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Saturday, November 29, 2014

Unsung Knick History – The Starks Ejection That HELPED the Knicks

This is the sixth in a series (of indefinite length and regularity) of examinations into different games, events and decisions that impacted Knicks history in some way, shape or form. Stories that are not as famous as, say, “The Dunk” or Willis Reed playing Game 7, but still have a place in Knicks history, especially for die-hard fans. Here is an archive of all the stories featured so far.

John Starks was one of the most popular Knicks of the 1990s and he perhaps was also the Knick with the most interesting mythology surrounding his life and career. For instance, we all know by heart the story of how Starks, playing on a non-guaranteed contract and feeling (most likely correctly) that he was about to be cut, tried to wow everyone by dunking on Patrick Ewing during the last game of the Knicks’ 1990 training camp. Ewing, of course, easily swatted him to the ground, injuring Starks’ knee. The injured Starks was not allowed to be cut until healthy, and by the time his knee was healthy, Trent Tucker had gotten hurt so the Knicks now did need a back-up guard, and the rest was history. That is just one small piece of the Starks mythology, which also includes the story of how he was working as a bagger at a grocery store at one point before going back to college. This story, however, is about Starks’ trademark fiery nature, which he never was quite able to control. Sometimes it would hurt the Knicks (like when he got ejected for head-butting Reggie Miller in the 1993 playoffs), but today we look at a incident Starks was involved in that, in a roundabout way, ended up helping the Knicks.

John Starks graduated Oklahoma State (the third, and highest profile, college that he played for – he attended two other schools but he did not play ball for them) in 1988. However, he went undrafted in the 1988 NBA Draft. He played for the San Antonio Spurs in the Summer League where he caught the eye of the coach of the Golden State Warriors, Don Nelson. Nelson signed Starks for the entire 1988-89 season, but Starks only played in 36 games for the Warriors, averaging under nine minutes per game. At the end of the season, Starks was let go (Nelson found him to be a bit “too wild”). However, he had somewhat proven himself to at least be someone who could play a little bit in the NBA, and in fact, amusingly enough, in the summer of 1989, Starks was given an invitation to play for the Summer League team of the…(wait for it)…Indiana Pacers!!! The Pacers were not exactly stacked at guard in the 1989-90 season, with Vern Fleming, George McCloud, Reggie Miller, Mike Sanders and Randy Wittman being their only “locks” at the two guard spots, so Starks had a very good chance of making the squad. However, soon before the offer was made, Starks suffered an ankle injury. He had to turn the Pacers down. The Pacers ended up signing veteran guard Rickey Green for their last guard spot – looking back, you have to figure Starks could have beaten out Green (Green was cut after just the one year on the Pacers). Talk about a change in history! Imagine Starks and Reggie Miller side-by-side!

In any event, with the injury, Starks could not catch on with any NBA team, so he had to turn his sights to the Continental Basketball Association (CBA). Starks played for the Cedar Rapids Silver Bullets and he excelled, averaging over 20 points a game in the 1989-90 season and becoming a CBA All-Star (I believe Starks is still the only player to ever make the CBA and the NBA All-Star Game). Well, as you might imagine, when you are an All-Star in the CBA (and you managed to play a year in the NBA), you’re going to draw some attention, and the Detroit Pistons were very interested. The 1989-90 Pistons would go on to win the NBA Title, but if you recall, they were terribly thin at the back-up guard spot. Yeah, they had Vinnie Johnson, but other than him they ended up going with the re-animated corpse of Gerald Henderson as their fourth guard (or playing Mark Aguirre at the 2, where he really did not belong). The Pistons tried out some pretty iffy guys at the guard spot that season, including such NBA luminaries as Stan Kimbrough and Ralph Lewis, so when news got to Starks that the Pistons were interested, the odds of him getting a shot with the Pistons with a 10-day contract were extremely likely, and with the Silver Bullets playing for a spot in the CBA playoffs, the games were a good place for the Pistons to see what Starks had going on. The problem was, with the games being so important, they also brought out Starks’ fiery side as well. Late in a game one night, Starks got called for a foul. He did not like the call, and he went after the referee about the call. He accidentally bumped chests with the referee (well, according to Starks it was accidental, and the ref later did claim it was an accident, but it was too late to save Starks) and, well, things went downhill from there. Starks was ejected from the game and suspended for the rest of the CBA season. The Pistons, naturally enough, were scared off of signing Starks, so his NBA career was put on hold.

Which, of course, was lucky for the Knicks, as later that year, after playing well in the 1990 Summer League (I don’t know which team he played for in Summer League – anyone know for sure?) Starks got a spot on the Knicks pre-season camp despite the negative the buzz around the league about Starks with his multiple colleges attended, his down marks from Nelson and the ref-bumping incident. It helped that the Knicks had recently signed Johnnie Newman from the CBA and that had worked out well. So Starks got his chance, and as we know, he made the most of it as he went on to have a great career for the Knicks, including an All-Star Berth and one Sixth Man of the Year Award! Oh, and “The Dunk.”

Thanks to our own blog head honcho Mike Kurylo for suggesting I do a story on Starks’ CBA career and thanks to John Starks’ nifty auto-biography, John Starks: My Life, for the information!

If you folks dig these stories, you’d probably also get a kick out of my Sports Legends Revealed site. There is an archive of the ones about basketball here.

If you have any suggestions for future Unsung Knicks History pieces, drop me a line at cronb01@aol.com! I’d prefer you share your suggestions via e-mail rather than in the comments section, so we can keep them a surprise! Thanks!

85 comments on “Unsung Knick History – The Starks Ejection That HELPED the Knicks

  1. BigBlueAL

    I loved Starks like every other Knicks fan did, but once the Knicks got Allan Houston I realized how bad Starks was offensively compared to the fairly efficient Houston. Not to mention how beautiful Houston’s game was compared to Starks.

    Of course Starks was a better defender and a much better passer. I think Starks was kinda misused as a SG because he was more of a combo guard and really more of a PG. Also for as hard as he defended he was too small to cover many opposing SG’s. Starks was kinda a smaller version of Spree. Both were loved for their passion and playing hard yet were very inefficient and streaky on offense compared to the less passionate but much better offensive player (at least scoring wise) in Houston.

