Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Two Games Over .500?

Stephon Marbury was the point guard with Allan Houston at the 2. Kurt Thomas and Tim Thomas were the forwards and Nazr Mohammed was in the middle.

The bench players were Mike Sweetney, Anfernee Hardaway, Jerome Williams, Trevor Ariza and Moochie Norris

That was the Knicks team on January 1st, 2005, when a Knick three-game winning streak came to an end with a loss to the New Jersey Nets, 93-87. The Knicks ended the night at 16-14, the last time they were two games over .500 until last night.

Jon Abbey wrote in the comments something that I think is fairly notable – the Knicks do seem to rise and fall with Jamal Crawford’s offensive contributions. You can more or less figure Zach Randolph for his 18 and 11 every night (the variable there is will it take Zach 20 shots or 30 to get his 18?) and the other members of the team are fairly predictable, too, but Crawford is a complete crap shoot out there, and in the Knicks’ losses, crap shooting is a good description of Crawford, as well.

Last night, Crawford came through with a sparkling 32 points on 10-17 shooting (5-7 from three point land).

The most impressive part of the game for me, though, was that the defense looked pretty good at times. Granted, you have to take into consideration that Deron Williams is the type of player who normally eats the Knicks alive, so his absence certainly helped matters, but still, this Jazz team is no joke, Williams or Williams-less, and the Knicks played strong defense on them in the third quarter coming back from a half-time deficit.

And in the fourth quarter, well, they held on, didn’t they?

One cool stat I heard was that the Jazz had more wins than the three other teams the Knicks have defeated combined, so the Knicks have to feel good right now, and the Spurs have decided to join the Jazz by sending the Knicks a Spurs team missing Tony Parker (on top of the already missing Manu), so perhaps we can re-visit the game of December 29, 2004 on Tuesday night (a game where Steph lit up his old team, the T-Wolves, to the tune of 32 points on 12-19 shooting, with 7 board and 11 assists).

NOTE: To those of you who were asking for game threads, one of us will have a game thread up on Tuesday night before the Spurs game.

60 comments on “Two Games Over .500?

  1. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Something tells me this is going to be one of those 35 win seasons where a team gets a mid-1st rounder (used to select a player with “lots of upside” who sits on the bench instead of working the NBDL) and misses the playoffs by 4 games.

    The only thing more horrifying than a 15 win season is the thought of this happening.

  2. ess-dog

    Does anyone else think we should trade for Rodriguez in Portland? I think he could really run this offense in the future… he’s fast! Although, we do have a history of getting screwed over by Portland…

  3. TDM

    A good test will be the back to back on the road Tuesday and Wednesday against San Antonio and Memphis – two games that the Knicks should win. It’ll be interesting to see if they can keep up their intensity on the second half of the road trip – something they were abysmal at in recent seasons.

  4. retropkid

    4 – 2 ….maybe that will quiet the fans who yell “We want Steph..”

    yes, we want Steph all right….we want him gone, long gone…take the money and run…

    The Knicks schedule seemed to favor them early, and gets tougher later…they don’t win near 40 imho, but may creep in around low 30s…still enough to screw up our ability to get a low pick… I wouldn’t mind that, though, if they continue to show energy, passion, Defense and good decision-making….W’s and L’s almost incidental in the longer term Plan…

    Agree with Jon Abbey on Crawford….which is why we likely will lose a lot of games —- because he is horrid way more often than he is spectacular.

    Ideally he would be used as a Cazzie Russell type guy off the bench, or Microwave…remember them?? Way too erratic to be your go-to shooting forward….but would be a nice spark as the first or second guy off the bench…

  5. Ephus

    The key to yesterday’s game was when Z-Bo (IIRC) drew Boozer’s fourth foul early in the third quarter. Boozer was shocked that he got called for an offensive foul, but it was pretty clear cut that he just ran through the defender.

    Also, the Knicks could not handle Brewer in the first quarter (I think he had nine points), but the perimeter defense greatly improved in the second half. I think this also had to do with Boozer sitting, since there was no need for perimeter defenders to scrape down on Boozer.

  6. DS

    Who’s with me??

    If the Knicks go 3-0 and improve to 7 – 2 this week against Memphis, the Thunder and a 1-4 Spurs team(w/o Parker and Manu), I will ignore common sense, take the leap of faith, and get my hopes up for this season.

  7. DS

    I should specify that by getting my hopes up I meant I would like our chances to compete for the 8th playoff spot and get swept by Boston in the first round.

