 26… holding steady until 28 or 29 and then (on average) declining. I probably shouldn’t throw it out there without including links, but I guess I will have to save that for an article.. the curve is almost identical in baseball, as Bill James readers know.

    Being tall or being able to shoot (things that don’t go away with age) will help a player last longer.

    A player who is effective without those skills has more upside (he might learn them!) but is prone to a quicker decline later in his career.

    Since Billups is often mentioned as the classic late-bloomer, I took a peek. It’s true, he peaked later than most, and became more of a traditional PG. But it’s a bit of a myth that he was a flop, rescued by Larry Brown. His first two seasons were pretty solid. Just on the surface, he was good enough to play 2200 minutes as a 21-year-old rookie, with decent #s. His 3rd year he only played 13 games – if memory serves, he got hurt. Then he went to Minnesota and sort of picked up where he left off, one year delayed. By 25, in Minnesota, his assist rate was as good as anything he did in his first 4 Detroit years, with a .556 TS%.

    In retrospect, I think the injury was not the only factor but did play a big role in his early problems. Even so, looking at his first two seasons (and accounting for age) you should have been able to predict that he would be very good, if not an All-Star. IMO he’s even more of an outlier on the back end of his career, maintaining performance well into his 30s. For that, I think his size and shooting ability are big reasons, plus the elite “basketball sense” he seems to have.

  26. ess-dog

    Fully agree with Caleb- next season we will know what Toney has to offer long term.
    Ted, I think people are much higher on Chandler than Al b/c Chandler is 22 and Al is 29. Chandler plays D (although I have to admit I think Al’s D has improved a bit as the year’s gone on.) Chandler’s TS is a good .015 higher than Al’s this year – somewhat significant.
    Although I think you are correct that many overrate Chandler (maybe it’s just the tendency to hope for the future?)
    It would be interesting to see Chandler – at full health – take 20-23 shots a game… how would this effect his play? With a .502 efg and a .534 ts he’s in Danny Granger/Josh Smith territory at the same age. But I think we all agree he doesn’t display a “killer” attitude for whatever reason.

  27. Ted Nelson

    I should say that I don’t think Douglas has much chance of being as good as Billups or Manu. I was just using those as examples of guys who improved in their mid-20s. I guess he theoretically can be as good as them, but I just meant to say that he can improve even though he’s in his mid-20s. Not that he’ll improve to the point where he’s All-NBA (though that would obviously be nice).

    I do think he can be a step above Ward, Child, or Hunter. Ward was a somewhat inefficient scorer, and a TO waiting to happen. Childs was far less efficient and also a TO waiting to happen. They were both pretty low volume scorers, but did have ast%s of about 30 (opposite configuration as Douglas). Granted, the game was different back then, but I’m still not sure it’s the best comparison. Hunter is a terribly inefficient scorer: career TS% of .484 and only broke .500 4 of his 17 seasons. If you take a little of Ward and a little of Hunter and breed them together… maybe that’s Douglas’ most likely case scenario, but I’m still hoping his scoring can remain more efficient.

  28. TDM

    @21: “Whether it’s to surround a prize free agent or two or to build a team after striking out in free agency, getting a cheap veteran from Europe may behoove the Knicks this offseason.”

    @22: “Hendrix is probably right at the top of my list (not sure why I mentioned Fischer first, just a fit guy who has always intrigued me… doubt he ever makes the NBA). No idea what Hendrix’s contract status is.”

    Ted, I don’t see the Knicks getting anyone of serious value overseas. The Euro is still stronger than the dollar and those guys don’t want to sign in the US when there is the threat of a lock-out in 2011. For example, the top guy mentioned on the list just signed a three year extension at 5 million Euro per year, instead of signing with the Spurs. That’s more than the mid-level extension. The Spurs can’t even get their first round pick, Tiago Splitter, to come over for the same reason.

    If the Knicks were interested in getting someone from overseas, I think they would have to limit their focus to guys who have other reasons to come back to the States aside from money – like Richard Hendrix who you mentioned. That said, didn’t the Knicks sign him to a 10 day last season? The name sounds familiar.

  29. Ted Nelson

    Frank,

    Lee and a 5 definitely might be better than Bosh. I don’t know if D’Antoni will actually play that line-up, though. Jermaine O’Neal is a candidate with his ties to Walsh.
    Otherwise, I’m not that worried about filling in the roster. It might take a couple of years, but between the young talent on the roster, the Curry contract/cap space, and minimum deals ($1 million contracts can be given to veterans even if you’re over the cap) it can be done. Granted, a team built around Joe Johnson is going to need much more help to be a contender than one built around LeBron. (One other note is that a 1st rounder is on your cap even before he’s signed, so the Knicks have to consider that before buying a 1st this year. A late first starts at $1 mill or a bit under, just saying they have to be comfortable that $1 mill won’t make a big impact on their free agency plans.)

