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Monday, July 28, 2014

Tyson Chandler

I may be slow to the party, but there’s a great post on Tyson Chandler at Hornets247. Ryan Schwan compares the perception on Chandler to reality, namely that Chandler is a poor defender because he doesn’t have a high block shot rate and that the half court offensive is 4 vs 5 with him on the floor. Schwan finds Chandler to be an “excellent defender” because of his agility & length to alter shots, and a valuable contributor on offense due to his excellent pick & roll game and strong rebounding.

Definitely worth the read.

49 comments on “Tyson Chandler

  1. Italian Stallion

    I’m not sure why Tyson doesn’t get any respect. He’s not an offensive juggernaut, but the team doesn’t need him to be. They have enough scorers and shooters. He’s an efficient scorer though, which is exactly what you would want from him when he does touch the ball. He gives them good boards and even though he doesn’t block a lot of shots, as long as he is causing problems in the paint because of his length, that’s more than enough. They don’t need 3 blocks per game.

  2. Brian Cronin

    Yeah, the fact that Chandler (apparently) is not getting a lot of respect mystifies me even more than the Balkman trade.

  3. Captain Merlin

    Well, let’s face it, Chandler doesn’t put up the gaudy numbers that people love. It is for this reason, that I propose a Zbo Chandler swap…I mean, lawd knows they need another 20-10 fellow to go with West down low. In fact, since they’d be getting such a steal, I think we’d have to take back at least a first round pick as well…you know, for fairness’ sake. Swing something like that Donnie boy.

    If only…
    At least we’ve got a 20-10′er to run with the Mardy-Q backcourt.

  4. Brian Cronin

    The funny thing about Chandler is that for all the guys who bitch about stats and how you have to “see” the game to appreciate it, if you watch New Orleans games, it’s clear how important Chandler is to the team, and yet he still gets under-rated!

  5. Italian Stallion

    Yeah, the fact that Chandler (apparently) is not getting a lot of respect mystifies me even more than the Balkman trade.

    I know we’ve already discussed this to death, but I think the details on his thinking are slowly coming together.

    I think this summarizes it.

    1. Balkman wasn’t going to play because of the glut at forward. Walsh also supposedly said that when a player doesn’t get much playing time, his value shrinks. I assume he asked around the league and a second round pick was the best offer he could get. Under his assumptions, I guess he figured that taking a 2nd round pick now was better than getting nothing later.

    2. I read that Balkman was having difficulty grasping the new system during summer league practice and often looked lost.

    3. I read that D’Antoni is very keen on character issues. Perhaps he had a problem with a couple of Balkman’s habits.

    4. It was probably much easier to move Balkman than either Jeffries or Richardson even though you could make the case that Balkman was a hair the best of the three.

    Even though I understand some of the thinking, it seems unanimous that this wasn’t a very good deal for the Knicks.

  6. dave crockett

    I must be slow on the uptake here, but I actually have never heard this “Tyson Chandler is a poor defender” line. I’m not doubting that it’s coming from somewhere, but just for my edification, where are you guys hearing that stuff? I mean, I have just never heard anyone say this.

  7. Owen

    During the playoffs, I think there was a huge focus on David West, with a lot of people saying he is the second best player on the Hornets. This naturally spurred some debate, which is where I first got wind of the Tyson Chandler doesn’t really play great defense argument….

    I think he is amazing and constantly imagine a world in which we had acquired Chandler instead of Curry.

  8. Arianna J Caruso

    I would trade David Lee for Tyson Chandler straight-up. Also, Jamal Crawford is the best player in blue and orange. My boyfriend hates when I say that.

  9. Captain Merlin

    I would trade David Lee for Tyson Chandler straight-up. Also, Jamal Crawford is the best player in blue and orange. My boyfriend hates when I say that.

    I believe my previous response to the last time a female dared to trod on our hallowed ground is more than enough to cover my sorrows over this post as well. I’m sure that Miss Caruso’s boyfriend would make a better point than hers, given how he hates her thoughts on Jcraw. Oy vey, what’s this merry little corner of solace become? Only a few more months until we see how Gallo and Mardy can coexist.

  10. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Post author

    I would trade David Lee for Tyson Chandler straight-up. Also, Jamal Crawford is the best player in blue and orange. My boyfriend hates when I say that.

    Only when David Lee and Nate Robinson are in street clothes.

  11. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Post author

    I particularly liked this article for it’s ability to look deeper into Tyson’s skills. Too often people simplify their arguments, which is something we’ve seen here with the 4v5 half court offense. You could take that same argument and apply it to Chandler. He doesn’t have a post up game, can’t hit a jump shot, doesn’t score a lot of points, and he can’t hit a free throw. Yet New Orleans had the league’s 5th best offense with him getting 35 minutes per game.

    It seems clear to me that Chandler is that low usage/high percentage players do help the offense, but even more clear that you have to look at the player’s strengths/weaknesses with respect to his teammates & scheme. Schwan notes that Chandler’s strong pick & roll/offensive rebounding in combination with Chris Paul’s abilities forces the defense into one of a few unpalatable options (leave Chandler for the offensive rebound, play Paul one on one, commit another defender and leave a perimeter player open). In this situation Chandler’s weaknesses are minimized and his strengths augmented, which is exactly what you want from the team concept.

    Offense is not about each player being able to beat his own man, but rather the sum of the players’ skills providing consistent scoring.

  12. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Post author

    I must be slow on the uptake here, but I actually have never heard this “Tyson Chandler is a poor defender” line. I’m not doubting that it’s coming from somewhere, but just for my edification, where are you guys hearing that stuff? I mean, I have just never heard anyone say this.