  8. Ephus

    I already have my hopes up. By that, I mean that I excited again to go to MSG. I have already brought my five year old daughter to two games this year, and hope to go to many more. BTW, major credit to the Knicks for scheduling more Sunday afternoon and early evening games this year.

    If the Knicks can play energetic basketball for 75 games this year (there will always be some nights you just don’t show up), I will be happy, even if they end up winning only 30 games this season.

  9. daaarn

    I admit I’m excited right now, but I’m still wholly expecting a multi-game losing streak to come up, as well as a a couples stretchs of 2 wins in 10 games. It’s only a matter of time IMO, but I’ll enjoy this while it lasts.

  10. nj hoop

    There will definitely be bumps in the road, as D’Antoni says. We could easily lose to SA and Memphis, don’t forget, they see US as teams they’re supposed to beat (even w/o Duncan and Parker) I just hope they can keep up the energy and spirit and have a season the fans can enjoy, which is what they’ve done so far.

  11. Z-man

    Curiously, it was last November 26 that the Knicks beat the Jazz in an electric MSG performance, capped off by an Eddy Curry monster block of a Deron Williams drive to seal the game. Even though that win only brought us to 4-9, it gave us 2 in a row and a solid win against a good team.

    The next game was the Boston national TV debacle. End of season.

    I can’t imagine having a more favorable schedule than we have had thus far this season. Nice for building karma, but I’m not ready to start betting the over on wins yet. Teams will adjust to their style now that the word is out that they have to be taken seriously. Let’s see how they adjust back, especially when the better teams come around.

    Has anyone noticed OJ Mayo’s last couple of games?

    The main thing is that they are easier on the eyes and the circus has seemingly left town.

  12. nj hoop

    Zman, I wouldn’t call our schedule unbelievably favorable – 4 home games, 2 road games, 2 games against definite high caliber playoff teams (Jazz, Sixers) and I don’t think Miami and Milwaukee are as bad as people think. Sure, a Western trip would bring us down to earth, but what eastern team other than the Celtics goes out there and does well? Don’t forget, under Isaiah we used to lose to teams like the Bobcats at home, usually in humiliating fashion, so let’s enjoy the Knicks progress thus far.

  13. caleb

    The schedule isn’t THAT weak so far — though weaker than average – but we’ve been significantly outscored by the other team. We have been clearly below average, and the over-.500 record is luck. Soon to be corrected.

    San Antonio without Duncan, Ginobili or Parker, though… close to the worst team in the league. We should win. Memphis. I predict we lose. Gasol has been beastly.

  14. caleb

    Comparing this year’s team to last year’s, it does seem the biggest difference is Duhon at the point, instead of Nate, Mardy & Jamal… he’s an average PG at best, but having an above average defender is a huge difference… and having a guy who doesn’t need any shots makes the offense more efficient.

    We’re also getting more production at the 3 — last year Q was probably the worst player in the league and he got starter’s minutes.

    Otherwise, it’s a wash. Curry’s minutes have been spread team-wide, to equally bad players (the team as a whole is bad). Randolph and Crawford are about the same as last year. Lee look a little worse, Nate a little better…

    We do have good coaching now. Not that the biggest genius on earth could turn these losers into a good team (without serious personnal changes and/or growth of young players) but he is maximizing the potential. Respectable D, fewer long stretches of disgusting basketball.

  15. Ben Bow

    BOO YEAH. i loved that win. we can easily beat the spurs without their big 3. then easy games of memphis and OKC. knicks at 7-2 will be epic.

  16. Thomas B.

    Comparing this year’s team to last year’s, it does seem the biggest difference is Duhon at the point, instead of Nate, Mardy & Jamal… he’s an average PG at best, but having an above average defender is a huge difference… and having a guy who doesn’t need any shots makes the offense more efficient.
    We’re also getting more production at the 3 — last year Q was probably the worst player in the league and he got starter’s minutes.

    Caleb,

    I was thinking about this very subject today. I would argue that the big difference is the banishment of Curry and the dump it in style of play. I agree Duhon’s play has been solid-a suprise to me. Q has been ok, but he does not need to be great, he just needs to not be the worst starter in the NBA.