    Caleb,

    I agree that there is generally a bell curve shape to players’ careers, but I can sit here and think of enough outliers to feel it’s pretty irrelevant when evaluating one given player. And like I said, there also tend to be huge leaps and bounds in the first couple of years in the NBA regardless of age (especially year 1 to 2). I haven’t seen that quantified, but observe it all the time. Off hand it might even be more true with an older rookie, while 18 year olds might take a few years.

    “But it’s a bit of a myth that he was a flop, rescued by Larry Brown. His first two seasons were pretty solid.”

    I certainly never said anything about Larry Brown, and would agree 100% that would be a myth. Billups PERs, though, went 13.6, 15.1, 13 game season, 14.1… then at 25 spiked to 17.6 then 20.4 at 26 in Detriot (under Carlisle, not Brown). If you take out the two seasons that don’t fit your progression is that a smooth ascent? Yes. However, 1. you have to conveniently assume he was recovering from injury for a season and 2. to say that all players ride a nice smooth elevator of 2 pt PER improvements for the first 4 seasons (6 in this case with the injuries) of their careers is crazy talk.

    “By 25, in Minnesota, his assist rate was as good as anything he did in his first 4 Detroit years, with a .556 TS%.”

    Yeah, that’s sort of the point. He was 25 years old. Douglas is in his 23 year old season and a rookie. I strongly disagree that what you see is necessarily what you get.

    “Even so, looking at his first two seasons (and accounting for age) you should have been able to predict that he would be very good, if not an All-Star.”

    I don’t think it was that obvious. Certainly you knew he could play in the NBA, but most #3 overall picks can. Not every guy who moves from a PER of 13.6 to 15.1 from year 1 to 2 is going to eventually jump up to a PER of 20+ and become one of the top 3-5 guys at his position. That a guy with an assist% of 20 for his first four seasons will necessarily jump up to 30-40 while cutting his TO%? You can predict that? That a guy with a TS% of .550 at 22 will necessarily become a .600 TS% guy? I guess that a 23 year old with a .594 TS%, like Doulgas, will probably end up at around .700 on his career? Sweet, love this bell curve thing.

  30. Ted Nelson

    “but I can sit here and think of enough outliers”

    Which I should have said would make them not, in fact, outliers. I should look at the studies that have been done on it, but my gut feeling is that the relationship is too weak to project any given player’s career. I also guesstimate that NBA experience * age (or something to express a relationship between the two, my econometrics isn’t very good) would have a stronger relationship with the bell curve than just pure age.

    ess-dog,

    Age in definitely a factor. Harrington’s TS% is .015 higher than Chandler’s, though. Not vice versa. And you could say it’s even more significant because Harrington scores at significantly higher volume (21.2 pts/36 vs. 15.4).

    “It would be interesting to see Chandler – at full health – take 20-23 shots a game… how would this effect his play?”

    The problem, to me, is that his outside shooting and ball-handling might not allow him to take that many shots. His eFG% on jumpers is .396. Inside is where he’s killing it, eFG% of .680. A real PG (or better passers in general) might help him get more easy looks on cuts, etc.

    Josh Smith is a really terrible outside shooter, but his inside/outside splits are the exact inverse of Chandler’s: 63/37 vs. 37/63. Granger is a better jump shooter.
    WC can improve more, but that this point I think he’s basically performing to his ability. Playing in a better offense, with better teammates, might have a big impact on what he can do.

  31. ess-dog

    Right, I was looking at career TS sorry. But at 22, Harrington’s TS was an abysmal.493. I do think that Al has had a pretty good year this year and has really tried to fit into the system and do what the coach wants him to do, he just can’t get over that mental hurdle of being able to make quality decisions with the ball in his hands. But physically, he’s a great combo of 3 pt. shooting and post strength/quickness.
    As for Will, he really should be a small forward. The problem is, so should Gallo the way his game is today. Maybe Gallo’s exceptional 3 pt. shooting at the 3 could make up for Chandler’s poor 3 pt. shooting at the 2 in this system, but who knows? And for a 2, Chandler’s ball handling is below average. It’s also a real problem when you consider that the world’s best player is also a small forward and a free agent. That could lead to us trading Will before he hits it and perhaps he blows up elsewhere. If we could get a great defensive big for him, it could be worth it, but I don’t see that happening.
    Therefore, even if we strike out on all the big free agents, we could still see a lineup of Douglas, Chandler, Gallo, Lee, Camby work pretty well if Douglas, Chandler and Gallo step it up. Most of the passing comes from Gallo and Lee but it could work. It’s not a great team by any means (7th seed at best?) but it’s watchable basketball, something more like the current Bucks squad.
    Although you have to figure we’ll give a contract to somebody. Preferably not Gay or Johnson.