    From the link provided on Hornets247:

    Well that just proves how soft the NBA is becoming. Chandler’s a solid defender and all, but if all it takes is 1.1 blocks per game to finish 3rd in defense player of the year voting at 7 feet tall, they got to seriously consider tweaking some rules. I mean in the street, a 7 foot guy will get clowned and [picked on] if that’s the best he can do.

    Posted by: GarrettKall | July 02, 2008 at 11:36 PM

    I’m really not sure why Chandler doesn’t get more blocks. He’s big and athletic enough, and his defensive instincts are good otherwise. In his defense, he’s a the type of guy that alters a lot of shots without giving up his position and I’d rather have that then a guy that tries to go flying after every possible block. But still, it is weird that he’s never cracked 2 blocks a game.

    Posted by: K | July 02, 2008 at 11:41 PM

  13. Italian Stallion

    I particularly liked this article for it’s ability to look deeper into Tyson’s skills. Too often people simplify their arguments, which is something we’ve seen here with the 4v5 half court offense. You could take that same argument and apply it to Chandler. He doesn’t have a post up game, can’t hit a jump shot, doesn’t score a lot of points, and he can’t hit a free throw. Yet New Orleans had the league’s 5th best offense with him getting 35 minutes per game.
    It seems clear to me that Chandler is that low usage/high percentage players do help the offense, but even more clear that you have to look at the player’s strengths/weaknesses with respect to his teammates & scheme. Schwan notes that Chandler’s strong pick & roll/offensive rebounding in combination with Chris Paul’s abilities forces the defense into one of a few unpalatable options (leave Chandler for the offensive rebound, play Paul one on one, commit another defender and leave a perimeter player open). In this situation Chandler’s weaknesses are minimized and his strengths augmented, which is exactly what you want from the team concept.
    Offense is not about each player being able to beat his own man, but rather the sum of the players’ skills providing consistent scoring.

    I agree with you.

    That issue came up a lot with Balkman. I’m not sure they are totally comparable though. The Knicks haven’t had the kind of passing, high percentage shooters, and generally efficient offensive power that Charlotte has. I think the argument against some of these somewhat limited defense oriented players is that you need the complimentary pieces to make it work. The Hornets have them and the Knicks don’t.

    IMO, at some point there is a diminshing return from having a greater number of outside shooters, scorers etc…on the court at the same time because there are a limited number of shots. In that kind of situation, someone like Balkman, Tyson Chandler etc… can be very valuable for the other things they bring. But when you don’t have enough scoring, shooting, etc.. it can be a bigger problem to add another non shooter.

  14. justin

    chandler doesnt get as many blocks because he is playing closer to the basket and doesnt play out on the opponent to reach for the block….hence why the man gets soo many rebounds

  15. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Post author

    I agree with you.

    That issue came up a lot with Balkman. I’m not sure they are totally comparable though. The Knicks haven’t had the kind of passing, high percentage shooters, and generally efficient offensive power that Charlotte has. I think the argument against some of these somewhat limited defense oriented players is that you need the complimentary pieces to make it work. The Hornets have them and the Knicks don’t.

    I wouldn’t say they’re not comparable. A good offense tailors itself to the strengths of the players. Balkman, like Chandler, has extremes with his strengths & weaknesses. Just because a player has weaknesses doesn’t mean the other players have to overcompensate radically, when you’re featuring his strengths.

    It does help that N.O. has a great point guard and an excellent spot up shooter. However if a team used merely a good pick & roll point guard (let’s say Marbury) and a decent spot up shooter (Nate Robinson) Tyson Chandler would still be effective in the offense. On the other hand if the team featured an isolation offense (let’s say like the Knicks last year) where players held the ball on the perimeter (Crawford, Zach), Tyson Chandler would not be as effective. Tyson Chandler’s contribution on offense is more dependent on the scheme (and how the other players fit that scheme) than the overall skill of the players.

  16. Italian Stallion
    I agree with you.
    That issue came up a lot with Balkman. I’m not sure they are totally comparable though. The Knicks haven’t had the kind of passing, high percentage shooters, and generally efficient offensive power that Charlotte has. I think the argument against some of these somewhat limited defense oriented players is that you need the complimentary pieces to make it work. The Hornets have them and the Knicks don’t.

    I wouldn’t say they’re not comparable. A good offense tailors itself to the strengths of the players. Balkman, like Chandler, has extremes with his strengths & weaknesses. Just because a player has weaknesses doesn’t mean the other players have to overcompensate radically, when you’re featuring his strengths.
    It does help that N.O. has a great point guard and an excellent spot up shooter. However if a team used merely a good pick & roll point guard (let’s say Marbury) and a decent spot up shooter (Nate Robinson) Tyson Chandler would still be effective in the offense. On the other hand if the team featured an isolation offense (let’s say like the Knicks last year) where players held the ball on the perimeter (Crawford, Zach), Tyson Chandler would not be as effective. Tyson Chandler’s contribution on offense is more dependent on the scheme (and how the other players fit that scheme) than the overall skill of the players.

    Hopefully D’Antoni will use our players more effectively, especially now that we’ve added a couple of interesting pieces.

    I have mixed feelings about Balkman at this point. Part of me thinks he’s going to better in Denver. I’d like to see that to verify some of my ideas. But part of me doesn’t want that trade to haunt us too much. So I hope he doesn’t do too well. ;-)

  17. caleb

    Who is posting under italian stallion’s name today?

