Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Tonight: “We’ll Always Have Linsanity” A Reading at the Housing Works, 7 p.m.

Just a reminder about our charity event tonight…

Meet the authors of We’ll Always Have Linsanity in a reading at the Housing Works on Wednesday, June 19, at 7 p.m., hosted by Deadspin founder Will Leitch. Listen to their take on the infamous season of Linsanity, ask them questions about the past season, and get them on record about their predictions for next season. Most importantly, share a moment with fellow Knicks fans in the aftermath of their most successful season in more than a decade, yet one that left many Knicks fans disappointed–as usual.

Housing Works is located 126 Crosby Street in Manhattan. It is one of downtown New York’s most vital cultural institutions, presenting an eclectic mix of events — from readings and concerts to comedy nights and storytelling competitions – featuring many of today’s most exciting artists. The bookstore is staffed almost entirely by volunteers and 100 percent of its profits go to Housing Works, Inc., which provides housing, healthcare, job training, and advocacy for New Yorkers living with HIV/AIDS. As an independent cultural center, it offers patrons a unique opportunity to join the fight against AIDS and homelessness simply by buying or donating books; eating at our cafe; coming to concerts, readings, and special events; or volunteering on our staff.

We’ll Always Have Linsanity: Strange Takes from the Knicks’ Strangest Season is a collection from writers working in a variety of outlets. Hunter S. Thompson once said, “When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro,” and the New York Knicks are one weird team, so these bloggers use zombies, psychiatrist couches, personal narratives, and almost every medium they can to understand the psyche of the Knick fan.

We’ll Always Have Linsanity collects these responses in a book that’s neither a memoir nor a history nor a yearbook, but a document that recounts what happened on the court and what happened in the mind of the fan. Reminiscent of Frederick Exley’s A Fan Notes, We’ll Always Have Linsanity argues that to really understand a team you must understand those who watch. And those watching the Knicks were strange indeed.

The book is the first from 99, a press devoted to bringing short, compelling books to readers.

27 comments on “Tonight: “We’ll Always Have Linsanity” A Reading at the Housing Works, 7 p.m.

  1. EB

    ruruland:
    Anyone still want to discuss the post about defensive slippage?

    1) We suck at defending threes,
    2) People are shooting more threes,
    3) Therefore, our defense will struggle.

    I base 1) off basketball reference which shows the knicks to have similar numbers on defense in the four factors, we actually improved in rebounding.

    I justify 2) when i looked at hoopdata which shows opposing teams taking significantly more threes against us than last year (fewer rim attempts and 3-9ft).

    3) seems to follow from 1) and 2)

  2. ruruland

    Sure, macro-wise, absolutely.

    Let’s dig a bit.

    With Melo at 3, Knicks were .6 points per 48 minutes better on defense than their season average. (per 82 games.com)

    With Amar’e at 4, Knicks were 3.3 points better per 48 than their season average. (per 82 games.com)

    Those two numbers lead you to this eye-popping differential, one I speculated about really early in the year

    Per Wowy

    Knicks defense w/Chandler AND another true big on the floor: 103.4 D rating (or 1.034 PPP).

    (951 possessions, including all combinations: Camby, Wallace, Martin, and Amar’e)

    Knicks defense without that combination: 107.01 D rating (or 1.071 PPP)

    Knicks offense with Chandler and another big 110.7 (down from 111.4 without)

    Knicks OVERALL EFFICIENCY differential with the Chandler and another big combination: 7.3 PPP, or 7.3 points per 100 possessions .

    Knicks differential without: 4.3

    Cont…..

  3. ruruland

    In other words, the Knicks had about the 7th best defensive team in the league with Chandler and another true big on the floor.

    The offense wasn’t as good, but the defensive improvement was far greater than what was lost on offense.

    That efficiency differential would have been good for third in the league, and likely moves the Knicks into the high 50s or low 60s in win total.