    Last year this team spent alot of time trying to figure out how to get Randolph and Curry to mesh. They never figured that out. Coach Thomas’ stubborn insistance that the Knicks be a “power” team served to grind the offensive flow the a halt. The only trick the Knicks had in their bag was offense, so with that gone you get a 23 win season. Curry was a turnover waiting to happen. He forced Zach out of the paint and relegated him to trying to create a shot 22 feet from the basket. We all know how that turned out.

    http://basketbawful.blogspot.com/2008/02/zach-randolph-and-worst-possession-i.html

    Okay, Curry wasnt on the floor for that one, but the mold was already cast by then.

    We all knew Curry was a 0 on defense, but when he also became a 0 on offense, we had no chance.

    The second big difference is D’antoni. I have wanted to talk about this for a while, but his management of the players has been the polar opposite of what Thomas did. Coach D is active on the sidelines, he commands energy and effort where Thomas only asked for it. I really like what Coach D has done with Nate Robinson.

    Coach knows what he has in Nate and he has worked with him to get the best out of him. Mike K. wrote about Nate’ habit of foolishly trying to block shots. Coach D sees that nate simply wants to make an impact, so rather than telling him “stop trying to block shots,” Caoch tells him to go out and “get three steals a night.” The result? N8 is amoung the lead leaders in steals with 3.18 per game (I think). That is an example of putting a person in the place they need to be in order to be successful. That is waht great leaders do. Coach also knows that N8 likes to jaw with the other team and the refs. Caoch steps in by arguing with the ref for him and by distracting him from the other team with instructions. N8 has played very well as a result.

    jon abbey and I disagreed on the impact of the coach, he says the coach’s influence is about 5% (jon sees this a players league). I argue that the coach’s impact is closer to 20%. There is some merit to jon’s position especially when you ahve a team of superstars. With an All-Star line up the coach becomes-if I may borrow a line of Martin Prince’s in the Simpsons episode “Saturdays of Thunder”, “essentially ballast.” But when you have a team like the Knicks, the coach makes a world of difference.

    Coach D has this team ready to play. He talks in the huddle. He works the sidelines. It is joy to see/hear him exciting his guys and getting them to play through rough patches. No doubt the Knicks of the past 3 years would have lost that game in Washington after losing the lead late. The knicks would have folded under the oncoming pressure that Utah brought to bear on Sunday. But this team fought back in each game and held on to the win. It is essentially the same cast, but the director is giving great instructions.

    I would Duhon’s good assist to turnover ratio, and management of the offense is the third reason I feel good about the year so far.

  17. Z-man

    Zman, I wouldn’t call our schedule unbelievably favorable – 4 home games, 2 road games, 2 games against definite high caliber playoff teams (Jazz, Sixers) and I don’t think Miami and Milwaukee are as bad as people think. Sure, a Western trip would bring us down to earth, but what eastern team other than the Celtics goes out there and does well? Don’t forget, under Isaiah we used to lose to teams like the Bobcats at home, usually in humiliating fashion, so let’s enjoy the Knicks progress thus far.

    I’ll take the glass half empty appoach in that it hasn’t been the teams we played, but when we played them. Miami was opening day at home and Beasley’s debut (and Chalmers, who looks good)coming off a pitiful year; Wade had a rare off-night. Sixers murdered us. Bucks beat us without Redd in 4th quarter. Charlotte stinks. Washington was without their best player. Utah was due for a loss and was on the road without their star PG. Spurs are missing Parker and Ginobili. Memphis is young and not very good right now, probably not a playoff team, and we have them at home. Ditto for OKC.

    This is not to rain on the parade, because we are undoubtably better than last year and way more fun to watch. I agree we will continue to win more and lose better than last year. Gallo, Jefferies and maybe even Eddy are waiting in the wings. Still, I cant personally remember being set up for success during the first 9 games better than we have been this year.

    Starting with the Dallas game on next Monday, we have 21 games left in 2008, bringing us to the 30-game mark. This will include 3 back-to-backs, a west coast trip and games against many top teams. We’ll know a lot more by then, perhaps even as early as the end of November. One thing is for sure, D’Antoni’s energy is a breath of fresh air. Did you see his reaction when that ball went through Chandler’s legs?

  18. BigBlueAL

    The difference between this team and the past few is simple, its Coach D’Antoni.

    Do not underestimate the impact of a Head Coach in the NBA….

  19. Caleb

    I think D’Antoni is as good a coach as they come, but I am closer to Jon on my estimate of the impact.