    Re: the reasons for trading balkman i do believe that #3 was a factor… Tho maybe that is wishful thinking on part; i would like them to have any actual reason for the trade. I mean, of course he was easier to trade than terrible, overpaid vets like Q and jeffries – but even if that 2nd round pick ends up
    a top-35, I think that trade will end u looking very ugly by mid-season. Unless balk goes the keon clark route.

    Re: chandler, I am a huge fan – he’s a player who is incredibly fun to watch, aside from everything else. No disrespect to david west, but he’s clearly the 2nd best guy in Nola, IMO. An example of a less well-rounded player being better than a very well-rounded player.

  18. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Post author

    I just realized exactly what really makes this article relevant with what we’ve discussed here: It’s a counter for the “4v5 half court” argument.

    Here’s Tyson Chandler, a guy with no shot creation ability, no post up game, no jumpshot and no free throw shooting ability. Yet he’s still a valuable member of the offense. Why? Because he’s able to score efficiently without wasting possessions. His shooting percentage is through the roof (63.2 TS%), he doesn’t turn the ball over much (1.8TO/36), and he grabs extra possessions (4.2OREB/36). It doesn’t matter that he can’t create his own shot, or doesn’t score a lot (12.0pts/36). If you replaced him in the offense with a bigman that could create his own shot (Boozer) but less efficiently, New Orleans wouldn’t be better on offense.

    I never bought the “4v5 on offense” argument with players like Chandler, Lee, Balkman, Ben Wallace, etc. because they aren’t wasting possessions (like the inefficient scorer). As long as a low scorer can contribute in other ways (efficient scoring, offensive rebounding, low turnovers) they aren’t hurting the offense.

  19. Owen

    Yes, exactly.

    A player like Tyson Chandler “created” 2.4 points last year per 36 through his offensive rebounding and turnovers (4.2 – 1.8=2.4)

    Those add up to points through extra shots taken, even if it’s by other players on the team.

    A player like, oh, say, Eddy Curry, clocks in at -.4 net offensive possessions if you want to call it that. So a team with Chandler will score 2.8 more points per 36, ex scoring.

    Obviously Curry scores more, 6 points more per 36, but he is also using more than 6 more possessions to do so.

    It’s really hard to make up 2.8 possessions per 36 through your scoring alone…

  20. male horse from Italy

    I’d rather play 4 v 5 on offense than 4 v 5 on defense. Guys like Chandler (Tyson, not the guy on the Knicks), Rodman, McKey, Camby, (Balkman someday too maybe), all make winning much easier. (easier than guys like Jamal Crawford, Stephon Marbury, and Zach Randolph make it).

    It only takes one or two guys to score on offense, but it takes five to play effective D.

    But if New Orleans didn’t have Chris Paul, they wouldn’t be nearly as successful, and this article never would have even been written.

    They never wrote an article like this about Bo Outlaw, Chris Dudley, or Chuck Nevitt.

  21. Duff Soviet Union

    Mike, I agree with your entire post, but I think you’re picking a bad example of a big man who doesn’t score efficiently with Boozer. His TS% was over 58% last year and he wasn’t overly turnover prone. I’d say a much better example of such a player would be Randolph or Chandler’s NO teammate West. But yeah, this “it’s like playing 4 on 5 with him out there” argument is rubbish wrt guys like Chandler, Lee and Andris Biedrins.

  22. Italian Stallion

    I just realized exactly what really makes this article relevant with what we’ve discussed here: It’s a counter for the “4v5 half court” argument.
    Here’s Tyson Chandler, a guy with no shot creation ability, no post up game, no jumpshot and no free throw shooting ability. Yet he’s still a valuable member of the offense. Why? Because he’s able to score efficiently without wasting possessions. His shooting percentage is through the roof (63.2 TS%), he doesn’t turn the ball over much (1.8TO/36), and he grabs extra possessions (4.2OREB/36). It doesn’t matter that he can’t create his own shot, or doesn’t score a lot (12.0pts/36). If you replaced him in the offense with a bigman that could create his own shot (Boozer) but less efficiently, New Orleans wouldn’t be better on offense.
    I never bought the “4v5 on offense” argument with players like Chandler, Lee, Balkman, Ben Wallace, etc. because they aren’t wasting possessions (like the inefficient scorer). As long as a low scorer can contribute in other ways (efficient scoring, offensive rebounding, low turnovers) they aren’t hurting the offense.

    I agree with you, but I’m still not sure you are framing the debate perfectly. If you don’t have the right complimentary players, guys like Balkman, Wallace, Chadler etc.. do become a problem.

    I’m having difficulty expressing this properly, but I’ll try again.

    Each team has “X” offensive possesions.

    If you have Paul, West, and Peja you have enough scoring, passing, outside shooting, shot creativity etc… for a high percentage of “X” to be a very efficient number. There is no need to get much from Chandler. If anything, those guys are such offensive threats, teams have to focus on them. So it leaves easier opportunities for Chandler and others and helps their efficiency too.

    Take West or Peja (or God forbid Paul) out of the equation and the team is going to need more shooting and scoring out of Chandler. That translates into a lower efficiency for Chandler and the team as a whole because Chandler is going to be forced to take more lower quality shots for him. In addition, having an inferior 3rd offensive option in the lineup (Chandler) probably makes it tougher on Paul and the other player.

    The dynamic changes a little once you have “enough” scoring, shooting, creativity etc.. on the court because incremental offense doesn’t add much (diminishing returns). At that point, the qualities that guys like Chandler, Balkman, Wallace etc… bring far outweigh the lack of offense.