    As I’ve documented before, it’s a myth that Melo excels at the 4 and Amar’e at the 5– absolute hogwash — they perform similarly on offense at either position, but their teams are much better when they play their natural position.

    Consider the following: The Knicks played much of their smaller lineups — which performed really well on offense–without a real floor spacing benefit. For example, neither Ronnie Brewer nor Jason Kidd truly spaced the floor.

    What I’m saying is that with Amar’e (far and away the best option alongside Chandler) Kenyon Martin or another quality big, the Knicks can essentially maintain the offensive floor spacing they had when they were enjoying a lot of success on offense using small lineups with the illusion of floor spacing.

    Let’s think about it this way. Carmelo Anthony is a well above average high volume 3-point shooter. Iman Shumpert would have ranked 16th in the NBA in 3pt field goal 5 for players averaging 6 or more 3 pt fga per 48 minutes.

    That’s floor spacing.

    San Antonio was 4th in the league in 3pt shooting last year. (37.6%) but they were at their best with BOTH Splitter and Duncan on the floor at the same time.

  4. Brian Cronin

    Yes, I think we all mostly agree that the Knicks would have a stronger defense if they played a more traditional lineup (namely, Chandler as not the only big and Shumpert at the 2), but the issue is whether Woody thinks that. He’s given no indication that he feels that way, has he? When he had a healthy STAT last year, he played him at the 5. I don’t see him changing that any time soon.

  5. Frank

    Brian Cronin: When he had a healthy STAT last year, he played him at the 5. I don’t see him changing that any time soon.

    We saw a fair amount of “the broadway bigs” last year — in fact, more more than 1/3 of Amare’s total minutes came with both Tyson and Melo on the floor, and just about 1/2 of his minutes came with Tyson.

    I think part of why Amare played so much 5 when Tyson was off is because of injuries — Rasheed was already out for the year by the time Amare came back, Camby was on the DL for most of the time too. And by the time K-Mart started to play more, Amare was hurt again.

    I wrote this in a post a while back, but I really do think we’re best off with Amare starting and playing about 6 minutes per quarter- with Tyson as defensive protection in the 1st/3rd, and then Camby or whoever as protection in the 2nd/4th. Certainly he can’t be out there with Melo and without a backstop defender behind the two of them to clean up their messes. Lineups with Amare+Melo without a big have been a disaster defensively.

    A starting lineup with Felton, Shump, and Melo will be fine re: spacing, especially since Amare is a threat from mid-long 2 range as well.

    Re: the defense– it sure seemed we were doing a LOT more scrambling this year. Some of it was the switching, which inevitably led to a massive mismatch, with inevitably led to doubling and rotations etc. I actually think the defense was fine overall — in the beginning of the year and in the playoffs (ie. when energy was highest) the defense was perfectly fine. It was just the middle of the year, especially with all the injuries to the bigs, that it sort of fell apart.

    Not that I have any standing to criticize Woody on this, but I really really hate all the constant doubling in the post. It’s like a college defensive strategy.

  6. yellowboy90

    I still think it would be smart to try and work a S&T for Hickson maybe giving up Novak if they re-sign Cope. He is not Amar’e, but he and Amar’e would be a nice 1/2 punch, imo.

  7. yellowboy90

    Also, the goal coming into camp before Stat went out was having a traditional lineup.

  8. Frank

    yellowboy90:
    I still think it would be smart to try and work a S&T for Hickson maybe giving up Novak if they re-sign Cope. He is not Amar’e, but he and Amar’e would be a nice 1/2 punch, imo.

    Not sure anyone is ever taking Novak (except maybe Milwaukee? he’d be a cult hero there) because of how many years are left on his deal– and in addition, getting a player in S&T would be very difficult since we would have to be below the apron after the trade.