    Much as I hated the stand-around offense…

    Whatever or whoever is responsible, the Knicks’ improvement so far is all on defense. Our offensive efficiency has barely budged — 104.7 last year; 104.4 this year — but the defensive efficiency has gone from 111.9 to 106.9 (#s from basketball reference).

    I would say the biggest reason is Duhon, but it’s also true that a lot of Curry’s minutes have gone (indirectly) to Chandler, which is obviously a big defensive improvement. (Think of it as a poor-man’s version of Shaq v. Marion).

    Aside from those two changes, Q going from god-awful to just bad, and Chandler playing better than he did last year in the backup minutes, have improved our production at the 3, considerably.

    No one is really playing over their head. If David Lee gets back to his old level, and Jeffries contributes anything, the team will be even better. But… like I said before, right now they’re playing like a 30 to 32-win team; if they get better they might hit the high 30s. Barring a big trade (or shocking contribution from Gallinari) it’s very, very hard to see them cracking .500.

    But that’s ok – they’re a lot more fun to watch, and brighter days are ahead.

  20. Caleb

    p.s. we’re pbviously getting more offense at the 3… as much or more at the 2 & 4… no less at the 1 (Nate isn’t playing a whole lot more than last year)… it seems obvious that not playing Curry has hurt the offense, not helped it.

    Of course this is more than offset by how much it helps the defense…

  21. mase

    enjoy it while it lasts…
    it does seem like we have a lot of talent all of a sudden, thx to d’antoni and duhon.

  22. Ben R

    Looking closer at our offensive production most of our team is the same or alot more efficient than last year. Nate, Jamal, and Q have improved alot and Randolph is the same. Duhon is new but overall he is no worse than the people he replaced but Lee and Chandler (who took Curry’s minutes) have been much much worse. It is really just the two of them holding our offense back.

    Lee and Chandler this year:
    58.1 minutes per game – 21.0 shots per game – 23.2 pts per game – 48.2% TS%

    Lee and Curry last year:
    55.0 minutes per game – 16.8 shots per game – 24.0 pts per game – 59.1% TS%

    I fully expect Lee to return to form and Jamal and Q to come back to Earth a little, but unless Chandler improves alot we will not be any better offensively than last year.

    On the other hand if Chandler can improve we should see our offense improve with him.

  23. jon abbey

    hey, Caleb, weren’t you the one so down on OJ Mayo pre-draft? he was awesome tonight, 19 points and 2 assists in the fourth quarter alone (33 and 5 for the game) to almost singlehandedly pull the game out against the Suns, second straight game over 30.

  24. Ted Nelson

    Curry was effectively the Knicks’ 3rd bigman last season. I think too much weight gets put on he and Curry not meshing because people for some reason actually expected them to play well together… and play well period.

    Good points from Caleb and Ben R about defense/offense.

    Jon: Mayo has been impressive, but I don’t think anyone questioned his ability to score points. He’s likely to be a max-salary guy soon enough, so it’s a matter of whether he can score efficiently and bring anything else to the table…
    Interesting that you would say that Mayo almost single-handedly beat the Suns when the Grizz had as many guys in double figures as the Suns and the 2nd-5th Grizz scorers outscored the 2nd-5th Suns scorers (56 to 53). I guess Leandrinho DID single-handedly lead the Suns to a victory in half the minutes and on 57% of the FGAs.

  25. Thomas B.

    I think D’Antoni is as good a coach as they come, but I am closer to Jon on my estimate of the impact.
    Much as I hated the stand-around offense…
    Whatever or whoever is responsible, the Knicks’ improvement so far is all on defense. Our offensive efficiency has barely budged — 104.7 last year; 104.4 this year — but the defensive efficiency has gone from 111.9 to 106.9 (#s from basketball reference).
    I would say the biggest reason is Duhon, but it’s also true that a lot of Curry’s minutes have gone (indirectly) to Chandler, which is obviously a big defensive improvement. (Think of it as a poor-man’s version of Shaq v. Marion).

    All the things you like about the season so far are attributed to the coach. It is the coach who teaches the players toplay team defense. He controls who plays, or does not. He motivates. If you put Thomas back as coach and played the same players the same minutes, I think the record is 1-5, at best.

    I get the ofensive efficiency numbers, I do. But have you run them for last season with Curry in the lineup and without him. Is there a discernable difference?

    N8 should get some credit. His D has been better too with the forced turnovers he creates. Chandler blocks more shots than Curry. Chandler gets that time because Curry is gone, that is the coach.