  32. Caleb

    re: age as a predictor of progress, I’ll save my detailed disagreement until I can crunch the numbers and give it a post of its own. But I would look at it this way: a point guard playing 2200 minutes with a PER of 13.6 is not a very good point guard. BUT – it does suggest a future good point guard, if you know the player is only 21.

    Quick homework (requiring no major math!):

    1. run a filter on players younger than 22, 1500+ minutes and PER 13+… who are they?

    2. Line up the 2007 lottery picks- what was their TS% for 2007-2008, 2008-2009 and 2009-2010? That will give you a good idea of a “standard” expectation.

    All that said, I don’t disagree that Billups is a relative late bloomer and has “jumped the curve” to some degree.

    And of course every personnel evaluator needs to consider the individual. But noting the bigger (and obvious) trends, that’s the point of statistical analysis, IMO.

    re: Chandler comparisons, Josh Smith was an impact defensive player for 2-3 years while his offense was still a major work in progress. Chandler is ok on D, especially for a young player, but he can’t really say the same. Smith stepped up in class because he stopped taking 3s (he used to take a lot, and miss them all). But if he stopped scoring and became a taller Bruce Bowen, he would still be valuable.

    Statistically (and physically) a very close Chandler comparison is Caron Butler. Whether that means Butler is overrated, or that Chandler has an All-Star future, I leave to the audience…

    Granger is pretty close too. See above comment..

  33. Ben R

    Ted – My problem with Harrington is that he hurts ball movement and offensive flow. When he gets the ball and shoots he’s pretty efficient, but he also dominates the ball and takes other players out of the offense. It is a similar criticism, though Al is not as bad, as I had with Zach. It is also the reason why I think Lee is a better offensive player than someone like Bosh or Boozer or Randolph, he scores within the flow of the offense and does not halt ball movement.

    As for Chandler he has actually shot a TS% of 55.6% since December 1st. This has not been a hot streak but a change in the way he plays the game. Before December 1st – 55 3pta – 32 fta
    After December 1st – 95 3pta – 128 fta

    Chandler is already a better offensive player than Josh Smith and is two years younger. I doubt Chandler is ever as good on offense as Granger.

    Even if he never improves if he can maintain a career of 55+% TS%, 16 points, 5-6 rebs, 2 asts with solid defense he is a long term solid starter. Any better than that is just gravy. I have no illusions he will become an all-star but he is a solid NBA starter at 22, maybe he will get better, maybe he won’t either way he is a good player.

    I am excited about Douglas. He is already a good defender and with his good 3pt shooting and ability to finish around the basket he should be able to remain a solid and efficient scorer, even though his volume and efficiency will probably decrease at least temporarily as teams start game planning around him. He is not a pure point guard but has done well the last two games. With a good passing wing like LeBron or Wade he is the perfect PG. A good defender who can score if left open and is good on the break

  34. Ted Nelson

    TDM,

    “Ted, I don’t see the Knicks getting anyone of serious value overseas.”

    I don’t know that they will, but I think that they can. Certainly they can find someone as good as your AVERAGE second round pick. Not to say they might not draft someone incredible early in the 2nd, but that the average 2nd rounder… well… stinks. With a veteran from Europe you can a get a little more certainty on the bench. Knicks have a bunch of roster spots to fill. A few cheap veterans would be good to fill out the roster. Whether a cheap veteran free agent played in the NBA or Europe last season he’s going to get attention from European teams.

    On Yiannis Bouroussis: “decided that he was not yet ready to make the leap over and instead inked a lucrative 3-year, 5 million Euro contract extension with Olympiacos instead. He left the window open with a comfortable NBA buyout and quotes stating as much, meaning he’s still very much a name that NBA teams need to continue to evaluate as a potential big-time roster addition for the future.”

