Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Two Weekend Tidbits

The Knicks dropped two road games this weekend. The first against a superior Spurs team that the Knicks beat just a few weeks ago. The second against another Western leader Oklahoma. Unfortunately the pair meant New York has now lost six in a row. If they don’t beat the Wizards tonight, the streak could easily extend to 8 or 9 with the Miami Heat and Hawks on the road coming up.

However there are two small things from this weekend that I do want to talk about today. The first was a Mark Jackson comment during the Knicks-Spurs game. The announcers were talking about New York’s defense and said that it had improved from the year prior. One of them casually mentioned that part of D’Antoni’s teams giving up so many points per game was partially a function of the fast pace the team runs. To wit, Mark Jackson replied “Would you guys please come back to me? [The Knicks] give up 106 plus points per night. It’s not because of the pace, it’s because they’re not a good defensive team. And please don’t tell me it’s acceptable.”

Image by jjani/Flickr Creative Commons
Mark Jackson's pondering the relationship between defense and pace.

The Knick defense is ranked 23rd, which isn’t great. However it’s better than their ranking of 27th when using points per game. The difference between the two is no doubt attributable to pace. Saying the opposite is like saying Roy Halladay was a bad pitcher for allowing a league leading 231 hits last year, without accounting for his 250.2 innings pitching and ignoring his 2.44 ERA.

Back when Donnie Walsh became the Knicks President, one of the first things he needed to do was hire a head coach. It was rumored that Mark Jackson was the top candidate. However Walsh ended up going with D’Antoni, which lead to a segment of Knick fans critical of D’Antoni’s shortcomings and speculating what the team would be like under Jackson’s watch.

Since that time I wondered if Jackson was such a good coaching prospect, then why hasn’t he latched on elsewhere? Perhaps Jackson’s comments shed some light on the situation. Listening to his commentary, I find the former point guard to be more cliche than substance. And his inability to understand the concept of pace or to separate it from defense might reveal why he remains at the scorers table and not at the front of the bench.

Secondly was the four factor results of the Knicks-Thunder game. New York had a decided lead over Oklahoma in shooting and turnovers, but they lost the game due to rebounding and free throws. Statistically teams don’t often loose when they have the shooting edge, especially one so pronounced as 48.3% to 41.5%. When it does happen, it usually means that either the opposing team did exceptionally well in the other areas or the game was close and came down to a last second shot. With regards to the Thunder game, it appears that both occurred. Oklahoma killed New York on the glass with 22 offensive rebounds, at the line with 28 free throws made, and Kevin Durant hit an off balanced three pointer with Gallo on him as the buzzer sounded. Perhaps instead of a second scorer, the Knicks more pressing need is a big man who can rebound and defend. Especially one that D’Antoni will give minutes to.


49 comments on “Two Weekend Tidbits

  1. Owen

    Great post Mike.

    How Mark Jackson can be the lead NBA announcer without having a basic understanding of arithmetic is a puzzle I long ago gave up trying to unravel.

  2. jaylamerique

    Owen: Great post Mike.
    How Mark Jackson can be the lead NBA announcer without having a basic understanding of arithmetic is a puzzle I long ago gave up trying to unravel.  

    Hand down man down

  3. cgreene

    What’s even worse about Jax as an announcer is that he takes an insightful and usually on point JVG (except for his annoying consistent shilling for every coach in the league) and makes him silly and play to Jax’s level.

  4. Nick C.

    As for as the game discussion how do you reconcile getting killed on the boards which is a constant gripe in game threads with must get Melo as you pointed out.

  5. Caleb

    Speaking of pace, this is a fascinating (and quick, and easy) read:

    It’s Rohan Cruyff looking at a different measure of pace – how early in the shot clock a team shoots. It doesn’t affect the way we look at the Knicks – they are close but not quite the fastest team in the league, by either measure – but some teams measure up very differently.

    Also interesting – I would have guessed that the variation would all be on the offensive side. I never would have guessed that defense made a big difference in the opposing team’s pace…. but it does.

  6. Caleb

    Nick C.: As for as the game discussion how do you reconcile getting killed on the boards which is a constant gripe in game threads with must get Melo as you pointed out.  

    Yes… I am on the fence re: the Melo trade scenarios (IMO, it depends what we give up, and – more important – what we end up paying him). But rebounding is definitely an “anti”-Melo argument. It’s not obvious, since he’s actually the best rebounding SF in the league (this year). But in NY he would be the full-time PF, where he’s below average, and would push Stoudemire even further to being the full-time C, where he’s way-below average (as a rebounder). Landry Fields (if he’s still here) would become the starting SF, where his rebounding is good or OK but not fantastic like it is for a guard. At the end of the day the Knicks would be the worst-rebounding team in the league.