    I guess what I am “suggesting” is that there’s a point where their lack of offense is a bigger negative than the positive of their above average defense/rebounding. However, once the offense reaches the critical point, the incremental defense/rebounding far outweighs the lack of offense.

    I don’t know where “the tipping point” is or how to measure it, but sometimes you can just see it on the court and in the results.

    I’m simplifying a little because player’s skills are never clear cut “offense or defense”, but I hope I expressed it well enough for others to understand my idea.

  23. Italian Stallion

    By the way, this concept is why I sometimes come to the defense of guy like Crawford and Randolph when they are harshly criticized.

    IMO, one of the biggest problems those guys had last year was that they were the #1 and #2 scoring option on a team without much, if any, solid outside shooting. However, neither really is or should be a primary scoring option because they simply aren’t that good!

    Someone has to take a lot of those “X” shots. A lot of the time the best option was a Randolph or Crawford “chuck” or other low quality shot because the alternative was even worse. I realize that poor coaching and ball movement was a part of that, but not all of it. You simply don’t want Q Rich, Jeffries, Lee, Balkman, etc.. taking a lot of outside shots, but sometimes that’s all you’ve got.

    If you put either of those guys on a team where they were the 3rd scoring option, their PPG would decline, but their shooting percentage and efficiency would rise and people would be happier with them.

    If Randolph was scoring 14-15 PPG with a FG% of closer to 50% plus getting his 10 rebounds because we had a dead eye SF and PG that was getting him better shots, there would be fewer complaints. Only his effort defense would be an issue.

  24. Z

    Randolph and Crawford are “chuckers” no matter what supporting cast they have. Last year was not an anomaly for either. It has nothing to do with Q and JJ and everything to do with their own selfish (Randolph) and erratic (Crawford) basketball playing.

  25. Nick

    Zach and Crawford “create” their own bad shot opportunities by dawdling away the shot clock or being either incapable or unwilling to make a useful pass unless it’s an alley oop to Curry.

  26. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Post author

    By the way, this concept is why I sometimes come to the defense of guy like Crawford and Randolph when they are harshly criticized.
    IMO, one of the biggest problems those guys had last year was that they were the #1 and #2 scoring option on a team without much, if any, solid outside shooting. However, neither really is or should be a primary scoring option because they simply aren’t that good!

    If you put either of those guys on a team where they were the 3rd scoring option, their PPG would decline, but their shooting percentage and efficiency would rise and people would be happier with them.

    Yeah but the stats don’t show this to be true. Jamal Crawford’s most efficient scoring year (in terms of TS%) was when he was the Knicks #2 scorer (#1 for the 22 games Marbury was hurt). Of Zach Randolph’s most efficient scoring seasons (by TS%), he was his team’s #1 scorer in 2 of 3 years.

    I don’t see Zach or Jamal being hurt by the lack of complementary scoring from their teammates. Jamal’s best season was when Larry Brown cut off his poor shot selection in favor of going to the rack more. To borrow a line from Shakespeare’s sister, the fault in Zach or Jamal is not in their teammates, but in themselves.

  27. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Post author

    I agree with you, but I’m still not sure you are framing the debate perfectly. If you don’t have the right complimentary players, guys like Balkman, Wallace, Chadler etc.. do become a problem.

    I’m having difficulty expressing this properly, but I’ll try again.

    Each team has “X” offensive possesions.

    If you have Paul, West, and Peja you have enough scoring, passing, outside shooting, shot creativity etc… for a high percentage of “X” to be a very efficient number. There is no need to get much from Chandler. If anything, those guys are such offensive threats, teams have to focus on them. So it leaves easier opportunities for Chandler and others and helps their efficiency too.

    That’s not what I’m saying. That’s almost the argument that the 4v5 crowd uses – that Chandler’s teammates are so good that he just picks up the crumbs.

    I think the opposite – that Chandler has a role in the offense that is just as important as any other. If you replaced him with a lesser pick & roll center that can’t finish around the hoop, rebound as well, and turns the ball over more the offense will be considerably worse. Teams can’t cheat on him defensively, because he’s likely to rebound or score efficiently around the hoop. Just as they can’t cheat on Peja because he’s likely to hit an outside shot. In that offense Chandler’s role is just as important as anyone else’s.

  28. Italian Stallion

    I agree with you guys that Crawford and Randolph take a lot of bad shots.

    I agree with you that their tendency to hold the ball, dribble too much, etc… is bad and puts the team in the position of them having to take bad shots.

    However, neither has been on a team with players that made them the clear cut 3rd scoring option (which is what both probably should be) and the Knicks are addressing the passing/teamwork issue with Duhon and Gallinari. That’s partly why those specific guys were brought in. I don’t think it will be possible to evaluate Z and Craw really well until they are on a good enough team to reduce their own shots and also get better ones from a true PG. This Knicks team should be a little better in thar regard, but both are still going to have a big offensive role.

  29. Italian Stallion
    I agree with you, but I’m still not sure you are framing the debate perfectly. If you don’t have the right complimentary players, guys like Balkman, Wallace, Chadler etc.. do become a problem.
    I’m having difficulty expressing this properly, but I’ll try again.
    Each team has “X” offensive possesions.
    If you have Paul, West, and Peja you have enough scoring, passing, outside shooting, shot creativity etc… for a high percentage of “X” to be a very efficient number. There is no need to get much from Chandler. If anything, those guys are such offensive threats, teams have to focus on them. So it leaves easier opportunities for Chandler and others and helps their efficiency too.