    Tiago Splitter is screwed by the rookie salary scale imposed on 1st rounders. If the Knicks really LOVE Bouroussis–and hopefully Walsh doesn’t pull a Jennings-esque… “I didn’t know how good he was…” not that I’m dying for Jennings, just that Walsh should be intimately familiar with the best players in Europe–they can throw as much money at him as they want. (IF they love him.)
    A lot of the promise of coming to the NBA is the second extension: player actually has to perform to get it, but if he does that’s a whole lot sweeter than the money they can get in Europe. Someone like Nocioni got a guaranteed $35 mill or something. Depends how risk averse a player is, what he’s got on the table in Europe, his age… Few will take WAY less money to come to the NBA, but the promise of that 2nd contract combined with the world’s biggest basketball stage can make up a bit of difference.

    Hendrix is young enough to give the NBA another try with plenty of time to get back to Europe and make money if he fails. Sato is a free agent who is old enough that he might take a pay-cut to get one last chance in the NBA (“Romain has always wanted to play in the NBA,” his agent Sam Goldfeder told us). In the best case those are “energy” guys, but could be rotation players. They could fill roles like Kurt Thomas (a late stage Thomas) or Raja Bell did for D’Antoni in Phoenix. You get the occasional Calderon level European FA, but it’s much more likely you can find an Anthony Parker, Will Bynum, Roger Mason, Charlie Bell, Maurice Evans, Udonis Haslem, Andres Nocioni, or Fabricio Oberto. Whether you consider them to be of “serious value” is up to you.

    You can get a serviceable NBA player like Will Bynum pretty easily. Not that Bynum is all that valuable, but he wasn’t exactly the Michael Jordan of Israel when he was over there. He was very good and stood out as an athlete, but he wasn’t anything incredible. That’s just to say that if you’re looking for fill a very specific role you might find somebody draftexpress is not that high on who fits the bill. Boykins was #41 on last year’s list and Arroyo #20, and both have outperformed #2 Jannero Pargo on returning to the NBA. These rankings also came out early in the season, and Givony doesn’t seem to use stats at all beyond per game numbers in compiling them. He also seems to be biased against guys playing for decent teams in Spain, maybe in part because they make good money in Europe. The difference between edge-of-the-rotation to back-of-the-roster guys in the NBA and the top players in Europe is often non-existent, especially since in a lot of cases that top player in Europe is a year or two removed from being just that in the NBA. Just as some guys drafted high never improve, some guys who go undrafted or fail to make the league from the 2nd round do improve significantly.

    “The name [Hendrix] sounds familiar.”

    Besides the similarity to a certain musician… Hendrix was billed as the top overall pick for a few months coming out of high school, played at Alabama, scored very well in pre-draft statistical evaluations, and was drafted in the mid-2nd round in 2008. He’s a beast on the boards.

    “I think they would have to limit their focus to guys who have other reasons to come back to the States aside from money ”

    Only 13 of the top 50 listed aren’t from the US. Several of those 13 have NBA experience, which could make them either more or less likely to want to come back I suppose.

  35. Caleb

    Richard Hendrix is a favorite of number-crunchers like myself…

    While we’re at it, what’s Nick Fazekas up to?

  36. ess-dog

    Wasn’t Hendrix with G.S. for like 10 days earlier this year? I don’t know why he hasn’t stuck somewhere…

  37. Ted Nelson

    Caleb,

    I think you can look at the bigger statistical picture, but I don’t think that bigger picture necessarily tells us Douglas will not improve on his rookie season.

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/psl_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=0&type=totals&per_minute_base=36&is_playoffs=N&year_min=1947&year_max=2010&season_start=1&season_end=1&age_min=21&age_max=25&height_min=0&height_max=99&lg_id=&franch_id=&is_active=&is_hof=&pos=&qual=&c1stat=per&c1comp=gt&c1val=14&c2stat=ts_pct&c2comp=gt&c2val=.575&c3stat=ast_pct&c3comp=gt&c3val=14&c4stat=stl_pct&c4comp=gt&c4val=1.5&order_by=ws

    Well… Tony Delk and Rex Walter never did improve. Delk might be a good medium-case comparison for Douglas… solid but unspectacular combo-guard. Delk’s rookie TS% was a result of small sample size. He hit 46% of his 3s that year and was a career 34% 3-pt shooter, though, which seems a little more unrealistic than Douglas’ 39% from dowtown.
    Lawson and Beaubois are encouraging names, though we have no idea how much they will improve.

    Combine Billups’ career with Marbury’s–both big PGs drafted in the top 4–and you might get a nice clean bell shape. How much does the average tell you about either player’s career, though?

    “1. run a filter on players younger than 22, 1500+ minutes and PER 13+… who are they?”