    Regardless I absolutely LOVED all 3 players, flaws and all.

  2. Brian Cronin

    Heck, even Houston was not exactly the most efficient member of the Knicks.

    Gallo’s worse of his two shooting years as a Knick is better than Houston’s best shooting year as a Knick (efficiency-wise). Houston only cracked a .56 TS% twice as a Knick, and he never cracked .57!

  3. Kikuchiyo

    Well, if the Russian is going to get minutes for the Knicks this year, I can try out a new nickname for the our new favorite inside combo:

    Mozgov and Mazel Tov.

  4. Jafa

    So far,

    Mozgov – 9 points on 4 of 5 shooting with 2 steals and 1 block. Liking that a lot.

    Mozgov – 1 rebound and 3 personal fouls. Not liking that so much.

  5. Jafa

    By the way, Kevin Durant is just out of this world. He is the primary scoring option and the best player on this team, and yet the Russians can’t slow him down. And he is already filling up the stat sheet. I like this guy better than Melo.

  6. Ted Nelson

    Even though it was a very costly foul, loved the Mozgov block on Derrick Rose. It was a bit of a questionable call anyway in my opinion, and Rose is as athletic and drives as well as just about any guard in the NBA. Despite the foul trouble, Timo didn’t exactly lack for athleticism against the uber-athletic US team…

    I was sort of amazed Russia didn’t pound the ball inside to Mozgov more on offense. They often didn’t seem to look for him at all and took poor shots instead.

    Jafa, Durant’s a lot better than Melo: http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/pcm_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=0&p1=duranke01&y1=2010&p2=anthoca01&y2=2006&p3=anthoca01&y3=2010

  7. Caleb

    That’s a bad move for the Bulls, good for Denver, although it leaves the Nugs with sort of an unbalanced roster.

    I am big Noah fan and would love for it to shake out somehow for him to land with the Knicks next summer. Obviously would require some complicated S&T.

  8. Z-man

    Ted and Jafa,
    Durant is way better than Melo, and probably will the 2nd best player in the league this year. Can he be better than LeBron? I think eventually it is possible. He is a more versatile offensive player (better than LBJ from the perimeter, I think) and is longer defensively. He might be mentally tougher as well. LeBron is much more physically imposing, though. As to who I would rather have on the Knicks, I would certainly rather root for Durant than LeBron. By the way, weren’t lots of KBers killing Durant his rookie year (too skinny, etc.?) That’s why I am so adamant about not trading Randolph for anybody until we get a good look at him. Maybe he is slower on the uptake than Durant, but he is the closest thing we have ever had to that kind of potential.

    Mozgov did not embarrass himself by any means, but showed that he must develop his b-ball IQ and his game if he is going to make an impact. I noticed that he was not put in good rebounding position by Blatt’s O and D schemes, so it is hard to tell whether his lack of rebounds is about him or about the situation. Re: the foul, as a showcase foul in preseason it is a good one, but he killed his team’s chances with it. Like many undeveloped NBA defensive prospects he has to learn to intimidate without fouling, especially when you already are in foul trouble. He fouled by going through the player with his lower body to get to the shot. He needs to use his length more and his body less. A good big man coach would probably help him a lot. There were some troubling sequences…the airball jumper (nice move, though) and the poor pass out of the post.

    I think we can safely assume that he is an NBA player, though, even if just for spot minutes at first.

    I think USA has their work cut out for them and very well could get knocked off. Their lack of size was very evident in this game.

  9. Ben R

    I thought Mozgov did well. I actually think Russia should have gone down to him in the post more often. Russia was a better team with him on the court. In fact Russia has been noticibly better all tournament when he’s on the court. His +/- this game is very promising. I know it does not mean alot but in 24 minutes he was on the court Russia outscored the USA by 7 points in the 16 minutes he sat USA outscored Russia by 17.

    Also I am not worried about his rebounding. On his Euroleague team he is an outstanding rebounder averaging over 12 per 40 in both seasons he has played.

  10. adrenaline98

    Without taking Deng back, which Nuggets absolutely do not want to do, they cannot make the salaries match. Bulls are capped or close to it I believe. So I don’t see how any of these deals will work (assuming Boozer stays). Nuggets clearly don’t want long term contracts back. If they give up on their franchise player, then why pay for long term deals with the new CBA? The Knicks actually would have a better offer on the table for rebuilding the Nuggets as all of their contracts (or most that would be traded) are set to expire next season. Denver would get to rebuild without cap restrictions and lower salaries and would be in a great position (great considering loss of Anthony).

    So the question would be if they’re willing to take back a package including Deng to make the deal work. Two injury prone ‘role’players. Noah is technically much more than a role player but his offensive limitations really belong under roleplayer category. Deng is good all-around but fits into the roleplayer area as he will never be the star to carry a team. I don’t understand why these writers write off the Knicks roster. I think if anything, Walsh would do almost any deal for Anthony and Denver would have the pick of the litter on two possible young big men, if not both of them.

  11. massive

    I’m not worried about Mozgov’s rebounding. Mozgov wasn’t grabbing many rebounds because he was all over the court. I mean there were some times where he ended up guarding Chauncey Billups. And his Euroleague rebounding numbers look pretty promising, anyway. I think D’Antoni was impressed by him because he has versatility for a C. He’s quick for a 5, can shoot the 15 footer, is very good at boxing out, can be a legit last line of defense (Derrick Rose can verify), and his constant motion allows him to play all over the floor. He looked pretty good against the US, kind of unstoppable in the paint. I’m sure I’m jumping the gun here, but I think he’ll outplay Turiaf for the start at C sometime during the season.

  12. Ted Nelson

    re: Melo rumor

    Doesn’t sound like anything more than a rumor at this point. Chicago *may* be willing to offer Noah, but it also mentions that Denver’s GM doesn’t want to trade Melo. Chicago may have an advantage in the Melo race since they are under the cap by maybe like 7 mill or something. Not that it’s necessarily a bad thing for the Knicks to not trade for Melo.

    Roster balance wise would be a strange move from both sides, would be interesting to see what other adjustments were made (trades, small/big line-ups…). I guess Bulls might be very high on Asik as their 5, and they do have reason to be.