    That’s not what I’m saying. That’s almost the argument that the 4v5 crowd uses – that Chandler’s teammates are so good that he just picks up the crumbs.
    I think the opposite – that Chandler has a role in the offense that is just as important as any other. If you replaced him with a lesser pick & roll center that can’t finish around the hoop, rebound as well, and turns the ball over more the offense will be considerably worse. Teams can’t cheat on him defensively, because he’s likely to rebound or score efficiently around the hoop. Just as they can’t cheat on Peja because he’s likely to hit an outside shot. In that offense Chandler’s role is just as important as anyone else’s.

    I agree with you to a large extent, but apparently not entirely.

  30. Italian Stallion

    I agree with you to a large extent, but apparently not entirely.

    Sorry for the extra post.

    I agree with every word you said. I think he is being used efficiently, effectively, has some skills etc… I just think that absent three terrific offensive players (let’s say they had just two instead), Chandler having to take on a bigger role in the scoring would be slightly bigger problem for the team than you would think.

  31. Z-man

    I would be cautious in overgeneralizing here, e.g. comparing Chandler to Balkman. Chandler is a legit PF/C who can better afford to have a limited offensive game on the right team. If you combine his offensive rebounding and shotblocking, he is impacting all 9 other players on the court. Balkman, because of his size (remember, according to pre-draft stats, he is a thin 6’6″ who doesn’t jump particularly high or have a particularly freakish wingspan), is unlikely to have the same kind of impact since he would be out on the perimeter more. Considering that Balkman is even more offensively challenged than Chandler, I’m not sure what sort of mix it would take to make him get over the top of the 4vs5 arguments.

  32. Owen

    Balkman’s wingspan was measured over 7’1, which is about as freakish as you get from someone who is whatever height he is. His standing reach is average for an NBA small forward. And he certainly is quicker than the average small forward.

    Chandler is a very efficient scorer, Balkman is not, but Balkman has one of the best offensive rebounding rates in the NBA for his position. That is a very useful thing.

    You don’t need five scorers on the court, you can do just fine with a low usage scrapper out there….

  33. Italian Stallion
    By the way, this concept is why I sometimes come to the defense of guy like Crawford and Randolph when they are harshly criticized.IMO, one of the biggest problems those guys had last year was that they were the #1 and #2 scoring option on a team without much, if any, solid outside shooting. However, neither really is or should be a primary scoring option because they simply aren’t that good!…If you put either of those guys on a team where they were the 3rd scoring option, their PPG would decline, but their shooting percentage and efficiency would rise and people would be happier with them.

    Yeah but the stats don’t show this to be true. Jamal Crawford’s most efficient scoring year (in terms of TS%) was when he was the Knicks #2 scorer (#1 for the 22 games Marbury was hurt). Of Zach Randolph’s most efficient scoring seasons (by TS%), he was his team’s #1 scorer in 2 of 3 years.
    I don’t see Zach or Jamal being hurt by the lack of complementary scoring from their teammates. Jamal’s best season was when Larry Brown cut off his poor shot selection in favor of going to the rack more. To borrow a line from Shakespeare’s sister, the fault in Zach or Jamal is not in their teammates, but in themselves.

    All IMHO…….

    Rather than debate Crawford’s stats, I’d prefer to discuss this conceptually. There are too many thing involved in any one year’s stats that would muddy the waters. This should be straight forward enough that everyone will agree with my hypothetical example.

    I am not a very good ballplayer. However, if you put me on the court with a bunch of 10 years olds, I’d be the best offensive player. In a scenario like that, the smartest thing I could do is shoot whenever I was open and within my range unless someone else had a great shot or it was early enough in the possession that they might get one. Despite my mediocre shooting, I’d still hit my shot more often than anyone else on the team would hit a similar or even easier shot. That’s why I should be so aggressive.

    If I wanted to create impressive shooting and efficiency stats for myself, I could refrain from shooting unless I was inside. That would raise my FG% and efficiency, but it would hurt the team.

    If I wanted to score more points, I could extend my range, not look for my open teammates, shoot too early in the possession etc…. That in turn would raise my PPG, but kill my efficiency.

    If you put me on the court with a bunch of very good players, I would immediately become the 5th scoring option. The smartest thing I could then do is almost NEVER shoot unless it was a great shot or the clock was about to expire.

    There is a relationship between a player’s skill level relative to his teammates and what the most effective decisions are for him to benefit the team that are not always consistent with producing the highest efficiency possible (or highest PPG).

    In my first example, I should shoot like crazy even though it would kill my efficiency.

    With Crawford and Zach, there are two things going on that make them a problem.

    1. Both of them “choose” to take shots they “shouldn’t” take and hold the ball too often etc… That is the part of their game that everyone can see plain as day and it is worthy of criticism. This is the part that the D’Antoni needs to correct via the addition of new players, instilling discipline, coming up with better plays etc…

    2. Neither of these guys is really all that good an outside shooter, but they are sometimes CORRECT to take those mediocre shots that don’t look that great because on this team the alternatives are sometimes worse.

    It would be extremely easy for me to turn both of these guys into super duper efficient scorers. All I’d have to do if gather together a few Sicilian mob members and make them an offer they can’t refuse. ;-)

    “Don’t shoot unless you are within 10 feet and wide open or you die!”

    Their efficiency stats would soar, but the Knicks would be a worse team because at times they would pass up on shots that they should be taking.

    The way to correct the problem is to eliminate their bad decisions and to add better offensive players so that even more of their shots are no longer the best option.