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/psl_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=0&type=totals&per_minute_base=36&is_playoffs=N&year_min=1947&year_max=2010&season_start=1&season_end=-1&age_min=0&age_max=21&height_min=0&height_max=99&lg_id=&franch_id=&is_active=&is_hof=&pos=&qual=&c1stat=mp&c1comp=gt&c1val=1500&c2stat=per&c2comp=gt&c2val=13&c3stat=&c3comp=gt&c3val=&c4stat=&c4comp=gt&c4val=&order_by=ws&order_by_asc=&offset=100

    That’s a pretty broad category. 206 seasons qualify. When you consider where Billups falls in terms of Win Shares–164th–it doesn’t tell you too much about him. Lots of HOFers fall into the group, but they mostly put up Win Shares way above Billups. Looking 0.3 Win Shares in either direction of Billups you get: Darko Milicic, Eric Money, Lamar Odom, Reggie Theus, Wayman Tisdale, Richard Washington, Andray Blatche, Eddy Curry, Luol Deng, Darius Miles, Shareef Abdul-Rahim, Jason Rcihardson, Eric Gordon, Juwan Howard, and Omri Casspi. Almost all NBA players, but a pretty wide spectrum. Few if any who reached the peak Billups has.

  38. ess-dog

    I think Doc Rivers could be a valid comparison for Douglas. Most years, Doc’s assists weren’t off the charts (he had three +10/game years but averaged 7.5 for his career.) Rivers was a solid passer, but never made the spectacular pass. Douglas probably won’t approach that (unless he’s feeding Lebron) but maybe Douglas will shoot the 3 a little better than Doc. They’re both good defensive players.

  39. Caleb

    Confine it to guards and bump the minimum to 2000 minutes, and you’re down to 49 player-seasons (about 45 players). There are a handful of duds but overall it’s an impressive group.

    Of course, Billups’ season was one of the least impressive – not suggesting a superstar. For a more comparable group, I went with guards, 21 or younger, 1800+ minutes with PER between 13 and 15.

    That gives you 24 player seasons: at least 20 were what I would call really good players (top-10 NBA guards, at some point in their caeer) – even though, by PER, they were all “bad” – below average – at age 20 or 21.

    I did my other homework – a chart of TS% for the 2007 lottery picks. I’ll have to clean it up before posting, but the improvement was less than I expected. On average, .018 from Year 1 to Year 2, and .024 from Year 1 to Year 3. It’s a very small sample, and possibly skewed by the number of “older” players (Noah, Thornton, Law and probably Yi were all 23 or 24 as rookies) – but it’s a starting point for expectations. I will check out a few more years to see if there is a larger pattern…

  40. Ted Nelson

    Caleb,

    I find it hard to compare Chandler to Butler and Granger at this point since they entered the league at 22 and he’s in his third year at 22. I find it hard to say that because they’re all 22 they’re all the same even though one is in his 3rd NBA season and two were rookies. I haven’t done any specific research on this, but I feel like NBA experience often has an impact as well as age.
    I think Chandler might be as good as Butler, but will have a hard time making all the improvements from here on Granger did. Granger is/was a significantly better jump shooter. It’s possible, but unlikely. More likely than Douglas being Chauncey Billups, though.

    Ben R,

    I don’t think you can just assume Wilson Chandler will or won’t stay at 55% TS from here on since he’s done it for 2 months. I think he can (and can improve in a better offense and/or if his jumper improves), but I wouldn’t take it as a given. He’s shooting an eFG% of 68% on inside shots. He could make up for it by getting his 3p shooting back to where it was last season, just saying that keeping his shot selection equal his efficiency could still change. His shot selection is still more jumper heavy than I’d like, and he needs to get that 3 pt range and move his mid-range shots out there.

    “Chandler is already a better offensive player than Josh Smith and is two years younger.”

    I would say that’s not true. Smith is having a career year offensively plus he is 24 years old and in his 6th NBA season, but overall he’s having a clearly better offensive season than Chandler. His assist% is 19… in line with Joe Johnson and Mike Bibby, twice Chandler’s. His ORB% is almost twice Chandler’s (yes, he plays a different position, but he’s a better scorer, a better playmaker, AND a better offensive rebounder). If you were to say that in two or three years I think Chandler will be better offensively I would be fine with that, but I wouldn’t jump on board with you.

    “Even if he never improves if he can maintain a career of 55+% TS%, 16 points, 5-6 rebs, 2 asts with solid defense he is a long term solid starter.”

    I would say below average or average at best: good at everything but not very good at anything. A lot depends on how you rate his defense, though.

    “My problem with Harrington is that he hurts ball movement and offensive flow.”