    There’s an obvious patch in the meantime, but it would involve taking some minutes away from the superstar Williams/Walker combo…

  7. stratomatic

    I have been unsuccessfully trying to turn over a new leaf for 2011 and not say anything bad about other people. You know the old saying “If you don’t have something nice to say say nothing at all”.

    So I’m happy you said what had to be said about Jackson instead of me. Though IMO you were too kind.

    He obviously has it in for D’Antoni and the Knicks. IMO deep down inside he’s is hoping for them to fail because he’s pissed off he was rejected. But he does nothing except convince anyone listening that he’s not qualified for an analysis job on TV let alone a head coaching job for the Knicks. (well there goes that New Years resolution again)

  8. stratomatic

    “Also interesting – I would have guessed that the variation would all be on the offensive side. I never would have guessed that defense made a big difference in the opposing team’s pace…. but it does. Caleb”

    Wow I had never even considered that. Learn something new here every day.

  9. jon abbey

    Caleb:
    But rebounding is definitely an “anti”-Melo argument. It’s not obvious, since he’s actually the best rebounding SF in the league (this year). But in NY he would be the full-time PF, where he’s below average, and would push Stoudemire even further to being the full-time C, where he’s way-below average (as a rebounder). Landry Fields (if he’s still here) would become the starting SF, where his rebounding is good or OK but not fantastic like it is for a guard. At the end of the day the Knicks would be the worst-rebounding team in the league.
      

    why are you so sure that D’Antoni would do this? maybe temporarily depending on the other personnel, but clearly long-term Stoudemire at 4 and Carmelo at 3 makes more sense.

  10. stratomatic

    Caleb: There’s an obvious patch in the meantime, but it would involve taking some minutes away from the superstar Williams/Walker combo…  (Quote)

    I agree with your entire analysis om rebounding and player assignments.

    This is the main reason I have been upset about AR not getting any minutes.

    Would it have been so hard to tell him to hit the boards and defend hard but keep him on a short leash on offense for a few minutes each night?

    The problem is that D’Antoni does not see the value of rebounding, shot blocking, interior length etc… the same way he sees the value of being able to knock down a corner 3 even when the player is below average at everything else.

    I was looking at Synergy Sports a few days ago and AR actually rated very well on defense in his limited minutes for NY also.

    How bad can his attitude and work ethic be when he says all the right things in the press and obviously wants to play very badly?

    He’s raw as all hell, but I’m going to hold this failure against the coach until such time as AR fails even after given a good opportunity to play, learn, develop physically, mature etc…

    I still think we are sitting on a very valuable asset and are about to sell at the bottom of a bear market.

  11. Jimmy C

    Hate to bring more SSOL skepticism into the mix, but the above article got me thinking. One thing I don’t think is brought up enough when discussing its effectiveness — or potential effectiveness — is how many things have to go right in order for it to be successful. We all know that a reactive, good decision-making point guard and strong-finishing center are integral, and to an extent we have both of those (Ray’s no Nash, but I think his decision making will improve over time).

    But a lot of SSOL’s effectiveness is contingent upon luring opposing teams into that pace or style. As the aforementioned article pointed out, accounting for a team’s “defensive pace” shows how teams that are better at slowing the game down than we are at speeding it up can equalize it’s theoretical effectiveness. So count this is as one way SSOL can fall short: if a team like the Hornets doesn’t take the track meet bait and slows it down enough to take us out of our rhythm.

    But even if teams gun with us — the Jazz game comes to mind — there is still the matter of making the shots. And while you’d think a team more accustomed to running SSOL would hit more of the first-option shots than a team not as used to running at that pace, that isn’t always borne out by the facts.

    The point: even a marginal re-emphasis on defense would go a long way to hedging our bets. If we’re in a 120+ point shootout, getting stops WHEN WE NEED THEM becomes incredibly valuable. We’ve shown flashes of this, but not nearly as consistently as, say, the Celtics, who seem to be able to get stops at will sometimes.