  34. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Post author

    I don’t agree with that example at all, at least with how it related to the NBA. In the you vs 10 year old example, your efficiency would be much higher than the average 10 year old. That’s why you would shoot so much. Sure you could improve your efficiency by only taking inside shots, but that would be foolish since you’re already so efficient (comparatively).

    However to make your example similar to Crawford/Randolph you would be jacking up shots whenever you got the ball irrespective of whether or not you had a better chance of scoring than the average 10 year old. In other words you would be worse than an average 10 year old, and your team would be better off with you on the bench.

    Maybe that’s what we need, to replace Zach Randolph with a 10 year old.

  35. Mel

    its one thing to look at Crawford’s shooting and say he shouldn’t have the ball…but while he shoots a low % he creates better shots for others which is why the team shot a much higher efg with him on the court than with him off it last season.

    http://www.82games.com/0708/07NYK3D.HTM

    the same is not the case for Zach , and for that reason alone they should not be talked about the same way…

  36. caleb

    absent three terrific offensive players (let’s say they had just two instead), Chandler having to take on a bigger role in the scoring would be slightly bigger problem for the team than you would think.

    Absent three terrific offensive players, the team would have a big problem but it wouldn’t be Chandler, IMO. (btw, who is the third “terrific” offensive player? And is David West really “terrific,” or just “good?”)

    It’s remarkable how consistent basketball players’ stats are, compared to other sports. There just isn’t a big difference year to year, no matter the coach, the teammates, etc. Crawford and Randolph, like other NBA’ers, are what they are.

    Neither is an awful player – they might even be average or near-average NBA starters – but as long as they’re among the best 3 or 4 players on the team, the team is gonna suck. Worse, much worse, we pay them so much we’re capped out and can’t bring in better players. That’s not really their fault, but it’s why we’re so frustrated.

  37. Italian Stallion

    I don’t agree with that example at all, at least with how it related to the NBA. In the you vs 10 year old example, your efficiency would be much higher than the average 10 year old. That’s why you would shoot so much. Sure you could improve your efficiency by only taking inside shots, but that would be foolish since you’re already so efficient (comparatively).
    However to make your example similar to Crawford/Randolph you would be jacking up shots whenever you got the ball irrespective of whether or not you had a better chance of scoring than the average 10 year old. In other words you would be worse than an average 10 year old, and your team would be better off with you on the bench.
    Maybe that’s what we need, to replace Zach Randolph with a 10 year old.

    I guess my example wasn’t perfect because I would be better than most 10 years around the league, but it does make the points I was trying to make.

    Sometimes the best player on the court should shoot a tough shot even if he’s a mediocre shooter simply because his teammates are even worse.

    A player’s efficiency can be impacted by the lack of talent on his team because some situations may call for him to take poor shots that he would/should not take on a better team.

    The Knicks could probably use a few 10 years olds. ;-)

  38. Italian Stallion

    its one thing to look at Crawford’s shooting and say he shouldn’t have the ball…but while he shoots a low % he creates better shots for others which is why the team shot a much higher efg with him on the court than with him off it last season.
    http://www.82games.com/0708/07NYK3D.HTM
    the same is not the case for Zach , and for that reason alone they should not be talked about the same way…

    Interesting stat.

    I never really looked at that, but wouldn’t that typically be more true of guards than PFs.

  39. Italian Stallion
    It’s remarkable how consistent basketball players’ stats are, compared to other sports. There just isn’t a big difference year to year, no matter the coach, the teammates, etc. Crawford and Randolph, like other NBA’ers, are what they are.

    I think the differences are subtile but enough to matter in close games. Granted it would take a lot to make the Knicks a top team, but it would not shock me if “all else being equal” the Knicks improved their record quite a bit simply if Gallinari (or Chandler) turned out to be a strong scoring/shooting threat and reduced the role of Zach and Crawford. Unfortunately, all else will not be equal. The pace is likely to be faster, other teams in the conference have improved a lot (probably more than the Knicks), and there will other differences.

    I do think we’ll be able to tell though. The level of our frustration (or lack of) with Crawford and Randolph will become apparent after awhile.

  40. Ted Nelson

    IS,

    “A player’s efficiency can be impacted by the lack of talent on his team because some situations may call for him to take poor shots that he would/should not take on a better team.”

    As Caleb said, Crawford and Randolph have put up similar stats every single year of their careers, as teammates have come and gone. They’ve had up years and down years, but fairly consistent with the type of players they’ve been. They’ve both mostly played on bad teams, but considering their shooting volumes and salaries you could argue that they’re as much to blame for that fact as any player.

    “Sometimes the best player on the court should shoot a tough shot even if he’s a mediocre shooter simply because his teammates are even worse.”

    This is where I really disagree with you. Organized basketball is about the team working together to get the best shot. Ball movement and player movement lead to the best shot, not an inefficient scorer jacking up the first shot he can. In the last few minutes of an import game maybe the defense clamps down and an individual play might make the difference between a win and loss, but the Knicks were often down by 20 points in the first quarter. They need to move the ball and get good, easy looks. It’s tough when very few of your rotation players have won above the high school level.

    Mel,

    Crawford’s effect is likely exaggerated because he played 80% of the Knicks’ minutes and his backups were Mardy Collins and Fred Jones. Besides his first season in NY, Crawford has made the Knicks more efficient in terms of eFG%, but by more like 1 or 2 percentage points not 4.