    Z-Man,

    I also said Durant is a lot better than Melo.

    “Can he be better than LeBron? I think eventually it is possible. He is a more versatile offensive player (better than LBJ from the perimeter, I think) and is longer defensively.”

    More versatile? LeBron is both the best wing in the league and the best PG. Possibly the best playmaker in the whole league. He drives and finishes better than Durant. Durant is an excellent and versatile scorer, but I wouldn’t call him “a more versatile offensive player” than LeBron. He can score more efficiently from outside, sure. A better jump shooter. Honestly not by all that much, though: last season Durant hit .452 eFG% on 75% Js, while LeBron hit .436 on 64% Js. LeBron, however, is also more versatile in that he’s a better driver and inside scorer than Durant. He gets inside more and scores more efficiently when he’s there. Durant is younger, so we’ll see. His body doesn’t look like it’s getting a lot bigger, though, and the chances he develops Magic Johnson/LeBron type passing skills are low.

    Durant may be #2 or surpass LeBron in a sense if his production goes down in Miami, but Dwight Howard and Chris Paul will give him a lot of competition. Dwayne Wade maybe bounces back with his new teammates and hopefully Amare is in the discussion too.

    “By the way, weren’t lots of KBers killing Durant his rookie year (too skinny, etc.?)”

    He scored inefficiency as a rookie and pretty much deserved to be killed. Randolph doesn’t have nearly the scoring ability of Durant… I’m not saying trade Randolph, I just don’t think it’s entirely comparable. If AR scores 27.5 pts/36 at a 60% TS% for 82 games… I’ll die of shock.

    re: Mozgov… Agree about the rebounding. Don’t know what it is. Sometimes he was clearly back on D as soon as the shot went up–Blatt’s scheme–but sometimes he may very well have just been wondering around the court aimlessly… Hard to say. His rebounding in Euroleague was strong enough that I certainly think he’ll be better than he’s been this tournament.

    I don’t agree 100% about the foul. There was some contact with the lower body, but from what I remember it wasn’t like he knocked Rose off course. Ultimately, yeah, he can’t pick up that 4th foul. His other option was really to give Rose a free pass to the basket, and that’s probably what he should have done in the context. Evaluating him as a Knicks’ prospect, though, I was glad to see him reject Derrick Rose. He’s athletic enough to guard the paint in the NBA.

    His offensive game is basically limited to rolling to the basket for easy looks, but Knicks don’t necessarily need more than that. Post game isn’t terrible, but pretty unrefined. Wasn’t able to do much of anything to Chandler in the post. What also impressed me was his ability to switch onto Billups and lock him down… Would have been more impressive were it Rose or Westbrook, but still impressive. Billups is a damn good NBA PG and Mozgov can guard him well.

    re: USA

    Russia is pretty good. They’re European champions. They played the US well for 1/2 a game. Certainly the US “very well could get knocked off”… that’s what the tournament’s all about. Any of the teams left could beat the US on any given night, but the US just handled the European champions (without AK or Holden… true) and one of the most physical teams in the tournament easily. Maybe the best defensive team in the tournament outside the US. The US have a really good chance to win… you can’t ask for a 100% chance… it’s not possible.

    With Manu I would give Argentina a lot better chance. I don’t see size killing the US against the remaining teams. There’s not Pau Gasol out there. Scola is good, but no bigger than 5 or 6 guys on the US side. Asik is big, but Chandler should be able to match up with him. Lithuania plays mostly small-ball. Serbia is big, but their bigs aren’t dominant: if you had an NBA team with Odom and Chandler at the 5 vs. an NBA team with Kristic and Perovic… who would you give the advantage to? Odom and Chandler are clearly the most distinguished players of the 4.

    As always, ridiculously hot shooting is what can beat the US… especially combined with poor US shooting. The remaining teams generally have better scorers/shooters than Russia. Any of them CAN beat the US. The US is so deep and talented, though, that over 40 minutes I’d give them about a 75% chance to win the tournament… 25% divided among 3 other eventual contenders…

  13. adrenaline98

    I think we’re all overanalyzing Mozgov. FIBA is not reflective of anything really. The rules are somewhat different. The team chemistry is different as well. The Knicks aren’t going to be the Russian team. While it’s fun to look at his potential, I think counting his positives and negatives within 1 game is a bit underwhelming in terms of actually projecting him.

    For someone that may or may not see game time, and who more than likely will not make any sort of impact in year 1, our expectations are a bit high. That’s the MO of a Knicks fan now. Any prospect that has any sort of glimpse is now the next possible superstar, and we need to temper our expectations a little, whether calling him the next all-star or the next bust.

    Then again, without these discussions, what’re we going to do for two more months.

  14. Ted Nelson

    “I actually think Russia should have gone down to him in the post more often.”

    I was thinking the same, but then they did go to him in the post a few times… Not pretty. Would have liked to see them try to pick and roll with him or get him some cutting opportunities off screens.

    “Without taking Deng back, which Nuggets absolutely do not want to do, they cannot make the salaries match. Bulls are capped or close to it I believe.”

    Bulls have about $5 mill under the cap I think.

    To match Melo’s $17.15 requires about $13 mill: $12.92 mill * 1.25 = $16.15 mill + $1 mill… as I remember you are allowed to trade for up to 1.25 times outgoing salaries + $1 mill. If the Bulls are $5 mill under the cap, they only have to send out $8 mill. Something like Noah, CJ Watson, and James Johnson would get them to almost $8 mill. Off-season would be the time to do that so Denver doesn’t have the 15 roster spots restriction.

    Deng isn’t much worse than Melo, so if Denver took him back they wouldn’t be doing badly.

  15. Ted Nelson

    “For someone that may or may not see game time, and who more than likely will not make any sort of impact in year 1, our expectations are a bit high.”

    What’s that based on though? If you’ve never actually seen him, how can you assume he’s a lesser player than Ronny Turiaf based surely on media hype? Is Turiaf really that amazing a player? Eddy Curry?

    You have to actually see him play before you have an opinion on whether he can earn game time, whether he will have any impact in year 1.