  26. Z-man

    Mayo has been impressive, but I don’t think anyone questioned his ability to score points. He’s likely to be a max-salary guy soon enough, so it’s a matter of whether he can score efficiently and bring anything else to the table…Interesting that you would say that Mayo almost single-handedly beat the Suns when the Grizz had as many guys in double figures as the Suns and the 2nd-5th Grizz scorers outscored the 2nd-5th Suns scorers (56 to 53). I guess Leandrinho DID single-handedly lead the Suns to a victory in half the minutes and on 57% of the FGAs.

    Ted,
    This is a very jaded view. Mayo has played 8 NBA games at barely age 21. He has improved every game, and in the last 4 games has put up superstar numbers to all but the most cynical observers. He has been a lot more than “impressive.”

  27. KJG

    I will say this…

    Notice all of the drives to the basket that Duhon makes and compare that with what Steph used to do. How many wasted, bad, almost impossible layups did Steph throw up these past years? A TON!!! If Steph drove the lane, he ALWAYS shot, no matter what, thinking he’d always get the foul…Watch what Duhon does…he drives, if he has a layup, he takes it, if he doesn’t, he continues through or at the very least, draws defenders for the kickout… THE BASICS OF BASKETBALL for a PG…see Steve Nash on that one…Duhon is a huge, if not the biggest reason the team has been better than last year. He has zero glamour but loads of bball IQ and he’s a true team player. He sets the tone playing D on the opposing teams PG setting up the offense.

    Good riddance Starbury… If he’s going to be used, it should be on the wing as a small slashing scorer…and max him out at 15 minutes a game…

    Top reasons, for better team thus far;
    1) Duhon
    2) A Fat “Lazy” Curry being out of the way of A Fat “NOT Lazy” Randolph
    3) D’Antoni

  28. jon abbey

    Interesting that you would say that Mayo almost single-handedly beat the Suns when the Grizz had as many guys in double figures as the Suns and the 2nd-5th Grizz scorers outscored the 2nd-5th Suns scorers (56 to 53). I guess Leandrinho DID single-handedly lead the Suns to a victory in half the minutes and on 57% of the FGAs.

    actually what I said was that Mayo almost singlehandedly pulled it out in the fourth quarter, which he did. looking at the box score might not help you analyze that statement, although looking at the play by play might.

  29. foliveri

    Reports are coming out that Lee has a bone spur in his ankle. I was wondering when we might hear something was wrong with him. His explosiveness is all but gone and, at this point in his career, he’s all about explosiveness. No wonder Chandler has eclipsed him.
    Unfortunately I am reading that the spur is too small for surgery, meaning Lee will simply have to play through the pain, something he is struggling to do so far.

    Duhon is a significant reason for the Knicks winning lately.
    I’m still very cautious about being so dependent on Crawford. He’s pretty deep in his career. Not many players are able to change their stripes this far along. He has always been streaky.

    As it stands right now, Zach is the offensive foundation of this team. Night in and out, he’s getting boards and baskets. He’s getting 19.8 ppg (44 percent) and 11 rpg. He’s getting 1.3 spg.
    His passing just sucks, though, and that is a liability in any offense, especially this one.

    The front line will get better with Jeffries’ return.
    Then you can, from time to time, go with a big squad:
    Jeffries at center
    Randolph at PF
    Lee at SF
    Chandler at SG
    Duhon at point.

    That team can rebound, run, has some range, and even has some interior and perimeter defense.
    Chandler could be a shutdown defender at SG and Duhon is a very solid defender. Jeffries will provide some shot blocking in the paint.
    Lee and Zach will be liabilities on defense.

    And then their bench allows them radically and rapidly to change their look, with Crawford and Robinson cycling through, and Q giving a player a blow from time to time.
    But I see Q losing significant minutes with the return of Jeffries.

    I realize Jeffries is a wild card.

    Pardon my musings.

  30. Ted Nelson
    Mayo has been impressive, but I don’t think anyone questioned his ability to score points. He’s likely to be a max-salary guy soon enough, so it’s a matter of whether he can score efficiently and bring anything else to the table…Interesting that you would say that Mayo almost single-handedly beat the Suns when the Grizz had as many guys in double figures as the Suns and the 2nd-5th Grizz scorers outscored the 2nd-5th Suns scorers (56 to 53). I guess Leandrinho DID single-handedly lead the Suns to a victory in half the minutes and on 57% of the FGAs.