    What’s more, when we find ourselves in games with the likes of the Hornets — a slow-down, half court team with a point guard that is as intelligent and good as any at dictating pace — continuing to force the issue on offense without having dictated the other team plays that same pace puts us in a position where they’re taking qualitatively BETTER shots than we are,…

  12. stratomatic

    jon abbey: why are you so sure that D’Antoni would do this? maybe temporarily depending on the other personnel, but clearly long-term Stoudemire at 4 and Carmelo at 3 makes more sense.  (Quote)

    Based in all his actions and comments D’Antoni obviously likes Amare at the C. His system also makes it incredibly difficult to find a C that fits in because it needs space to run the P&R and most Cs don’t have the shooting range that he wants “ideally”.

    I think we are going to suffer with very small ball until we find a long PF that can rebound, defend, block shots, AND stretch the floor with shooting range to put next to him. Then we’ll switch from very small ball to small ball. AR is PERFECT except that he can’t shoot and is too raw.

  13. Caleb

    @9 There are some longshot scenarios where we sign a guy like Dwight Howard, or our #20 pick turns into a starting quality center in a few years, but I can’t think of many (any?) centers the Knicks would sign for less than $7 million who would inspire D’Antoni to play them ahead of Stoudemire. I don’t even think he would play a Tyson Chandler type. But who do you have in mind?

  14. Caleb

    @11 I don’t think defense is the main problem with SSOL… we’re doing ok, considering the personnel on the court.

    The Cruyhoff article did sort of hint at how a smart defensive team (like the Spurs) could slow us down. On the other hand, I think you’ll see that that the Suns played just as well in the playoffs as in the regular season, so I’m not sure that’s the main problem.

    IMO the bigger issue is a “D’Antoni” problem of preferring the system over the players, when push comes to shove.

  15. flossy

    Caleb:

    There’s an obvious patch in the meantime, but it would involve taking some minutes away from the superstar Williams/Walker combo…  

    Someone needs to tell Anthony Randolph (and maybe someone already has!) that if he wants to see the court, he needs to learn to hit a three from the corner at a merely decent rate. He doesn’t have to learn any complicated schemes or become the best shooter ever, he just needs to work on his shot from that one particular spot until he can hit more than one out of every three attempts.

    If he can shoot a three from the corner well enough that other teams have to at least someone respect it, that will give him an easy-to-digest role on offense that masks his weaknesses and allows us to take advantage of his freakish rebounding and shot-blocking ability.

    If he can’t do that, it’s going to be a long, cold winter on the bench for young Anthony and the Knicks will continue to get killed on the boards.

  16. stratomatic

    Jimmy,

    The problem we have is that the coach and system put so much weight on outside shooting, we are limited in which players fit. It’s not hard to find one guy that can knock down 3s at a 40% clip to create space for your superstar, but it’s really hard to find 4 of them that can also defend, rebound, make plays etc…. His system requires the center piece of the P&R (Amare this year and Lee last year) and 4 very good shooters to work well.

  17. flossy

    Oh, and I thought it went without saying that Carmelo would (will? ugh) play PF here next to Amar’e at the 5. Whether or not it’s a good idea is another question altogether, but you can take comfort from the fact that Melo is, at the very least, a better rebounder than Wilson Chandler. Our interior defense will be horrendous but such is the fate of any team with 2/3 of its salary committed to a combo of Amar’e and Carmelo. C’est la vie.

  18. Caleb

    flossy:
    Someone needs to tell Anthony Randolph (and maybe someone already has!) that if he wants to see the court, he needs to learn to hit a three from the corner at a merely decent rate.He doesn’t have to learn any complicated schemes or become the best shooter ever, he just needs to work on his shot from that one particular spot until he can hit more than one out of every three attempts.If he can shoot a three from the corner well enough that other teams have to at least someone respect it, that will give him an easy-to-digest role on offense that masks his weaknesses and allows us to take advantage of his freakish rebounding and shot-blocking ability.If he can’t do that, it’s going to be a long, cold winter on the bench for young Anthony and the Knicks will continue to get killed on the boards.  

    I agree, of course, but that’s what I mean about putting the system over the player. AR does a lot of good – even on offense – and you could keep the floor spaced by putting him next to a bunch of shooters (say, Gallo, Fields/Walker and Felton).

    Instead, if D’Antoni gets his way the Knicks will “address” their defensive issues by signing Jared Jeffries and his sub-50 TS% to a vet deal when Houston buys him out. At least he’ll pretend that he can shoot 3s.

  19. stratomatic

    I don’t want to be a downer abut tonight’s game against Washington, but this is the same scenario as the game when we played terrible against the Kings and D’Antoni said it ws because we were coming back from a road trip out west.