    I think the only tradeable guys on this team are Shump (no way) and Camby, or possibly S&T deals sending Cope or Prigs away (no thanks). Felton might be tradeable too given his relatively low salary for an average PG, but I think it’d be exceedingly bad karma to trade him away again. Plus, I don’t think we could count on Prigioni to play starters’ minutes the whole year even if he decides to come back. Otherwise, our 1st round pick this year is a tradeable asset after the draft, but something really good and young better be coming back in return.

  9. yellowboy90

    Frank: Not sure anyone is ever taking Novak (except maybe Milwaukee? he’d be a cult hero there) because of how many years are left on his deal– and in addition, getting a player in S&T would be very difficult since we would have to be below the apron after the trade.

    I think the only tradeable guys on this team are Shump (no way) and Camby, or possibly S&T deals sending Cope or Prigs away (no thanks). Felton might be tradeable too given his relatively low salary for an average PG, but I think it’d be exceedingly bad karma to trade him away again. Plus, I don’t think we could count on Prigioni to play starters’ minutes the whole year even if he decides to come back. Otherwise, our 1st round pick this year is a tradeable asset after the draft, but something really good and young better be coming back in return.

    You are probably right but a team like the Blazers that have no depth and need shooting might bite. A healthy Camby would fit a need for them(healthy Camby fits a Ny need too) but they just traded him. Maybe he can be their Felton. lol.

  10. flossy

    Frank: I think part of why Amare played so much 5 when Tyson was off is because of injuries — Rasheed was already out for the year by the time Amare came back, Camby was on the DL for most of the time too. And by the time K-Mart started to play more, Amare was hurt again.

    Exactly–if we had a reliable back-up for Chandler, I doubt Amar’e would have been asked to be the 2nd team’s center nearly as much.

    I think at this point it’s clear that Amar’e and Melo need a really good defender in the frontcourt to make up for their defensive issues. Tyson is ideal, but I think we could probably get away with Amar’e at he 5 a little bit if he were accompanied by K-Mart or someone like Marion at the 4 with Melo at the 3. It was the Amar’e/Melo/Novak frontcourts that made me want to claw my eyes out.

  11. jon abbey

    Brian Cronin:
    Yes, I think we all mostly agree that the Knicks would have a stronger defense if they played a more traditional lineup (namely, Chandler as not the only big and Shumpert at the 2), but the issue is whether Woody thinks that. He’s given no indication that he feels that way, has he? When he had a healthy STAT last year, he played him at the 5. I don’t see him changing that any time soon.

    exactly, this is the same thing I said to ruru every month or two last season when he would make similar posts. it doesn’t matter how good Melo is at the 3 if Woodson won’t play him there.

  12. Hubert

    Frank:
    Not that I have any standing to criticize Woody on this, but I really really hate all the constant doubling in the post. It’s like a college defensive strategy.

    We can talk about all the lineup changes we want. But nothing would improve our defense more than abandoning this asinine philosophy.

    The league has gotten to a point where it’s widely recognized that straight up post plays are among the least efficient plays in basketball, while three point shooting is the most valuable shot in the game.

    So Woodson develops a defensive strategy that prevents other teams from shooting out of the post and gives up open three’s instead. It is so stupid it’s amazing.

    I would stake my life that we would have beaten Indiana without the constant doubling in the post that let DJ Augustin score 16 points on 5/6 shooting in game 1, and encouraged Indiana to shoot nearly 4 more 3 pointers per game than they did in the regular season (23.3 to 19.5).

  13. johnno

    flossy: Exactly–if we had a reliable back-up for Chandler, I doubt Amar’e would have been asked to be the 2nd team’s center nearly as much

    If Camby can stay healthy enough to play 15-18 minutes a game, that would be ideal. However, I think that it’s a pretty safe bet that Camby won’t be able to get out on the court every – or even many – nights. So, it appears that the options, in order of preference would be Dieng, Jerome Jordan or Withey?