    Ted,This is a very jaded view. Mayo has played 8 NBA games at barely age 21. He has improved every game, and in the last 4 games has put up superstar numbers to all but the most cynical observers. He has been a lot more than “impressive.”

    Wow, didn’t mean to offend you…

    As I said, he’s been impressive. Read into that what you will. Here are his numbers:

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/m/mayooj01.html

    It’s a small sample size, for example, do we really expect Jamal to keep up his current .598 TS% or Lee not to improve on his .497 TS%? Maybe Mayo just keeps getting better from here or maybe he has a couple 2-15 nights, a 10 game funk later in the season and his numbers look a lot worse. I have absolutely no idea and unfortunately cannot see the future. I will say that he’s taking 81% jumpers and doesn’t get to the line much, so if they stop falling he’s going to be in trouble. He does seem like he could legitimately be one of the best jump shooters in the NBA, though.

    You also seem to be completely overlooking how 1 dimensional he is offensively. This is why I went out of my way to say that everyone knew he could put points on the board. Everyone also knew he was as NBA ready as any prospect in the draft. I’m impressed with how well he’s played, but I’m not completely blown away: this is more or less what I expected him to be doing at some point, although maybe not right away. Again, in 74 games we’ll see if he’s kept it up. We’ll see if he can ever start playing team basketball on the offensive side, which some other scoring guards who came into the league and lit it up never did.

    The Grizzlies are playing MUCH better defense than offense (4th in NBA vs. 28th) and I’d assume Mayo has a lot to do with their defensive play (he’s playing 39 mpg, after all, but they’re actually significantly better defensively with him on the bench… rather small sample size: 18% of 8 games = 69.12 min). His defensive prowess was also something that was well documented coming out of college. I don’t know what Jon Abbey was referring to, but his play thus far has fit the scouting reports to a T: high usage, strong outside shot, strong defender, far more suited to play off-guard, over dribbles… http://www.nbadraft.net/admincp/profiles/ojmayo.html

    I really think you should read my post again before insulting me, because you seem to have read a lot into it that wasn’t there and completely missed what was there.

  31. Ted Nelson

    No, here is exactly what you said:

    hey, Caleb, weren’t you the one so down on OJ Mayo pre-draft? he was awesome tonight, 19 points and 2 assists in the fourth quarter alone (33 and 5 for the game) to almost singlehandedly pull the game out against the Suns, second straight game over 30.

  32. caleb

    Thomas B. makes a good point – if the team is better because Duhon is playing and Curry is not, well, it’s only fair to give credit to D’Antoni for making those decisions.

    I will say that 85% of a coach’s impact (to pull a number out of the air) is about who gets PT. Schemes, motivation, teaching — way less important. For this reason, you get a big improvement going from an awful coach to a pretty good one. The difference between playing your good players, and your bad ones, is pretty big. But the curve flattens out — it’s a lot smaller difference going from a pretty good coach to a great one. Once the best players are on the floor, there’s only so much even a great coach can do to impact their success.

    needless to say, I disagree with your thought on how it would play out if PT had been spread around this way, under Isiah.

    re: Curry, I’m not convinced that he’s an overall negative on OFFENSE, but there is some evidence… in terms of raw plus-minus, Knicks offense was worse with Curry on floor than without him, each of last two years. Defense, of course, was MUCH worse. Last year his overall raw +/- was a staggering -11.6 (82 games)

    re: Mayo, my draft comments do look bad. Now, one reason I was (relatively) down on him, is that he’s 1-2 years older than the other top-flight players in the draft. So even if they’re equal, long-term, you’d expect Mayo to be significantly better this year.

    But, so far… he’s beaten expectations. Even with 2 awful games to start the season, he’s scoring a lot, and efficiently: 55+ TS%. We knew he would defend well, and he does. THe biggest surprise to me — he was an awful rebounder in college, which suggests his “athleticism” was overrated, but so far in the NBA, he’s pulling down 5 a game from the guard spot. If he keeps that up and also keeps shooting 44% on 3s, he’ll be an All-Star.

    I’ll need to see more than 6 games before forming a strong opinion.

    Also – Mayo will have to turn out a LOT better than Mike Miller, to make it worth giving away Kevin Love. Miller is good, so that’s a tall hill to climb.

  33. Frank O.

    It’s difficult to assess fully Duhon’s affect on this team.