  20. flossy

    Caleb:
    I agree, of course, but that’s what I mean about putting the system over the player. AR does a lot of good – even on offense – and you could keep the floor spaced by putting him next to a bunch of shooters (say, Gallo, Fields/Walker and Felton).Instead, if D’Antoni gets his way the Knicks will “address” their defensive issues by signing Jared Jeffries and his sub-50 TS% to a vet deal when Houston buys him out. At least he’ll pretend that he can shoot 3s.  

    Welllll… I can’t quite go there with you as far as Randolph providing us something on offense right now. I think if that were the case, he would be out there already. Ronny Turiaf doesn’t even look at the basket and Jared Jeffries can barely play basketball, but they managed to buttress our defense a ton while not completely destroying the offense, and so D’Antoni found a role for them.

    But Randolph, as much as I love him, is worse than a dead weight out there on offense, at least from the limited run we’ve been able to witness. Not only is a bad shooter, he seems to go out of his way to take bad shots and lots of them. Worse, he floats around and never seems to understand where to be at any given time, and the spread pick and roll offense can’t really function when it includes someone who not only can’t shoot but can’t even stay out his teammates’ way and contribute by some other means, a la Turiaf with his passing and decent production as the roll man on the occasional PnR.

    This is why I’m not even joking when I say he needs to learn to shoot the corner 3 at a league-average rate. It gives him a clearly defined function and space to occupy in the halfcourt offense where he won’t get himself into trouble. Then on defense and in transition he can wreak havoc and everyone will love him so much.

  21. Jimmy C

    stratomatic:
    The problem we have is that the coach and system put so much weight on outside shooting, we are limited in which players fit.…  

    Which explains why Extra E and Walker, despite their putrid D, are getting so much burn, and why guys like AR — who I was under the impression is both a good on-ball as well as help-side defender — are glued to the bench.

    But even if we were able to surround Stat with four deadeye shooters — guys already on the team who will develop into more reliable threats, or pieces we pick up along the way — I don’t see how that changes the inherent problems of SSOL, namely that many things have to go right for it to be effective. The pace has to be in your favor (that is a team has to be compelled to take the bait), the shot selection has to be in your favor (lately our open looks have been getting smaller and smaller), the making of those shots has to be in your favor (also sorely lacking lately), and the missing of opponents shots has to be in your favor (quite often recently, again in part because of the anemic D). Now we’ve added yet another caveat: the players themselves have to be in our favor.

    It’s fair to ask “how is that different form any other system?”. True, it doesn’t matter if you’re the Celtics or the Knicks, these things have to go right in order to win. But the problem with SSOL is that it’s so stubbornly rigid that we haven’t learned how to effectively adapt to any number of these things NOT GOING OUR WAY. Instead we just pray for runs and hope for the best.

    Maybe we find the perfect talent for this system, but I’d just assume work at finding the perfect system for our talent. Doesn’t mean we abandon SSOL; it just means we have to be willing to value possessions on both O & D when it’s clear SSOL by itself isn’t working. D’A seems to think getting teams to play our style…

  22. Caleb

    Randolph is a pretty good passer and ballhandler. He finishes well, and is a very good open court player. He’s a good offensive rebounder. His career turnover rate is pretty low considering how much he has the ball*. His two problems are 1) he is a poor outside shooter; 2) he thinks he is a good outside shooter.

    A good coach will not encourage him to shoot corner 3s (why bother? Other players can do it) but will keep him on a short leash as far as shooting.

    Even as a poor outside shooter his career TS%s are about the same as pre-2010-2011 Wilson Chandler. There’s no reason he would have to be a drag on the offense.

    *His career TO rate is 3/4 the rate of savvy veteran Jeffries, even with almost double the usage rate. Through their second NBA seasons, his TO rate is almost identical to Marcus Camby. It’s higher than Chandler, but so is the usage rate so it’s not a big difference.
    I know it’s sort of a random group of players to compare - but you get the idea.

  23. latke

    RE: AR and rebounding/defense

    MDA plays Turiaf. I think he sees Turiaf as bringing more to the defensive end while being low-mistakes on offense. I don’t think any of us could make an argument that right now AR is better than Turiaf on either end of the floor. He may be a better rebounder than Ronny, but his overall defense, mostly due to being so damn skinny, is worse, and his offense has been a disaster.

    Jimmy C: But even if teams gun with us — the Jazz game comes to mind — there is still the matter of making the shots. And while you’d think a team more accustomed to running SSOL would hit more of the first-option shots than a team not as used to running at that pace, that isn’t always borne out by the facts.