    I am much more of an optimist than many on this site, but I think that, if the Knicks can bring back JR, Copeland, Prigioni and K-Mart, the only rotation player that they will have lost would be Kidd. If they can pick up a backup center in the draft (or Jordan) and add a backup point guard in the draft or as a vet FA, they can be really good next year. I think that a big key will be limiting Martin, Amare and Prigioni’s minutes so that they can stay relatively healthy. I realize that the regular season and playoffs are completely different animals but, as I watch tonight’s game, I will be thinking to myself, “The Knicks went 5-1 against these two teams…”

  14. DRed

    jon abbey: exactly, this is the same thing I said to ruru every month or two last season when he would make similar posts. it doesn’t matter how good Melo is at the 3 if Woodson won’t play him there.

    Just like it doesn’t matter how good we are with Stat or Camby on the court if they can’t stay healthy.

  15. flossy

    johnno: If Camby can stay healthy enough to play 15-18 minutes a game, that would be ideal.However, I think that it’s a pretty safe bet that Camby won’t be able to get out on the court every – or even many – nights.So, it appears that the options, in order of preference would be Dieng, Jerome Jordan or Withey?

    I am much more of an optimist than many on this site, but I think that, if the Knicks can bring back JR, Copeland, Prigioni and K-Mart, the only rotation player that they will have lost would be Kidd.If they can pick up a backup center in the draft (or Jordan) and add a backup point guard in the draft or as a vet FA, they can be really good next year.I think that a big key will be limiting Martin, Amare and Prigioni’s minutes so that they can stay relatively healthy.I realize that the regular season and playoffs are completely different animals but, as I watch tonight’s game, I will be thinking to myself, “The Knicks went 5-1 against these two teams…”

    I agree with you, although I think Jerome Jordan is a dud. He’s 26 and has had plenty of opportunity to show he’s an NBA caliber player. He isn’t. I’d love to have a shot at Dieng or Withey, though.

  16. KnickfaninNJ

    jon abbey: exactly, this is the same thing I said to ruru every month or two last season when he would make similar posts. it doesn’t matter how good Melo is at the 3 if Woodson won’t play him there.

    Whenever we have this sort of discussion we always just look at a particular lineup and say something to the effect of this lineup would be better than the starters Woody used. But Woody can’t just worry about making the starting line up better, he needs an effective second team too. If Woody plays Amare with Tyson, then how much worse will the bench get?

  17. Frank

    KnickfaninNJ: Whenever we have this sort of discussion we always just look at a particular lineup and say something to the effect of this lineup would be better than the starters Woody used.But Woody can’t just worry about making the starting line up better, he needs an effective second team too.If Woody plays Amare with Tyson, then how much worse will the bench get?

    Most teams in this league play an 8 or 9 player rotation. For us that would be:
    Tyson
    Amare
    Melo
    Shumpert
    Felton
    ?KMart/Camby
    Novak
    Prigioni
    Copeland
    1st round pick

    we’ve got plenty of guys to play.

    Can imagine a lineup progression like this:
    Start of game until 6 min mark: Tyson/Amare/Melo/Shump/Ray
    6 min mark until 2 min mark: Tyson/Melo/JR/Shump/Ray
    2 min mark until 2nd Q: Camby/Melo/JR/Prigs/Ray

    2nd Q until 6 min mark: Camby/Amare/Cope/JR/Prigs
    6 min mark until half: Tyson/Melo/Cope/Shump/Ray

    And second half in some combination like that depending on how the 1st half goes. With this, Amare is always protected by either Tyson or Camby (or KMart or whoever).

    Tyson plays 32 minutes
    Amare plays ~24 minutes
    Melo plays ~36 min
    Shump plays 32 min
    Felton plays 34-36 min
    Prigioni plays 16-20 min
    Cope plays 20-24 min
    JR plays 24-28 min (the proper amount as opposed to 30-36 min like last year)

    And you can imagine guys like Novak or whoever our 1st round pick is getting spot minutes here or there.

    Point is — Amare can start AND we don’t need to compromise that second unit. Most teams don’t have wholesale subs for the 2nd unit where you would need 10 guys.