    He runs the offense, makes sound decisions with the ball and has the ability to hit his shots.
    He also plays strong defense. As noted in an earlier post, he’s one of the first Knicks guards in years who works over or through picks. That’s huge. It preserve defensive continuity.

    As a result, the Knicks will get better on both sides of the ball, more noticeably on defense.

    His play sets the tone. The guy is tireless.

  34. njhoop

    If we win our next 2, you think Dolan should give D’Antoni a contract extension? Remember last time he did that?

    Regarding Duhon, we should not get too carried away. He’s an average offensive and above average defensive PG, but that’s all we need for this team – keep the TO’s down, hit an occasional shot, play solid D.

    Re: Zach – I would think we could get something decent right now for him from a contender looking for a low post presence. As opposed to preseason, when the Clips wanted us to give them a draft pick to take him off of our hands. Good non-move, Donnie!

  35. justin

    why in theeee hell would we trade zach randolph now..let teams salivate over his play til february. its like marinating a steak…you cant just dip the sucker in once, you gotta soak that bitch. let randolph put up his numbers and help the knicks til february, then lets see the offers he can bring in

  36. Ted Nelson

    Justin,

    I tend to agree that now is not the time to dump Randolph: rumors about him being a cancer would pick back up if the Knicks tried to dump him coming off a couple good games with the team at 4-2. However, whether or not teams are salivating over him will depend on whether he plays the way he has the last couple games or the first few. For his career he’s closer to the first few… not a good thing for his trade value.

  37. Z-man

    “I really think you should read my post again before insulting me, because you seem to have read a lot into it that wasn’t there and completely missed what was there.”

    Wow, I didn’t realize I struck such a nerve. I read the comment again and don’t see the insulting part, other than expressing my opinion that your assessment of Mayo’s performance thus far this year understates how well he has played. I think the 1-dimensional comments you made are an example of that. On a 4-game road trip, he filled up various parts of the stat sheet on different nights. Based on the quotes and comments below, I feel that you are underestimating the impact he has had thus far, and I think it is scary how good he could turn out to be, given his athleticism, shooting range, and poise, and considering how many minutes he is playing (wasn’t last night the tail end of a back-to-back?).

    G O.J. Mayo concluded one of the best individual road trips by a Grizzlies player in the history of the franchise. In the four-game swing at Sacramento, Golden State, Denver and Phoenix, Mayo averaged 28 points, shot 62.2 percent from the field, 51.9 percent from 3-point range and 84.2 percent from the free-throw line.

    “He’s learning about NBA defense, and he’s learning about the fact that he’s going to go against a pretty good scorer most nights,” coach Marc Iavaroni said of Mayo. “He might be outsized some nights, but he’s not short on fight and wanting to learn every night. He goes through periods where he gets pretty hot and you wonder if he’s ever going to be stopped.” Mayo is leading all NBA rookies in scoring

    O.J. Mayo’s 33 points vs. the Suns, combined with his 31 on Sunday at Denver, make him the first rookie since LeBron James to score at least 30 points in consecutive games.
    (Terry Porter On O.J. Mayo) “We talked about him and Gay, we know that both of those guys are very explosive scorers. They can score just about anyway you need them to score. He was very explosive, put the ball on the floor and created his own shot. I didn’t quite think he shoot as well as he did from three, but he came up tonight and made some big time 3’s for them. He just has great poise, just great poise.”
    (Rudy Gay on O.J.) “O.J. is a phenomenal player and he kept us in the game for a long stretch of the time. He made the right decisions; when he should have passed he passed, and when it’s time to make the basket, he made it.”

  38. njhoop

    Not so sure it’s clear cut that the longer we wait to deal Zach, the better the deal. Who knows what he’ll do over the next few months; I hope he’s a productive 20-10 guy, but he’s playing about as well right now as he ever will.

    Regarding Mayo, he’s been real impressive so far, but let’s check in on him again after teams have scouted him, seen him twice, etc. If he’s truly doing it all from the outside as has been reported, that’s a simple adjustment for teams to make.

  39. Ben R

    The fact that OJ Mayo is such a good defender and will only improve in that aspect means that even if his efficiency drops to merely average, which it probably will since he does not get to the line enough, he will still be a very valuable player. Think a slightly less streaky Crawford, with much much better defense.

    I think with his ability to hit the three and his defense he will at the very least be a very good starter, if he can figure out how to get to the line more he could easily be an all-star for years to come.