    Let’s also be clear that no one is calling him the next Dwight Howard. The comparisons that have been thrown around are more along the lines of Marcin Gortat as a best-case. People are thinking maybe he can be a contributor, not a “superstar.” I honestly don’t know which comments led you to believe otherwise.

    It’s not one game, it’s been 7 actual tournament games.

    ” FIBA is not reflective of anything really. The rules are somewhat different.”

    I strongly disagree with this. Teams tend to be more fluid and the level of talent varies wildly from team-to-team, but generally the best players still play the best basketball. Durant is the US team’s leading scorer, for example… not exactly a surprise. Most of the other top performers are also world class professional players in their day jobs.

    More importantly, I think that most of the things we’re discussing re: Timo are things that will carry over. For example… Positive: athleticism to hang with uber-athletic US team… not going to change whether he’s on Russia or the Knicks. Positive: finishes well when cutting to the basket… not changing. Negative: ineffective in the post against Tyson Chandler… again, that one-on-one match-up will be the same if the Knicks play the Mavericks. Negative: foul trouble… not likely to change short-term unless he’s a lot less aggressive.

    If you look at someone’s overall game or something like PPG… sure, FIBA WCs are useless. Kirk Penney is not better than all the US guards just because he scored more PPG in the tourney. Luis Scola is not going to score 30 PPG for Houston this season. However, commenters are looking at particular plays and particular instances. If he can guard Billups on the perimeter 1-on-1 here, why not in the NBA? Whether he can handle the team and mental aspect of the game in the NBA is another question, but not one people are really attempting to answer. The farthest people are going is …I have a hunch he can beat out Turiaf as some point… That might say as much about their faith in Turiaf as Timo.

  16. Caleb

    Highly unlikely, but the trade I’d like to see is something like:
    Bulls get Melo

    Nugs get Gallo, a Bulls pick and something like Walker & Turiaf… maybe KA to make the salaries work

    Knicks get Noah and salary match guys

    This would require a)The Nugs to give up on getting a superstar in return; b) Walsh to accept getting Noah over Melo. A) is more likely, but aside from the on-court talent question, that deal WOULD save the Knicks $5-8 million in cap space. Good if you’re hunting for Chris Paul the next summer.

  17. ess-dog

    I liked the look of Mosgov. He’s already very good at a few things: Picking and rolling (mostly his picks but he has a good roll too but could improve his finishing although it’s very good since he dunks a lot), defending the paint through swatting the ball (he needs to get better at “bodying” people out of the paint), and blocking out his man (he has great form at this.) His rebounding is still a bit of an unknown, but if he can board too then that is exactly what we need as a center next to Amare or Randolph.
    I believe he has room to improve other areas of his game but it’s amazing that Walsh found such a good complementary part where no one else could grab him. He probably won’t start next year, but should he improve, he could start eventually and he should be a real help this season.
    Re: Anthony, the Bulls should probably do that trade. The Nuggs should get 2 picks as well, especially if they absorb Deng. Maybe the Bulls would take JR Smith too. That would make the Bulls quite talented. Should that happen, it would give us a clearer path to Fernandez at least. I would probably prefer our current team with Fernandez than a team with Melo minus Randolph and Gallo.
    I really hope Gallo brings his A game this year.

  18. Ted Nelson

    Caleb,

    I would like to get Noah, and right now he’s better than Gallo. Depends how you feel about Gallo’s development, though, as well as the Knicks short-term chances. I like Noah, but Gallo has a chance to be a more valuable overall player down the road… We’ll see if he gets there. Gallo complements Amare/Randolph well on offense, while getting Noah might force AR into uncomfortable/inefficient perimeter situations far too often. Knicks D would be tough with Noah, AR, Felton, WC… I’d probably fire D’Antoni, though, and bring in a defensive-minded coach with that roster… I don’t know, might be interesting with D’Antoni…

    ess-dog,

    “it’s amazing that Walsh found such a good complementary part where no one else could grab him.”

    It’s true that no one else “grabbed him,” but a related thought: I think some in the media are going too far with the storyline of the Knicks signing someone who wasn’t on other team’s radars. He was ranked, I think, the #2 free agent prospect in Europe by draftexpress and both he and his agent claim to have had other offers (given the money the Knicks gave him, I assume there were other bidders in NBA and/or Europe).

    “Re: Anthony, the Bulls should probably do that trade. The Nuggs should get 2 picks as well, especially if they absorb Deng.”

    I think you’re seriously underrating Noah and also underrating Deng. It’s not clear that Melo is better overall/more valuable than Noah, let alone Noah, draft picks, and additional salaries to match. The Bulls would be counting on Turkish rookie Omer Asik and PFs as their Cs should they trade Noah. Or trying to get a C for Deng, but what quality Cs are readily available in trades? The Bulls are already “quite talented” with Boozer, Noah, and Rose along with Deng, Brewer, Korver, Asik…
    My proposed trade in #20 doesn’t actually work since the Bulls can’t trade Watson yet, I don’t think. They still might make it work without Deng or involve a 3rd team, but Deng is not a whole lot worse than Melo. They may not love absorbing Deng’s salary, but Noah + Deng for Melo would likely be a big talent win for the Nuggets.

  19. adrenaline98

    Didn’t want to quote you Ted as the post is really long: but that was precisely my point. You are just going the opposite direction. Whereas I am more pessimistic and tend not to draw from ‘watching him a little’, others are simply more optimistic from ‘watching him a little.’ Bottom line is we’ve all seen so very little of him, none of which really shows much consistency except he’s 1. Fluid, 2. Athletic. I’m just tempering my expectations of him by making a post I suppose. I want to feel excited by everything the Knicks have done this off-season but I also remember how many times we’ve been disappointed.

    The reason I mentioned he won’t make an impact in year 1 is simply because there’s typically a transitional period, especially with European players, and the fact that he’s going into this with the mentality of getting 10-15 minutes, which is reciprocated by the coaching staff. We all know he can be a solid player going forward. I wasn’t really ragging on anyone for being excited about him. I just recommended some cautious optimism.