    This can be said of any team. The Spurs used to play a real slow down offense. There was always the potential that some other team could, on any given night, go all fundamental on SAS’s ass, but it rarely happened. You build a team around your system, and that team should succeed in that system.

    re: a rebounding big man who can shoot

    First of all, Amare has shown himself to be a very good shooter from his spots. Who’s to say the knicks couldn’t spread the floor with him and let a guy like Tyson Chandler play PnR sometimes? Furthermore, it’s not that hard to find a guy who can rebound and a perimeter shot. See: Camby, Z. Randolph, Odom, Stoudemire, J. Smith, Aldridge, Scola, Bosh, Blatche, Millsap, D. West, LBJ, Fields… 12 of the top 30 rebounders are capable of canning a 20 footer, and most of those dudes have some 3pt range as well. The problem is finding a guy who can rebound, shoot, and defend the paint. Now you’re down to Camby, Smith, Lebron… Millsap maybe? I’d settle for rebounding and shooting.

  24. flossy

    @23

    Were it that those were his only two problems… he literally gets in the way of his teammates on offense. Maybe it’s just the rare, short bursts of action are frying his brain, but he plays like he just doesn’t have a clue. That’s why he needs to learn to shoot from the corner–not only is that a skill that the coaching staff really values, but it will *keep him out of the way.*

  25. Caleb

    latke: RE: AR and rebounding/defense He may be a better rebounder than Ronny, but his overall defense, mostly due to being so damn skinny, is worse, and his offense has been a disaster.
      

    I don’t think it’s fair to call his offense a disaster, based on the miniscule number of minutes he’s played for the Knicks. His career #s (at age 19 and 20) say a lot more. What if we judged Stoudmire on his first 100 minutes of the year, where he shot about 40 percent with more turnovers than rebounds?

    I’m not against Turiaf, who plays a different position anyway – AR, at least at this point in his career, isn’t going to body up big center. He’s a weakside shotblocker and a quick big with long arms, to put pressure on wing players. I’d take AR’s minutes from Shawne Williams and Walker – maybe a few from Chandler, just to give him a breather.

    “Furthermore, it’s not that hard to find a guy who can rebound and a perimeter shot. See: Camby, Z. Randolph, Odom, Stoudemire, J. Smith, Aldridge, Scola, Bosh, Blatche, Millsap, D. West, LBJ, Fields”

    ..Camby is an awful shooter (with a career TS% near identical to Anthony Randolph)… Josh Smith (a good AR comparison) became a much better player when he stopped taking 3s… etc. The point is to use a guy’s strengths, not fit him in a particular box.

  26. Caleb

    flossy:
    not only is that a skill that the coaching staff really values, but it will *keep him out of the way.*  

    You don’t want him out of the way, especially not near the 3-point line..

  27. latke

    Caleb, I completely agree on AR’s potential and on the fact that he has not had a fair shake this season — that MDA should take a look back at his regular season numbers, or his summer league 2009 #s where he outplayed Blake Griffin and Steph Curry, leading the league in points (61% FGs), 2nd in blocks, 4th in steals, 9th in rebounds… I’m all for him getting minutes. I just felt it was unfair to qualify MDA as not playing defensive players.

    You’re right about camby. Didn’t realize he was so bad — his eFG% on jumpshots is a paltry .306.

  28. Jimmy C

    @24

    I agree that a team needs a system in order to flesh out some semblance of continuity. I just think that SSOL is much more rigid and therefore open to exploitation than, say, the triangle. Now the triangle certainly demands a certain skill set from its players, just like in any other system, but I also think there’s a much more inherent flexibility in terms of who’s doing what at any given time in an offensive possession.

    Hate to use a college example, but it’s the first one that comes to mind: Michigan State. Yes, they play in the Big Ten, with a 35 second shot clock and with refs that let a lot more stuff go than in the NBA. But part of what’s made them so successful over the years is that, while they can grind it out with the best of them, they also are consistently one of the fastest teams up the court out of certain makes and misses. They catch teams off guard, but if they don’t find a quick shot after two or three passes, they pull it out and run a motion offense similar to NY’s, where they try and get the first GOOD shot, and not just THE first shot. Again probably not the best example.

    I want SSOL to work. I really do. I think, at it’s best and most effective, it is a sight to behold and as close to pure beauty as you can get on a basketball court. I just hope D’Antoni is flexible enough to understand that a one-trick pony is a lot easier to corral. I’d like to see us get more creative with our sets — and less horrible with our defense — and find more ways to keep the defense off guard. I think you can achieve these things and still be opportunistic enough to keep us moving at a fast pace. Maybe we end up with 5 less possessions in a game, but if that’s offset by 3 more looks being less contested or rushed — by virtue of making the D work harder — then I don’t see how we’re betraying our identity.