    I was high on Mayo before the draft and even more so now. I liked him before the draft because of his defense, all he had to do was be average on offense and he would be valuable, the fact that he is doing so well on offense makes him potentially a cornerstone of the Grizzles franchise.

  40. Z-man

    I would expect that a guy with a great jumper, a 41 inch vertical leap (2nd in draft to PEJ), PG skills and a killer instinct is going to quickly figure out how to get to the line. By all accounts, nobody outworks him. He did have 6 fts in each of last 2 games and went 11 for 12.

    Guess we’ll all get a close-up look tomorrow.

  41. Isiah Watch

    Marbuy is done after this year

    Jeffries
    Q Rich
    Randolph

    They are all not part of the long term equation. They are going to be played and since they have 0 value right now with playing time and this offense we are taking our fully depreciated assets and seeing if we can build them up a bit to sell high vs selling from the gutter.

    Lee with the injury bug you can tell that he isn’t right. Either that or Larry Brown was right and Lee is a 6th man and looks good against other teams 2nd teams.

  42. DS

    On Z-Bo:

    The media and people who post on this site have suggested that the Knicks can “showcase” Zach to make him more inticing to other teams and enabling them to trade him. Could this actually work? I have my doubts.

    Imagine the best case scenario actually occurs and the Knicks win 43 games this year, make the playoffs, D’Antoni wins coach of the year, the media has nice things to say about the team again, and Z-Bo averages 20 and 10. Will a responsible GM who would have laughed at the idea of trading for Randolph in the summer of ’08 change his mind and take on the remainder of Zach’s contract in ’09 (even though it now has less years remaining)? It seems like wishful thinking on our parts as Knicks fans…

  43. Italian Stallion

    I just got home from the hospital. I had major neurosurgery on 11/6 (I’m not kidding) for an acoustic neuroma. I’ll be very inactive here for 4-5 weeks during recovery, but if someone could give me some sort of update on all the news (who’s playing poorly/well, Gallinari’s back (season over?) etc…. I would really apprectiate it. I may be able to muster enough strength to check in once a day and will just look for my italian stallion name in posts or new threads. I owe you all a big one if you can find the time for me. I apologize for any attitude issues that may have soured people on me in the past.

  44. Ted Nelson

    Z-Man,

    Listen, Mayo’s been good. As I said, I’m impressed. I still stand behind my statement that he’s been one dimensional on offense. He’s at an assist-rate of 12.3 and 2.2 ast per 36. He’s an off-guard so it’s not even that big a deal. If he wants to go from good to great, though, I think he’s got to become a playmaker and get to the hoop/line.

  45. Thomas B.

    I just got home from the hospital. I had major neurosurgery on 11/6 (I’m not kidding) for an acoustic neuroma. I’ll be very inactive here for 4-5 weeks during recovery, but if someone could give me some sort of update on all the news (who’s playing poorly/well, Gallinari’s back (season over?) etc…. I would really apprectiate it. I may be able to muster enough strength to check in once a day and will just look for my italian stallion name in posts or new threads. I owe you all a big one if you can find the time for me. I apologize for any attitude issues that may have soured people on me in the past.

    Whoa. Hey get well soon and all the best.

    Neuro-surgery huh? Well that explains some of your past posts. I’m kidding, really. Get well. we hope to have you back at full strength soon.

  46. Z-man

    Z-man, are you OJ Mayo’s agent?

    Ok, you outed me…working on gigs with Tropicana and Hellman’s, don’t need no Knickerbloggers spreading it around that my franchise can’t take it to no rack.

  47. cwod

    BTW, I don’t know who David Thorpe is (I like his writing, just don’t know his background), but he has OJ at #5 on his rookie rankings:
    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/rookies/rankings

    Thorpe runs a basketball academy in Florida. He has done some work with a number of NBA players, including Haslem, Tyrus Thomas, and Deng. He also has a strong disdain for Patrick Ewing (as a person, not as a player), the origin of which I am not entirely sure. He is a big Seinfeld fan and is loved/hated for his terse, often one-word answers during his ESPN.com chats.

  48. TImmy G

    Brian,
    Forget 2 games over 500.
    Look at the winning percentage compared to the Allen Houston team!

    Ya I totally agree.

  49. TimmyG

    I think the Knicks will have about 33-39 wins this season. Probably will get screwed in a midseason trade this year though! Stephon Marbury wil be gone by the end of the year, most likely by the All -Star break.

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