    I do find the ball-hogging annoying, but honestly how many Knicks would you rather shoot the ball than Harrington? My problem with Randolph was that his TS% was .513 his full season here and .517 in his “amazing” 11 games for D’Antoni… plenty of guys could have made more shots with the same looks. Harrington is at .549 and was at .555 last season. The only two guys this season I could consistently say I would rather have shooting the ball are Lee and Danilo. Lee shoots it quite a bit already, and though Danilo doesn’t shoot enough I don’t think that’s all on Harrington.
    I’m not a fan of clear-out/ playground basketball, but I do see some value in a guy you can just give the ball and get efficient points. Harrington is the one guy on the Knicks, now that Nate’s gone, who you can throw the ball on the perimeter and count on a low-TO, medium efficiency possession. My biggest point is that this could also be valuable in a better offense. The fact that the Knicks are a middle of the road offense and not a top offense is not Harrington’s fault so much as the team around him.

    “It is also the reason why I think Lee is a better offensive player than someone like Bosh or Boozer or Randolph, he scores within the flow of the offense and does not halt ball movement.”

    I find it to be a matter of degree. Comparing Randolph to Bosh is something like comparing Crawford (pre-Atlanta) to Wade. Bosh is a guy whose hands you want the ball in offensively. Toronto is 5th offensively this season running their offensive through Bosh, so somehow I don’t think he halts ball movement too much. Boozer has an ast% of 15.8, but I guess he halts ball movement.

  41. Nick C.

    “My problem with Randolph was that his TS% was .513 his full season here and .517 in his “amazing” 11 games for D’Antoni… ”
    Ha Ha Ha. I wasn’t aware of that from the way that tiem frame gets talke dabout you’d think he was way way better than that.

  42. Nick C.

    Not that I’m accusing anyone who is posting now of saying so, but a few years back I remember people comparing Mardy Clollins to Jason Kidd after a few near triple doubles (in 45 minutes + not less). So I take all this with a grain of salt and save my extrapolations for the Mets where I was convinced Daniel Murphy was Keith Hernandez lite and Mike Pelfrey was ready to shine based on a month or two. ;-)

  43. ess-dog

    Well if you go by NBA experience, Wilson also shows favorably when compared to Caron Butler and Josh Smith offensively. He obviously doesn’t have the defensive statistics of Smith, so maybe the good all around player in Butler is the winner.
    By the way, Chandler has a groin pull and is out for tonight and maybe the rest of the season. We may see some Giddens.
    Here’s a thought: you could argue that Walker has way more upside than Chandler. NBA career .661 ts and .621 efg (also 22 yrs old.) Not too shabby!

  44. Thomas B.

    Bill Walker has played a total of 540 minutes for his NBA career. That is far too small a sample size to start projecting. Compare that to Wilson Chandler’s 5740 minutes played in less than 3 full seasons.

    With Walker yet to play even 1/10th the minutes Chandler has played, how can you say he has more upside than Chandler?

    I hear that word “upside” used often around here for young players. It was the word of the draft with respect to PG. Hell I thought it was Ricky Rubio’s middle name. I still don’t know what that means. What is “upside?” My dad would tell me he would “go upside” my head if I didn’t pick up my toys. I doubt he was using it as a basketball reference.

  45. Ted Nelson

    ess-dog,

    Rivers falls pretty well in line with the Ward comparisons. Better socring volume, lower TOs, and worst possessions defense (basically, Ward was a great ball thief). http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/pcm_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=1&p1=riverdo01&y1=1996&p2=wardch01&y2=2005

    Caleb,

    I think those groups show that Billups was in-line to be a solid NBA player (which getting drafted #3 is also usually an indicator of), but also show that his development was on the top end of expectations.

    A lot of those guys are still young (9 of those 24 seasons come from guys drafted since 2006).

    If you take out the 8 guys drafted since 2006, there are 15 guys and only 1 developed better than Billups (Allen) and 1 about the same (Isiah). Of the young guys I would say Rondo is the only one you can comfortably say is on track to be as good (only one to break PER of 15 to date), but as Billups himself proves… who knows.