  29. Brian Cronin

    It also doesn’t help that when Randolph does get into games, he’s playing on the perimeter, which is clearly not his idea, but D’Antoni’s.

  30. stratomatic

    Randolph didn’t shoot nearly as often from the outside under Nelson. Nelson recognized his weaknesses and tried to use him appropriately. Nelson may have also had issues with the youthful mistakes and immaturity etc… but he tried to get through to him and AR was improving.

    IMHO that’s not what’s going on in NY.

    D’Antoni defned him as a wing. The wing’s role in this sytem is to stand out on the perimeter and wait for the ball to be passed to him out of the pick and roll or on a break. If he is open, he shoots. So when AR is open (which is going to be often because no one is going to cover him way outside) he shoots. Then when he misses, he gets benched.

    IMO we don’t run enough plays to try to take advantage of our player’s strengths. That’s why we often find ourselves complaining about Gallo not getting the ball enough, Chandler or Jeffries shooting 3s, etc…

    IMHO no other coach in their right mind would allow AR to shoot all those jumpers and not run more plays for Gallo off picks etc… to get his usage up.

    Teams beg for players with the scoring efficiency of Gallo. It’s criminal that we have Felton and Chandler shooting so much when Gallo is out there. Gallo has limitations, but there are more limited players in the league that get more shots. His usage should definitely be higher, but you have to run plays for him to take advantage of his strengths.

  31. Brian Cronin

    Ha! My comment followed right by your comment – almost kind of eerie! :)

    In any event, yeah, obviously I totally agree – he gets out there and he plays on the wing and shockingly he is not good at it. Then he gets benched for not being good at a role he is clearly not designed for.

    As for Gallo, I’ve said it before, but if Gallo was the #1 scoring option for a team, he’d easily be putting up All-Star-level numbers. By All-Star, of course, I just mean “gaudy scoring numbers,” as he wouldn’t be better at anything else. That he can’t even be the #3 option on this Knicks team is beyond me. We often complain about his non-aggressiveness, but guys like Gallo just don’t work if they’re not being given the ball. Reggie Miller could be as aggressive as he wanted, if his teammates already determined that he was not going to get the ball, Miller was not going to score. Heck, Miller when he tried to create off of the ball was basically just as awkward as Gallo is. Hell, Gallo gets to the basket better than Reggie (Reggie was a much better shooter, though)!

  32. Brian Cronin

    Something else just occurred to me.

    Extra E is clearly not a power forward and obviously is not a center, and yet D’Antoni has played him out of position at those positions this year, and Extra E has done poorly at those positions.

    Randolph is clearly not a perimeter player, and yet D’Antoni has playing him out of position at the position this year, and AR has done poorly in his limited minutes.

    Yet the former keeps getting minutes and the latter is permanently benched.

    Being able to hit a three really is that important to D’Antoni – so weird.

  33. Brian Cronin

    By the way, if Sheridan is correct, all of these points are kind of moot, as Sheridan says that AR is not playing because the Knicks have already determined that he will part of any possible Melo trade, so they need him healthy to get a 1st round pick for him.

    So I guess after the trade deadline, if AR is still on the team, we will see more of him.

  34. Caleb

    @35 That occurred to me – since he has a history of being fragile I can see the logic/ I’ve said before I think Walsh has a higher opinion of AR than his coach does, so hopefully he won’t sell cheap. If he’s still here in a month maybe he’ll get some daylight.

  35. Frank

    Brian Cronin: Something else just occurred to me.Extra E is clearly not a power forward and obviously is not a center, and yet D’Antoni has played him out of position at those positions this year, and Extra E has done poorly at those positions.

    Being able to hit a three really is that important to D’Antoni – so weird.  

    Actually I would say being able to hit >50% of your 3′s that important.

    Anyway — I love this NBA playbook site. See Carmelo play Wilson Chandler’s spot beautifully. Are the Nuggets trying to sell Carmelo to D’Antoni?

    http://nbaplaybook.com/2011/01/24/nuggets-play-to-carmelo-anthonys-strengths-against-pacers/

  36. Frank

    Re: Gallo — I didn’t get to see any of the Thunder game (I guess he played really well) – but I did watch most of the Spurs game, which highlighted one of his major weaknesses — he really relies on the officials to call fouls on his defender when he drives. Would be interesting to see what I think Dean Oliver called “Field percentage” is — ie. what his percentage is like without foul calls. Just makes him much less useful in late-game crunch and playoff settings when the zebras swallow their whistles.