    Regarding FIBA, when you’re on a talented team playing against an immensely talented team, the chemistry just completely changes between that of games with Knicks roster vs the Heat, or Knicks roster vs the Timberwolves. It’s why I don’t get too excited about it. The whole idea behind chemistry is that it’s really not quantifiable, only observable. And we all know advanced statistics aside, it plays a vital role into teams’ success during the regular season. Sure, some of those characteristics that you mention will carry over. But there’s plenty of players in the league that have those characteristics. I am more interested in seeing his motor above all else, as that is what truly separates good players from stars in the league.

    I agree that the FIBA statistics don’t show much either.

  20. adrenaline98

    Ted Nelson: Caleb,I would like to get Noah, and right now he’s better than Gallo. Depends how you feel about Gallo’s development, though, as well as the Knicks short-term chances. I like Noah, but Gallo has a chance to be a more valuable overall player down the road… nbsp; (Quote)

    This is something I completely agree with. Gallo has two basketball ‘star’ requisite skills that are very difficult to learn. He’s got a good motor, and he’s got guts. Not saying Noah doesn’t, but I rather not do that swap. The Knicks do not have a team ready to really utilize a defensive center. In effect, you would be transforming the Knicks of this year into the Bulls of last year by giving up Gallo. You would lose a complementary piece for a sort of contending piece, when you’re not contending. I think we need to give Randolph a chance to anchor the defense before offering assets for a player like Noah. Noah would complement Amar’e tremendously defensively, but Gallo complements the Knicks whole offense tremendously. It would be better to see if Randolph has what it takes to complement Amar’e defensively first.

  21. DS

    @26 I worry about Gallo’s development. I think of David Lee working his ass off during the summers to sharpen his strengths and add new dimensions to his game. I feel as though Gallo spends all of his time strengthening his back to avoid re-injuring himself. Damn you, Robert Traylor. In other words, I’d take a Noah for Gallo swap (Noah = rebounds, blocks, less strain on Stoudemire, decent offense).

    Anyway, I hope I’m wrong. I hope the steadiness of Felton, ‘Buike,Turiaf and Amar’e plus a breakout season by Randolph lift the value of Gallo and Chandler into the stratosphere. It could happen.

  22. Caleb

    adrenaline98:
    This is something I completely agree with. Gallo has two basketball ‘star’ requisite skills that are very difficult to learn. He’s got a good motor, and he’s got guts.

    I agree on Gallo but Noah is on a totally different level re: motor, especially. You might call him a top-5 center, depending who’s healthy. Centers are a lot harder to come by than small forwards. It’s hard for me to see an argument where Gallo is better, or more valuable. Noah would be a great fit for the Knicks, any team really, especially next to Stoudemire. A low-usage guy, an excellent passer and even if he’s not a great scorer, he’s no Ben Wallace. Not sure D’Antoni would have to change up much.

    I guess in some ways Noah and Randolph are similar players, but Noah is a genuine center while Randolph has zero post skills – scoring or passing – and really is a perimeter player, at least on offense. I would love to see them together. THAT is a defense that could challenge Miami, down the road.

  23. Ted Nelson

    adrenaline98,

    I agree on cautious optimism re: Timo. He’s raw and might not amount to anything in the NBA, ever. The WCs did seem to reinforce most of the scouting reports and stats from before that, though (rebounding being the big exception). So a lot of it is not “oh, he looks x,” so much as “I’ve read 10 times that he is x, and he looks it.” It was only one game, but playing against a bunch of (mostly) young NBA stars on team USA was a bit of a test. He didn’t ace it, but I thought it was a positive performance.

    I don’t really agree that motor separates good players from stars. There are plenty of “lunch-pale” types that go really hard and are far from stars. Sure, Durant has a tremendous work ethic that’s allowed him to develop his skills, but there’s also a lot of natural talent. Even most good NBA wings could work as hard as humanly possible and never be as good as Durant or LeBron.
    I agree that a guy who doesn’t want to be good has a low probability of it–take Eddy Curry or Jerome James. Same with a guy who has a self-entitlement complex about already being good–take Darko. Every report about Timo is that he’s got a good motor, though, so I don’t think there’s a big red flag there. I’m not sure that’s entirely related to team chemistry, though I think I understand what you are getting at.

    Most of the guys who are really passionate for their national teams tend to be the same in the NBA or where ever they play professionally. I can’t think of a real Brazilian soccer team example of sitting back and collecting money professionally and turning it up for FIBA. The Serbian team of a few years ago, for example, had a bunch of underachieving pros and their national team chemistry was so bad that 1/2 the team quit. Most of the FIBA stars bring a lot of intensity professionally, whether it’s in the NBA or abroad.

    “Gallo has two basketball ‘star’ requisite skills that are very difficult to learn. He’s got a good motor, and he’s got guts.”

    I would really say it’s his shooting and scoring ability that could make him a star, not his guts or motor.

  24. ess-dog

    Re: Noah, he is definitely currently better than Gallo. I think it’s safe to say he’s pretty close to his ceiling though. He is a player that is ideal in any “Melo trade” – highest possible ceiling (i.e. you know what you’re getting) plus lowest possible age. Gallo and Randolph are still a few miles away from their ceilings. Will they get there? Who knows?
    I would love Noah and I agree that he could be top 5-7 center but the difference between him and say Nene or even Biedrins is negligible compared to bringing in Melo to play with Boozer and Rose.
    Hopefully Gallo can turn into a Melo-type player and Randolph can turn into a Noah-type player. It’s not that crazy.
    Again, the fact that our guards are ridiculously average is what concerns me.

  25. Ted Nelson

    DS: I hope the steadiness of Felton, ‘Buike,Turiaf and Amar’e plus a breakout season by Randolph lift the value of Gallo and Chandler into the stratosphere. It could happen.  

    Will be Gallo and WC who lift their own value, if it happens.

    What gives you the impression that Danilo does nothing but strengthen his back? I would hope Walshtoni have a better grasp on his work ethic and summer schedule than us fans. I have no idea, personally, but I’ll trust them.

    Caleb: Not sure D’Antoni would have to change up much.

    His rotation would include Noah, Amare, Randolph, WC, Felton… Not one of those guys should be shooting more than 1 or 2 3-pters per game… That would be a big change for a guy whose teams usually lead the NBA in 3PA.

    Caleb: Randolph has zero post skills – scoring or passing – and really is a perimeter player, at least on offense.