    Relating this back to Douglas… I have no idea… Sample size is small. Efficiency is great but may be a fluke. Playmaking is bad but improving lately. Doesn’t turn it over. Defense looks good. I could see a Tony Delk career path in the worst somewhat-likely case. I could also maybe see a Boobie Gibson role where nothing develops and he’s a 3-pt specialist.
    I really hope the scoring efficiency is no fluke, though, in which case I have a hard time coming up with someone who Douglas projects to be: scoring = very efficient, defense = good or better, playmaking = questionable… who knows where Douglas will end up on the spectrum. My problem with Rivers and Ward is that they were low efficiency scorers, granted in a different era.
    -I would say Mo Williams and Mike Bibby are better natural playmakers who have curtailed their playmaking a little due to one teammate. So, no.
    -Maybe Mario Chalmers? Also don’t know how he’ll develop.
    -Barbosa could be a good comparison, though the defense may set Douglas apart… still a perennial 6th man candidate who didn’t really break out till 23 (in his 3rd season).
    -Ben Gordon?
    -Devin Harris?
    -Sam Cassell? A 24 yr old rookie from FSU who posted a rookie PER of 13 in 1122 minutes before posting a career PER of 19.5…
    -Dana Barros? Few really good seasons, but not too far above average on career.
    -Johnny Dawkins?

  46. ess-dog

    Sorry Thomas, I should have made my post more overtly sarcastic in it’s delivery. And although I was kidding, I am still excited about Walker if only because he was such a great high school baller. He was right up there with OJ Mayo. It will be hard to put the knee injuries behind him though.

  47. Ted Nelson

    Nick C.,

    I think we do have to take it with a grain of salt (Lavar Postell had a couple of 20 pt games down the stretch one season, too… I would say that my memory is that the consensus here at KB was that Mardy Collins’ numbers were due to minutes played… an encouraging sign maybe, but not too impressive). The encouraging thing to me about Douglas is that his scoring efficiency has remained consistently high all season. He hasn’t played many minutes, but they’ve come sporadically throughout the season. Throw in the visual appeal of watching him on D and the recent playmaking… and it may be nothing at the end of the day, but it’s exciting.

    ess-dog,

    I really don’t know how good Chandler will be for the next 10 years, and am only throwing ideas out there. My point, I guess, is just that Butler and Granger are guys who have really improved in their mid-20s. According to Caleb’s Toney Douglas is an old man theory, it’s dubious that Chandler will do this. It’s very possible, though, which is definitely a good thing for us Knicks fans. I’m impressed with Chandler after a catastrophic start to this season and two bad seasons. He’s still got a ways to go in putting it all together, though.

    The interesting question–that I don’t know the answer to–is, based on Douglas being largely an unknown but in his 23 year old season and Chandler only being in his 22 year old season but having played almost 6,000 NBA minutes already… who is more likely to improve from here? I guess position, size, and strengths/weaknesses would also be helpful in answering.

  48. Thomas B.

    Ess-dog,
    Re: sarcasm.

    You know, I should have known better. It’s just that Mike’s sarcasm has been so off the charts lately that it makes your sarcasm seem not sarcastic at all. You are just going to have to step up your game. But Caleb projected your sarcasm upside and I’m afraid your TS% (total sarcasm percentage) likely peaked right after Walsh drafted Jordan Hill.

  49. ess-dog

    Thomas,
    I’m a 36 year old 6’1″ power forward. I think I have 6 good years for my sarcasm to increase on a bell curve before my grey matter starts to curdle. My ceiling’s not as high as Ted’s, but I think I can be a strong rotation producer well into my 40′s.

  50. Ben R

    The thing that really I think sets Douglas apart is the potential he has on defense. He was one of the best, if not the best, defensive guard in the NCAA his senior year and very good his junior year. This combined with him being fairly efficient and a good three point shooter all four years of college has me thinking his efficiency is not a fluke. His volume will most likely go down when teams start game-planning him but I see no reason to think he will ever become an inefficient player. These two things alone will make him in my opinion at the very least a good role player; combo guard off the bench, or a starting PG with a good passer at the wing. How he develops as a PG will determine if he can be more than that. His age makes me weary of too much improvement, but at the very least I think he looks like a 20 minute a game player on a good team.

    Walker should be able to stay efficient. He has never been a volume scorer, so he will probably always be a mid-volume player but he has had fantastic efficiency at every stop.

  51. Ben R

    Ted – I think you are not giving Chandler enough credit. He has shot well 55.6% TS% not over the last two months but three and a half – 48 games – 1763 minutes. By far most of this season. If you consider that he was recovering from surgery maybe the first 17 games were the fluke, where he shot 46.1% TS%, well under his previous season.

    He might get worse and stop shooting over 55% TS% but his age and the amount of time he has maintained his new efficiency make me think it is a real improvement and not a statistical anomaly.

    At this point I think him actually improving on his efficiency and volume are just as likely, if not more likely, as him getting worse.