    One though about Wilson Chandler- we’ve all noticed that he doesn’t get to the line nearly often enough for a guy with his driving skills – I saw it a few times in the Spurs game — he actively avoid contact at the rim even when it causes him to significantly increase the shot’s degree of difficulty. Someone should tell him to go strong and draw contact.

  37. flossy

    @34 Mmm hmm. That’s why I said he needs to learn to stand in the corner and can threes if he wants to see the court.

    Is that the best use of his talent? Obviously not. But that one particular skill is so important to this system and coach that it would virtually guarantee him playing time if AR could just learn to do that.

  38. Frank

    flossy: @34 Mmm hmm.That’s why I said he needs to learn to stand in the corner and can threes if he wants to see the court.Is that the best use of his talent?Obviously not.But that one particular skill is so important to this system and coach that it would virtually guarantee him playing time if AR could just learn to do that.  

    If he could learn to hit the corner 3 and play within the system, he could be the Shawn Marion-type that Wilson is trying to play. But those are 2 big ifs.

    The injury risk angle is something I had not thought about. Makes sense I guess. So if no trade goes through maybe he will get some burn.

  39. NateRobinson

    IMO I believe AR would be much more effective with a Turiaf-like role in the starting lineup. Where he would not get the ball as often, and use his above average passing and oReb skills. Granted, he seems a little lost and teams would force him to make plays if he does the same mistakes he keeps making (braking the O sets).

    But Wilson has been on a rut, so has Felton and we need any help from the bench we can because Corner3 Shawn and Walker are nothing but 3 point shooters (mighty good ones too). The issue is that our bench does not create many open 3s for them to be effective without a Felton or STAT on the floor.

  40. Brian Cronin

    But Wilson has been on a rut, so has Felton and we need any help from the bench we can because Corner3 Shawn and Walker are nothing but 3 point shooters (mighty good ones too). The issue is that our bench does not create many open 3s for them to be effective without a Felton or STAT on the floor.

    Ah, yes, the unit.

    Man, do I hate the unit.

  41. latke

    to me the bigger indictment of MDAs extra focus on defense has been Fields’ relatively low minutes. Fields makes a good percentage of his 3s (38%), but he takes them less often than Williams or Walker and makes them at a lower clip (55% and 42% respectively). IMO this has motivated MDA to sit Fields, especially at crucial points in the fourth quarter, and although it has helped our offense, it has exacerbated our weaknesses (rebounding and defense), for only a marginal reward on offense.

  42. Jimmy C

    latke: to me the bigger indictment of MDAs extra focus on defense has been Fields’ relatively low minutes. Fields makes a good percentage of his 3s (38%), but he takes them less often than Williams or Walker and makes them at a lower clip (55% and 42% respectively). IMO this has motivated MDA to sit Fields, especially at crucial points in the fourth quarter, and although it has helped our offense, it has exacerbated our weaknesses (rebounding and defense), for only a marginal reward on offense.  

    This one’s beyond me too. Fields isn’t Ron Artest — yet — but he’s pretty versatile and can guard most positions somewhat effectively. And that’s increasingly valuable towards the end of the game when most teams are running more sets, in that Fields is quicker on switches and just moves his feet better than either Williams or Walker.

    Fields takes and makes at lower clips, yes, but I’ve also noticed that he’s pretty deadly if he has time to set his feet. To the extent that late-in-the-game possessions will see the ball move around more, I like having Landry out there: if he’s wide open, he’s got a good chance of making it. If he’s not, you can trust him to make the right pass.

  43. Frank

    The thing that kills me about Fields sitting is that arguably his best attribute is his ridiculous rebounding from the 2 position. The Knicks are clearly a better rebounding team with him on the floor as opposed to off —

    http://www.82games.com/1011/10NYK7.HTM#onoff

    and in fact, the guy who probably plays most in his place (Shawne Williams) has the worst +/- of any guy who actually gets minutes, and kills our defensive rebounding:

    http://www.82games.com/1011/10NYK10.HTM#onoff

    I don’t think it’s an overstatement that our poor defensive rebounding has cost us 5-10 losses already this year, if not 15. I think Fields pretty much has to play Amare/Felton type of minutes, even if Extra E has to sit.

  44. Brian Cronin

    The funniest part was Fields comes in, hits a big three, then comes out and Extra E comes in and plays terribly, including an awful loose ball foul that could have lost the game right there, and then Felton won’t even pass to Extra E when he’s wide open from behind the arc!