    He was also 20 last season. Diaw was strictly a perimeter player till 23. KG had a rebound rate of 12.2 when he was 20. Randolph doesn’t have much business on the perimeter offensively given his outside shot.
    You’re also not feeding Noah on the block offensively… And you’re probably overselling his scoring: career TS% of .563.

    I don’t know that AR can or will be a C, but between he and Amare you might have a decent defensive duo.

    Noah is also not without his questions about being able to handle the few big low-post scorers who are actually out there. He gives up 70 lbs to some of them, so I also wouldn’t sell him as an absolute answer defensively.

    Caleb: You might call him a top-5 center, depending who’s healthy.

    This is interesting… At what point is a 5 less valuable than a more productive wing? I don’t know the answer. Noah plays a valuable position, but Danilo has a chance to be more productive.

    I think you are overrating Noah, personally. He’s a good player, but show me where he’s elite. His high in PER is 17.9 and in WS/48 it’s .159, and he’s 25. He has been consistent, which is big, but you can get his production from a Brendan Haywood or Tyson Chandler or Andris Biedrins any given year. He’s not even in the conversation with Bynum and Gasol, let alone Howard. Say Noah is the #4 or #5 C in the NBA… I’ll bet he’s a whole lot closer to the 6 or 7 or 10 guys behind him than he is to the 3 or 4 in front of him.

    His passing very well may develop as he matures–tends to happen with good passing Cs–but to date he’s hardly been “excellent” as a playmaker.

    ***IF*** Gallo becomes as good a scorer as Peja or about as good with a more rounded game, I think he could easily be more valuable as a 3 than Noah is as a 5. While there is a lot of quality on the wings in the NBA, how many guys score 20 pts/36 on a TS% of .600? I don’t know which is more valuable, but I think it’s at least worth discussing. Also, even though he’s a bit older Noah could develop significantly as well.

  26. Z-man

    @19
    Re: Durant vs. LeBron, I did not factor in passing ability, so you make a good point. Still would rather have Durant, just for the rootability factor.

    “He scored inefficiency as a rookie and pretty much deserved to be killed. Randolph doesn’t have nearly the scoring ability of Durant… I’m not saying trade Randolph, I just don’t think it’s entirely comparable. If AR scores 27.5 pts/36 at a 60% TS% for 82 games… I’ll die of shock.”

    As far as his rookie season goes, lots of HOF players that came into the league as teenagers had tough rookie years, and some were criticized. However, there’s a difference between criticizing one’s play and drawing long-term conclusions about a 20 yo’s potential. In Durant’s case, people were really over the top, talking about how dumb it was to pick him so high, how he will probably never develop into anything close to a superstar, how they wouldn’t give up much in a trade for him, etc. (As it turned out, we should have traded our whole team for him!) Randolph may not be the next Durant, but he can certainly be better than any player we have any realistic chance of getting this year; there is a better than even chance (based on stats)that AR will be as good or better than Lamar Odom and Marcus Camby, and a reasonable probability (based on things like his similarity scores) of him being a HOF-caliber player at some point…and he is ours to keep at a bargain basement price for now!

    The people that are considering trading Randolph now should look at these stats comparing Randolph’s first 2 years to Durant’s rookie year:
    http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/pcm_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=1&p1=randoan01&y1=2010&p2=duranke01&y2=2008

    Randolph was about as good offensively, and a far superior rebounder and shot blocker; marginally not as good of a passer. There was no statistical reason at that point to believe that Durant would develop into a 60% TS% shooter any more than there is that Randolph will, only the underlying talent that everyone saw in college and the flashes Durant showed during the better games of his rookie year. Randolph made the same strides his rookie year…look at his March and April stats. Then he absolutely demolished the Summer league. Then, for whatever reason he had a lousy 20yo season marred by injury, inconsistency and pouting, and voila, he gets dumped in a sign and trade which I still can’t fathom.

    Granted, if you compare both players’ first 2 years, Durant clearly made a huge jump in year 2 while Randolph didn’t. However, Durant played 3 times the minutes that Randolph did due in that time span due to injury and probably in no small part to situation (i.e. Nelson.) If Durant had been in Randolph’s situation, would he have played less minutes as a rookie and taken longer to develop? Might he have gotten injured and then packaged with Azu and Turiaf for the likes of David Lee while on a rookie deal?

    In my opinion, it was highly fortunate for us that Randolph did not made the statistical jump yet, as he obviously wouldn’t have fallen into our lap in the Lee trade. So, I see this as a once in a B-ball generation kind of opportunity. We have NEVER had a 21yo guy on a rookie contract with this much upside fall from the sky like this. Until we see for ourselves whether Randolph will make the jump this year, it is an incredibly risky proposition to trade him for a player that AR is reasonably likely to become better than. How would OKC be feeling right now if they traded Durant after his rookie season plus a draft pick (Westbrook?) for, say, Melo?

  27. Caleb

    @30 Durant was a consensus best college player in the country, as a freshman – he was expected to be spectacular. His poor rookie year is sort of the outlier..

    @31 I’m not sure why you think Bynum is clearly better than Noah, even healthy. ANd what are the odds of Bynum EVER being healthy a full season?

    It is an interesting question as to whether 5s are overvalued. I don’t have an answer. I do think that players who are strong defensively are underrated, and that’s a big Noah strength. Not sure any center in the league, besides Howard, is better defensively. Admittedly a big dropoff. Tyson Chandler a few years ago, but not now. Of course Noah is also an elite rebounder. I don’t think I overrate his scoring – I just said he’s no Ben Wallace! He does what he needs to. I’m a little surprised his ballhandling numbers aren’t better; when I watch the Bulls, it looks like he carries a lot of responsibility in that department.

  28. Doug Chu

    @36 yeah if I recall correctly there were comparisons to George Gervin, but there weren’t many predictions for him to become the second-best player in the league.

  29. Caleb

    Coming out of college there many people saying Durant was the best prospect in years, that he should go ahead of Greg Oden (pre-injuries, considered a sure, Dwight-Howard-like thing). Bill Simmons predicted Durant would challenge the legacy of Michael Jordan, if I remember right. Stat-people recognized that his rookie play was mediocre, but he still was a unanimous (I think) pick for rookie of the year. So I don’t think his ascent is really unexpected.