    Generally I agree that Crawford and Randolph are not bad basketball players, just miscast and overpaid. I like Crawford more than Randolph in part because he’s been a coach’s favorite for 2 HOF coaches as well as Isiah: he seems to want to win and shows up in shape, he just never learned how to win after leaving a corrupt Michigan program too early and coming into the league to play for 2 straight dysfunctional organizations. Randolph is about as efficient on his career as Crawford, despite being a 4 and not a combo-guard. Plus he’s paid a lot more. So, yeah, I guess it’s tough to compare the two.

    IS, I don’t think a guard necessarily has more of an effect on the team’s shooting efficiency. Boozer had almost a percentage point higher effect on the Jazz than Williams, for example.

  41. Italian Stallion

    Ted,

    “As Caleb said, Crawford and Randolph have put up similar stats every single year of their careers, as teammates have come and gone.”

    I’ve seen their stats over the years. I’ve just never seen their stats when they were on a high level playoff team and they were the 3rd scoring option because they’ve never been in that situation.

    I don’t think it’s too much to ask to wait for either to actually be on a good team before being sure how they would perform.

    “Organized basketball is about the team working together to get the best shot. Ball movement and player movement lead to the best shot, not an inefficient scorer jacking up the first shot he can.”

    I agree with you 100%. I’m talking about the shots at the margins where there is a choice to be made.

    Does it make sense for Crawford or Randolph to shoot a mediocre shot when the passing hasn’t lead to an easy attempt if the alternative is a jumper by Balkman, Jeffries, Lee, Qrich, Collins, or Rose?

    I think so. I don’t think they should make that last pass for a similar quality shot by one of those guys. They should take the mediocre shot and hope for the best. (and they often do)

    Now create the same exact situation except that the alternative is Monta Ellis, Josh Childress, or Mike Miller and you definitely make the extra pass and let that guy take the mediocre shot. If they don’t make the pass, you smack them in the head. ;-)

  42. Ted Nelson

    The reason consistency is import is because it often carries over to a new role. I can’t think of too much precedent for a guy going from an inefficient featured offensive player to an efficient role player in their late 20s. Sheed took what might be a reduced role (not sure how much Detroit’s slow pace affects his FGA/minute) making the transition in his 29 year old season but his scoring efficiency went down from his career averages. Finley’s efficiency has been around his career averages in SA in his early 30s.
    SAR might be a good example, his efficiency went up at 28 and 29 in a reduced role. His efficiency was already higher than Randolph’s or Crawford’s as a featured player, though.

    Of course having a 3rd or 4th scorer who makes $16 mill per and doesn’t give much effort on D (Randolph) is a hard pill to swallow.

    —————————————–

    The thing is that the Knicks rarely moved the ball or themselves well last season. That’s not all on Crawford and Randolph, but as the leading shot takers per minute you have to expect some sort of leadership. It’s not just about making the “extra pass” it’s about moving the ball and themselves in the first place to set up the defense and get a good shot. Not standing around and settling for contested jumpers.

    The top 5 alternatives in terms of total FGAs were Nate Robinson (.485 eFG%), David Lee (.552), Q (.421), Curry (.546), Fred Jones (.507). Besides for Q they were more efficient from the field, I don’t see why (theoretically) Jamal and Zach shouldn’t have passed them the ball.

  43. Owen

    The US Volleyball team beat Russia in Volleyball in one of the best sporting events I have witnessed in a long long time. The US won the first two sets, the Russian responded by winning the next two. In the final set the US team was struggling terribly to win a point on serve before a well-named hero emerged, blocking 6-11 star Volkhov, spiking the next sideout opportunity, and finally blocking the Russian stud outside hitter Mikhailyov for the win. His name you ask?

    David Lee…..

  44. Brian Cronin

    I saw Nate today, waiting for an elevator.

    I would never have guessed it was him had it not been pointed out to me.

  45. Ted Nelson

    I missed the beginning of this discussion. Just read your initial posts, here are some thoughts.

    “I agree with you, but I’m still not sure you are framing the debate perfectly. If you don’t have the right complimentary players, guys like Balkman, Wallace, Chadler etc.. do become a problem.”

    A big question I have is why those guys are big problems if there teammates aren’t good??? I would consider the teammates to be the problem. I threw this out there in a previous thread and as far as I know got no response, but what team has ever won with a bunch of mediocre players? If you don’t have a great player (say, Chris Paul), it’s better to have a mediocre all-around player than a player who’s very good at a few important things (say, Tyson Chandler)?

    “Take West or Peja (or God forbid Paul) out of the equation and the team is going to need more shooting and scoring out of Chandler.”
    “I just think that absent three terrific offensive players (let’s say they had just two instead), Chandler having to take on a bigger role in the scoring would be slightly bigger problem for the team than you would think.”

    Take West and Peja out of the equation and replace them with, for example, Zach Randolph and Nate Robinson and the offense likely gets worse, but the number of shots attempted by either set of players would be (has been) very close. The offense would likely get worse because Nate and Zach would likely be less efficient than Peja and West, but Tyson Chandler would likely have a very similar offensive burden: a similar number of FGA per minute whether on the court with West and Peja or Zach and Nate.
    To look at it in another way, David Lee managed to shoot a TS% of .606 on 2 FGAs per 36 more than Chandler in the Knicks’ offense with Nate and Zach, is it reasonable to assume that if you replace them with Peja and West David Lee would suddenly shoot a TS% of .700???

    “I guess what I am “suggesting” is that there’s a point where their lack of offense is a bigger negative than the positive of their above average defense/rebounding.”