  18. KnickfaninNJ

    Frank,

    I like the rotation you propose. Camby gets 16 minutes or so and Amare gets more minutes from last year, which basically replaces Kidd’s minutes and some of JRs. A nice thing is that mostly you have two create-your-own-shot scoring threats on the floor at the same time (JR/Melo, JR/Amare for example). The weakest spot seems to be the last six minutes of the half, where you have Melo and Copeland as the two scorers, so there Felton will have to do a lot of driving and dishing.

  19. EB

    Do we really want JR creating his own shot?!?! He serves as a good shooter and finisher but he’s not quick enough to get to the basket on his own.

    Does anybody else not care too much if we let JR walk? I like him for the low price but with the year he had I’m not sure he deserved that. Great for 1 month at the end there but he played godawful the rest of the year.

  20. Frank

    EB:

    Does anybody else not care too much if we let JR walk? I like him for the low price but with the year he had I’m not sure he deserved that. Great for 1 month at the end there but he played godawful the rest of the year.

    No way in the world we let him straight out walk unless someone blows us out of the water with a big offer sheet. Considering how little roster flexibility we have, we absolutely cannot just let an asset walk out the door. If anything, we sign and trade him for something to a team that doesn’t have the full MLE, and hopefully get some useful return.

  21. KnickfaninNJ

    KnickfaninNJ:
    Frank,

    I like the rotation you propose. Camby gets 16 minutes or so and Amare gets more minutes from last year, which basically replaces Kidd’s minutes and some of JRs. A nice thing is that mostly you have two create-your-own-shot scoring threats on the floor at the same time (JR/Melo, JR/Amare for example).The weakest spot seems to be the last six minutes of thehalf, where you have Melo and Copeland as the two scorers, so there Felton will have to do a lot of driving and dishing.

    I think JRs production suffered when he was the only “scorer” on the floor and everyone passed the ball to him, especially when the shot clock was running out. Then he had a hard time creating. But that’s not his fault. But when he was on the floor with Melo, it was a different story and his rebounding and defense were very reasonable. I thnik it’s going to be hard to replace him considering the Knicks cap situation and I value him as part of team.

  22. Brian Cronin

    No way in the world we let him straight out walk unless someone blows us out of the water with a big offer sheet. Considering how little roster flexibility we have, we absolutely cannot just let an asset walk out the door.

    Absolutely agree. When you have no roster flexibility, you simply cannot just lose assets for nothing.

  23. Hubert

    If we had ANY assets, and there was a team that actually wanted to pay JR more than we could afford to, we could use JR in a sign and trade to pick up Marion and the #13 pick.

    Mavs would send Marion & the #13 to pick to 3rd team, Knicks sign & trade JR to 3rd team, give them $3 million for their trouble.

    Only problem is what does Dallas get out of that? They probably want future draft picks and we don’t have any.

    But that only underscores that you cannot let JR walk for nothing.

  24. Frank

    flossy:
    We are too far over the luxury tax line to be able to do sign and trade deals.

    We can’t receive a player in S&T if doing so would land us over the apron, but I believe we can send out a player like JR.

    It’s never happening since I’m sure there was some understanding with JR beforehand. On top of that, I’m not sure there are many better values out there than a 27 year old JR Smith smack in the middle of his prime at a ~$5MM number. Given our cap situation, there’s no point in dumping him for cap flexibility etc., so this has to be a talent for talent (or potential talent) trade. If you can find a team to give up good players on their rookie contracts or a 1st rounder for him, sure, but otherwise most guys of JR’s talent/brain combination still go for more than $5MM/year, no?

  25. Brian Cronin

    Oh yeah, JR at $5 million is still a good value when he is not keeping you from signing someone else for that same $5 million (which he isn’t). It might not be a good value on the open market, which is why the Knicks don’t have to worry about him signing any big offer sheets, which was a worry before the playoffs began. “Luckily,” JR played so poorly that it is no longer a threat.

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