  30. Z-man

    On the other hand, Greg Oden was in fact picked first, so Portland seemed to not learn from the Sam Bowie disaster. He was rookie of the year, but many (Berri, for one) questioned that. The fact is, his season was far from mediocre for a 19 yo rookie, in fact, it was sensational, probably a top-5 season for a 19yo. It is woefully unfair to criticize have criticized him for not playing like Jordan in his prime after only one year of college ball. True, many kept things in perspective but many also didn’t.

    The same is true for Randolph’s rookie year, despite a less-than-perfect situation (Durant played more than twice the minutes despite his inefficiency. Randolph’s per 36 stats were better than Durant’s overall.) Yet GS gives up on him at age 20, and some here are saying that trading him for Melo is a no-brainer.

  31. Caleb

    @39 That’s basically my point. Durant has been the bluest of blue-chip prospects for years.

    fwiw I don’t think Randolph is likely to be a superstar – but it’s possible and I do think he will be a very good player. The kind of comps people have thrown around, seem about right. Lamar Odom. Josh Smith. Andrei Kirilenko. I wouldn’t be in a hurry to trade him for Melo.

    From a GMs standpoint, Randolph and Gallo probably have more actual value than trade value, so you hang on to them and hope they fulfill their promise. If they do, you have more options. Maybe a Chris Paul trade becomes realistic. Or you just keep them and have some terrific forwards.

  32. Caleb

    Z-man: The fact is, his season was far from mediocre for a 19 yo rookie, in fact, it was sensational, probably a top-5 season for a 19yo.

    Well… I do think his rookie year was disappointing, worse than you would have predicted by his college #s. He not only was an inefficient scorer, but turned into a terrible rebounder (maybe because PJ played him at shooting guard) and a terrible defender – his +/- numbers were about the worst in the league.

    But I agree with your larger point, that you can expect a lot of improvement from young players, especially very young players. Berri hasn’t really figured that out. How terrible was Kobe at 17? Terribly Terrible! But great for a 17 y/o…

  33. Ted Nelson

    I don’t think Durant’s ascent came out of nowhere by any means–he was a great prospect and dominated the NCAAs in a similar fashion to… ahem… Michael Beasley–however, based on his rookie year I would have put the odds of his development at more of a AI-to-Melo level huge volume, low-to-medium efficiency scorer. I wouldn’t *expect* just about any draft prospect to put up a usage of 32 with a TS% of .600.

    re: Noah v. Bynum

    I would give Bynum an edge personally, but the defensive side of the equation is hard to quantify. I like Bynum a lot more than most, though, and feel he’s underrated. Noah is a good player who I like. My point was just that if Gallo can someday put up a usage in the mid-20s at a TS% around .600… he’ll be one of the most valuable offensive players in the league. As Peja was in 2003-4 when he led the league in Off-WS. As Reggie Miller was. As Dirk is.

    “On the other hand, Greg Oden was in fact picked first, so Portland seemed to not learn from the Sam Bowie disaster.”

    It was pretty hard to expect Oden to be as injury prone as he’s been. Also, I doubt if there was a single hold-over from the 1983 draft still in a power position within the Portland organization when Oden was drafted…
    I still don’t fault Portland for that pick. Oden was a lot more dominant as a freshman than Bowie was over 3 college seasons. Even healthy there’s no way Bowie could have lived down that pick… He wasn’t even an average NBA Center. The same is not true about Oden, who has performed very well on the rare occasions he’s been healthy.

    “The fact is, his season was far from mediocre for a 19 yo rookie, in fact, it was sensational, probably a top-5 season for a 19yo.”

    If you’re a huge fan of high volume scoring, sure. In terms of WS/48 it was actually the #21 season for a 19 year old (http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/psl_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=0&type=totals&per_minute_base=36&is_playoffs=N&year_min=1947&year_max=2010&season_start=1&season_end=-1&age_min=0&age_max=19&height_min=0&height_max=99&lg_id=&franch_id=&is_active=&is_hof=&pos=&qual=&c1stat=&c1comp=gt&c1val=&c2stat=&c2comp=gt&c2val=&c3stat=&c3comp=gt&c3val=&c4stat=&c4comp=gt&c4val=&order_by=ws). #17 for a 19 year old rookie (http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/psl_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=0&type=totals&per_minute_base=36&is_playoffs=N&year_min=1947&year_max=2010&season_start=1&season_end=1&age_min=0&age_max=19&height_min=0&height_max=99&lg_id=&franch_id=&is_active=&is_hof=&pos=&qual=&c1stat=&c1comp=gt&c1val=&c2stat=&c2comp=gt&c2val=&c3stat=&c3comp=gt&c3val=&c4stat=&c4comp=gt&c4val=&order_by=ws). #14 for a 19 year old rookie in terms of PER (http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/psl_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=0&type=totals&per_minute_base=36&is_playoffs=N&year_min=1947&year_max=2010&season_start=1&season_end=1&age_min=0&age_max=19&height_min=0&height_max=99&lg_id=&franch_id=&is_active=&is_hof=&pos=&qual=&c1stat=&c1comp=gt&c1val=&c2stat=&c2comp=gt&c2val=&c3stat=&c3comp=gt&c3val=&c4stat=&c4comp=gt&c4val=&order_by=per) and #17 for any 19 year old in terms of PER (http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/psl_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=0&type=totals&per_minute_base=36&is_playoffs=N&year_min=1947&year_max=2010&season_start=1&season_end=13&age_min=0&age_max=19&height_min=0&height_max=99&lg_id=&franch_id=&is_active=&is_hof=&pos=&qual=&c1stat=&c1comp=gt&c1val=&c2stat=&c2comp=gt&c2val=&c3stat=&c3comp=gt&c3val=&c4stat=&c4comp=gt&c4val=&order_by=per)… Based on that would you really have expected him to do as well as he has? Really?

    “Yet GS gives up on him at age 20, and some here are saying that trading him for Melo is a no-brainer.”

    Some people think Melo is a top 3 player in the whole league for some reason. I wouldn’t pay too much attention.