    This contradicts your statement that there are only x possessions to go around. Because there are only x possessions to go around there are only x + offensive rebounds FGAs to go around. Unless you want an offense where everyone on the court takes (x+orebs)/5 shots (which you explicitly said isn’t realistic and would contradict your position that Jamal Crawford and Zach Randolph should heave the ball at the basket whenever they get the chance because they’re supposedly better than their teammates) you’re going to have someone out there taking relatively few FGAs per minute. In this case it matters how efficiently that guy score on his limited FGAs, as well as what else he brings to the table: creating possessions, maintaining possessions, helping the offense score more efficiently through ball movement and moving himself (screens, spacing, cutting to the basket, etc.).

    “I don’t think it will be possible to evaluate Z and Craw really well until they are on a good enough team to reduce their own shots and also get better ones from a true PG.”

    Then I guess we cant evaluate any player on a team that doesn’t get home court in the playoffs…

  46. Ted Nelson

    I missed the beginning of this discussion. Just read your initial posts, here are some thoughts.

    “I agree with you, but I’m still not sure you are framing the debate perfectly. If you don’t have the right complimentary players, guys like Balkman, Wallace, Chadler etc.. do become a problem.”

    A big question I have is why those guys are big problems if there teammates aren’t good??? I would consider the teammates to be the problem. I threw this out there in a previous thread and as far as I know got no response, but what team has ever won with a bunch of mediocre players? If you don’t have a great player (say, Chris Paul), it’s better to have a mediocre all-around player than a player who’s very good at a few important things (say, Tyson Chandler)?

    “Take West or Peja (or God forbid Paul) out of the equation and the team is going to need more shooting and scoring out of Chandler.”
    “I just think that absent three terrific offensive players (let’s say they had just two instead), Chandler having to take on a bigger role in the scoring would be slightly bigger problem for the team than you would think.”

    Take West and Peja out of the equation and replace them with, for example, Zach Randolph and Nate Robinson and the offense likely gets worse, but the number of shots attempted by either set of players would be (has been) very close. The offense would likely get worse because Nate and Zach would likely be less efficient than Peja and West, but Tyson Chandler would likely have a very similar offensive burden: a similar number of FGA per minute whether on the court with West and Peja or Zach and Nate.
    To look at it in another way, David Lee managed to shoot a TS% of .606 on 2 FGAs per 36 more than Chandler in the Knicks’ offense with Nate and Zach, is it reasonable to assume that if you replace them with Peja and West David Lee would suddenly shoot a TS% of .700???

    “I guess what I am “suggesting” is that there’s a point where their lack of offense is a bigger negative than the positive of their above average defense/rebounding.”

    This contradicts your statement that there are only x possessions to go around. Because there are only x possessions to go around there are only x + offensive rebounds FGAs to go around. Unless you want an offense where everyone on the court takes (x+orebs)/5 shots (which you explicitly said isn’t realistic and would contradict your position that Jamal Crawford and Zach Randolph should heave the ball at the basket whenever they get the chance because they’re supposedly better than their teammates) you’re going to have someone out there taking relatively few FGAs per minute. In this case it matters how efficiently that guy score on his limited FGAs, as well as what else he brings to the table: creating possessions, maintaining possessions, helping the offense score more efficiently through ball movement and moving himself (screens, spacing, cutting to the basket, etc.).

    “I don’t think it will be possible to evaluate Z and Craw really well until they are on a good enough team to reduce their own shots and also get better ones from a true PG.”

    Then I guess we can’t evaluate any player on a team that doesn’t get home court in the playoffs…

  47. Mel

    “Interesting stat.

    I never really looked at that, but wouldn’t that typically be more true of guards than PFs.”

    no is is absolutely not true, its a purely 50/50 thing, some on a team will do it and some wont .

    Crawford actually has been on the court and his team has shot better from the field in 5 of the 6 seasons 82games.com has kept the stat, the year he didn’t 04-05 his 1st year with the knicks it mostly due to Marbury really being the guy who made them go , he was 9th in the league in +/- and the team shot much better when he was on the court,

    Crawford on the other hand despite a career high in scoring didn’t really play all that great adjusting to a new team, city, marbury’s ball domination and system.

    “Mel,

    Crawford’s effect is likely exaggerated because he played 80% of the Knicks’ minutes and his backups were Mardy Collins and Fred Jones. Besides his first season in NY, Crawford has made the Knicks more efficient in terms of eFG%, but by more like 1 or 2 percentage points not 4.

    Generally I agree that Crawford and Randolph are not bad basketball players, just miscast and overpaid. I like Crawford more than Randolph in part because he’s been a coach’s favorite for 2 HOF coaches as well as Isiah: he seems to want to win and shows up in shape, he just never learned how to win after leaving a corrupt Michigan program too early and coming into the league to play for 2 straight dysfunctional organizations. Randolph is about as efficient on his career as Crawford, despite being a 4 and not a combo-guard. Plus he’s paid a lot more. So, yeah, I guess it’s tough to compare the two.”

    while i do agree his backups sucking had something to do with the somewhat large disparity I think by now it should be obvious he isn’t the detriment people often make him out to be just because of his shooting % becuase his teams shoot better with him on the court rather consistently despite his role changes , as leading scorer , off the bench , point guard and at the 2.

    i think he is a starter caliber player better suited as a spark off the bench or a 3rd option whose role is to get the offense going when it stagnates sort of like manu in S.A., he is however basically the knicks best player right now, in that sense he is miscast , he was originally signed to be a 3rd guard.

  48. Ron Hitley

    Hey, thanks for linking this up, Mike. I must make time to read through the comments here. Looks like an interesting discussion.

    Keep doing what you do.

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