    So why was Extra E out there, then!?!?!?

  45. afrikan_hermis

    Guys you all have done a great job exposing the weakness of MDA’s INFLEXIBILITY of preferring the system over the players and REFUSING to see INTERIOR DEFENSE, REBOUNDING and SHOT BLOCKING as an integral part of winning PLAYOFF and CHAMPIONSHIP games. Reason why he wasted Darko and is wasting AR and Mozgov. Folks AR is hands down better than Turiaf. As Careb points out ” the point is to use a guy’s strength and not to fix him in a box “We shouldn’t forget that Turiaf is WORSE IN THE LEAGUE REBOUNDING at his 5 position and except for an occasional block ( AR blocks more ), opponents just drives and dunk on him. His misleading higher assists in only due to the fact that he is afraid to shoot and rather passes the ball, even when about 5ft from the basket. Next let us contrast him to Mozgov who is a better shooter ( and not afraid to shoot ), POLICES the paint better any other Knick, since PatricK, BLOCK and ALTERS shots with his strength and height ( he is stronger and taller than Turiaf ), and is perhaps the best athletic above-the-rim P&R dunker next to Amar’e on the team.Folks go to you tube and watch Mozgov highlights 10/18/2010 and HIGHLIGHTS MIX. Then check on the same http://www.knickerblogger.net SOME PLAYS COUNT/Mozgov for yourself and see how like AR, when given the opportunity to play, even for 5-10mins a game, when opponents are killing us in the paint, can mean the difference between victory and defeat. On You tube, pat particular attention to how Mozgov powerfully DESTROYS 1. Stephen Jackson, 2. Tony Parker, 3.Derick Rose (team USA vs Russia) and 4. Paul Pierce, especially how he uses his athletism and ability to run the floor to chase PP from way back stage and catch him on the rim a la AR at Golden States. A look at how embarrassed PP looked after his team mates helped him up from his daydream on the floor says it all.How can MDA’s inflexibility and penchant of WASTING guys like Darko, AR and Mozgov allowed to go on?

  46. afrikan_hermis

    Is the P&R and corner 3 ball and NO INTERIOR DEFENSE the only play book MDA can boost off? Is this OVERPAID OVERRATED coach the only one available? Can he even half way compare to Doc Rivers, Phil Jackson or Popovitch? How long can we allow him to prefer family over team by designating and crediting HIS BROTHER as “defensive coordinator” instead of burying his ego and hiring Lawrence Frank as defensive coordinator when he was available? At least he recently took a team called NJ Nets to finals TWO TIMES, something MDA CAN NEVER accomplish with his SMALL BALL CORNER 3 MENTALITY, with or without Melo. Another point I forgot to mention is that earlier in the season, the guards INCLUDING Felton had trouble mastering the P&R and were so selfish to impress to crack the rotation that they were unable to bring the best out of AR and Timo. For example Timo would Block a shot and out pace everybody to be wide open in the pait with his hands raised up only to see a guy like Douglas pass the ball to the wing for 3 that doesn’t fall instead of rewarding his wide open team mate.
    My advice to Pres. Walsh is IMMEDIATELY hire Hakeem as both the defensive and post moves coordinator ( remember the job he did for Howard AND Kobe? ) and force MDA to play AR and Mozgov before he makes you look like a fool to bring them here. If he resists, FIRE HIM FAST! In fact since hard head MDA will never change his coaching mentality, the best solution will be to replace him with a more complete coach like Patrick (If Dolan will allow ). If not low key and hard working Lawrence Frank (I don’t think Doc. Rivers won’t agree ) will do. Or we can wait for either Doc Rivers or Phil Jackson next year. Also Mr. Walsh NEVER let Fields go. Never trade AR for now until new coach comes in. See if you can buy 1st round pick with 3 mil. (Dolan can afford that). Also keep Mozgov by all means. And never let both Gallo and Chandler go for Melo’s trade.It should be either one, although I prefer Chandler…

  47. Frank

    I dunno – Turiaf is pretty good. Despite his league-worst rebound rate, the Knicks are actually a better rebounding team with him on the court than off. Is that because he blocks out more? Or because when he’s in there STAT is at the 4 and when he’s not, Chandler’s at the 4? Don’t know, but the Knicks are about even on offense when he’s in and significantly better on D when he’s in. Not sure Turiaf is really the problem. I also want to see more of AR but his minutes probably should come from someone else other than Turiaf.

    http://www.82games.com/1011/10NYK13.HTM#onoff

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