    I think right now Chandler is a great fourth option on a great team. If the Knicks get a free agent and retain Lee then you have:
    1st option – Free Agent
    2nd option – Lee
    3rd option – Gallo
    4th option – Chandler

    That sounds about right to me and I think Chandler can flourish in that role.

  52. TDM

    “I’m a 36 year old 6?1? power forward. I think I have 6 good years for my sarcasm to increase on a bell curve before my grey matter starts to curdle. My ceiling’s not as high as Ted’s, but I think I can be a strong rotation producer well into my 40’s.”

    Well, they don’t call him Ted “Upside” Nelson for nothing.

  53. Brian Cronin

    Yeah, I remember KB.net when Mardy had those games – about 99% of us thought it was just the extra minutes, so I don’t quite get that comparison.

  54. Ted Nelson

    Ben R,

    Douglas’ defense looks good, but I’d like to see a bit more of him against NBA starters in somewhat meaning minutes before making a conclusion. I think he is a good defender, I just don’t want to commit to that yet.
    Overall I agree with your assessment of him, though.

    Walker will be interesting to see. I can’t believe the Celts never tried playing him with their lack of depth. Someone should probably be fired over that. Seriously. My total sarcasm % is 0 on that one. (Not sure what you’re basing his track record on, though… He dominated D-League in 450 minutes, sure. Only 250 minutes in Boston, though, and a college TS% of 54% in only one full season. He’s got to get some real NBA action under his belt before I feel comfortable saying he’s for real. At least a Raja Bell/Bruce Bowen role candidate, though. Don’t have a real great feel for his D, but incredible athlete who must have picked something up at K-State and in Boston. Even if he’s worse than those guys on D, he’s likely better on O.)

    I’m not saying that Chandler will get less efficient or this is an anomaly. Certainly his career trend is pointing up.

    “At this point I think him actually improving on his efficiency and volume are just as likely, if not more likely, as him getting worse.”
    I think that’s fair. I was going to say the same thing.

    “I think right now Chandler is a great fourth option on a great team.”
    Even assuming he’s a 55% TSer. He’s a medium volume/medium efficiency scorer who doesn’t really bring any other plus attribute to the table besides not turning it over and blocking shots like a PF although he’s a SF. If he’s a real plus defender, ok. Otherwise, I think you can find someone who will either a. bring more scoring or b. bring the same scoring but also bring something else. Lock-down D. Great playmaking. Really strong rebounding at the 3.
    RIGHT NOW I think he’s a good solid rotation player, but probably a below-average starter (top 5 in rotation). If you have to have 3 better scorers around him and scoring is what he brings to the table… how valuable is he? His value, of course, boils down to the market for his 2nd contract: at one price he’s a great value, but at another he’s a total clunker. On his rookie deal he’s a great value or better this season and next, for sure. It also boils down to how much he improves.

    Purely looking at his scoring contribution, agree he’s a good/great 4th scorer right now. If you put him on a playoff team as the 4th option, they’d probably be fine. The Josh Howard, Caron Butler, and even Granger comparisons all hold water if he continues to improve… in which case he can be a third or maybe 2nd scorer. Rudy Gay, Marvin Williams, Thaddeus Young, Desmond Mason, Travis Outlaw are also comps I would throw out there. Williams is a starter on a playoff team, Gay might be, Young has been, and Outlaw has been, I’m sure Mason has been.

    For some reason I have been skeptical of Chandler his whole career. I guess it’s in part because he’s an athletic prospect working on the skills, and in part because he’s been hyped up a lot by other Knicks fans more than his production warrants.

  55. nicos

    I could see Toney topping out as a poor man’s Sidney Moncrief (albeit one who shoots 3′s much better but doesn’t get to the line nearly as much). Moncrief’s career assist % was 17 and only got above 20 twice (barely). But he benefited by playing with Paul Pressy (the original “point forward” (if you don’t count Magic that is) and carved out a great career (5 time all-star/ all-NBA player and defensive player of the year twice).

  56. Nick C.

    Ben, I knew I’d get killed for bringing up Mardy, but I thought I hedged it. I just can’t get worked up over a late season flurry or a few good initial starts. Duhon had us thinking he was good for a few months also.

  57. Caleb

    Walker is pretty intriguing. There’s very little to go on – his college numbers don’t tell much, because he was still recovering from major knee surgery, the first half of the season. Before that he was a big time, blue chip, prospect, as someone else mentioned… but I have no idea if he deserved the hype.

    I would say – if he’s physically in good shape, it’s reasonable to think of his potential as a mid-1st rounder or even better – instead of a no-name 2nd round pick.

    Still, 500 NBA minutes don’t prove much.

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