    Again, Durant’s development is exceptional. I would not *expect* Randolph or any other player to develop that much. I do *expect* Randolph to be a very good NBA player, but I wouldn’t *expect* him to be top 3-5 in the NBA. I also don’t want to rush to trade AR, but I wouldn’t make a rule of holding onto every young player with a 3% chance of becoming 1st Team All-NBA down the line.

  34. Z

    Caleb: Coming out of college there many people saying Durant was the best prospect in years, that he should go ahead of Greg Oden (pre-injuries, considered a sure, Dwight-Howard-like thing). Bill Simmons predicted Durant would challenge the legacy of Michael Jordan, if I remember right. Stat-people recognized that his rookie play was mediocre, but he still was a unanimous (I think) pick for rookie of the year. So I don’t think his ascent is really unexpected.  

    Back in ’07 there was a vocal minority saying Durant should be the #1 pick.

    But at the same time the pre-draft combine ranked him 78th out of 80 total prospects after his physical painted him as skinny, weak, and slow. (he was out sprinted by Greg Oden, and he famously couldn’t bench press 185 pounds).

    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/sports/2003736036_draft06.html

    So yes, there was quite a scatter on him, but all-in-all, I think the draft got it right. No way to assume, in June of 2007, that Durant was a better prospect than Oden. The Sonics/Thunder got lucky, as many teams do at draft time, but they were smart not to be scared off by his apparent physical limitations, and rightly assumed his college stats would translate. (A victory for stat-heads!?!)

  35. Caleb

    Ted Nelson: I don’t think Durant’s ascent came out of nowhere by any means–he was a great prospect and dominated the NCAAs in a similar fashion to… ahem… Michael Beasley

    …I expected a lot more out of Beasley, too. It certainly makes you (me) think that he could explode in a big way, if he stops smoking pot and gets his head straight. Big IFs. I don’t mean that he’ll be Durant-caliber, but I do think Beasley is an All-Star talent.

    re: Bynum, I’m also a fan, but injuries seem to have really slowed him down. He had a spectacular half-season in 2007-2008 but aside from that has just been very good.

  36. Ted Nelson

    Caleb: It certainly makes you (me) think that he could explode in a big way

    There’s that side of it–Beasley still has lots of upside–and also the side of it that Durant’s college stats didn’t guarantee he’d he be able to become one of the very best players in the world.

    Koufos is another guy on Minni who might break out. Strong rookie campaign in limited minutes and is only be 21.

  37. ess-dog

    Minni is interesting. They have a lot o post player potential – Koufos, Beasley, Love, Pekovic, not so much Darko… even Tolliver a bit. I can’t see Beasley playing the 3 so well, but he might have to with Love around, and maybe Johnson can play the 2… meanwhile, it doesn’t seem like a great group for the triangle, but who knows?

  38. Ted Nelson

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/pcm_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=0&p1=beaslmi01&y1=2009&p2=duranke01&y2=2008

    If Beasley a. actually tries and b. can put together his jump shooting from year 1 with his inside shooting from year 2… he’s a solid contributor at least.

    I don’t know if he’s better off at the 3 or 4. He doesn’t rebound or defend like a 4, that’s for sure. Can he defend the 3? I don’t know. If his jump shot gets back to rookie form he can play the 3 offensively I’d say. Depending on how things work out he may be a man without a position or very versatile…

  39. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Ted,

    Scores of players over the last twenty years have put up numbers like Durant did in 2007-2008.

    Few players have ever experienced the leap in production that he did between that year and this year. We’re talking an astounding leap in TS%, eFG%, STL%, TRB%, ORB%, AST%, ORtg, DRtg, WS/48, TOV%, PER, and WP/48. The only one of his available measurables that stayed constant was BLK% at a respectable 1.9.

    All this while his usage rate increased by nearly five points.

    Michael Beasley? Not so much. Comparing the rookie season of the two is practically useless. I don’t think many projections had Durant turning from an 8th man to a league-wide top 3 player. He was projected to be a Carmelo-type talent, but he’s much, much better than Carmelo. You might as well compare Toney Douglas to Kevin Durant based on their rookie seasons.

  40. Caleb

    @50 Like I said above, Durant wasn’t a good NBA player as a rookie but you won’t find scores of players who could even get on the court at 19. Even those numbers projected as a pretty good player. Not to mention, it wasn’t the only thing to look at — he was awesome in college.

    Why did he take a step back? Random variation, maybe, but probably part of it was being horribly misused by coach carlesimmo.

    Beasley IS a tweener. Doesn’t mean he can’t be a terrific player, but he’s smaller and probably slower than Durant. Obviously not as pure a shooter, either. Style-wise, the most similar player to Beasley I can think of is Glenn Robinson. Maybe Mark Aguirre? I didn’t take time to compare #s, so I don’t know if he’s likely to be more effective than those players – just that he might be used in a similar way.

  41. Caleb

    The Honorable Cock Jowles: You might as well compare Toney Douglas to Kevin Durant based on their rookie seasons.  

    That’s why you are better off comparing players at the same age, instead of rookie/rookie or 2nd year/2nd year. You will get a lot fewer misleading comparisons…

  42. Ted Nelson

    THCJ,

    I have been saying over and over that Durant is an exception. I sincerely doubt you’ve read the thread.

    I don’t think it’s completely useless to compare the rookie seasons of Durant and Beasley… especially if you actually read the thread and look at the context. A. It establishes my point that Durant is an exception and his rookie year was not indicative of his subsequent rise. B. It hints that Beasley is probably better than he showed in 09-10. These are two separate but related conversations that have been going on for the past 20 or so comments. So, I thought showing their respective rookie seasons was somewhat useful.

    “He was projected to be a Carmelo-type talent.”

    Beasley was likewise projected to be a Carmelo-type talent. Which is why it’s not “practically useless” to compare the two.

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/pcm_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=0&p1=anthoca01&y1=2004&p2=anthoca01&y2=2005&p3=beaslmi01&y3=2009&p4=beaslmi01&y4=2010

    In fact, Beasley still has a solid chance at being a Melo-type talent, which speaks to both Beasley’s value and Melo’s.

  43. ess-dog

    Beasley was a tremendous college rebounder. He’s not particularly long armed like Blair, but you’d think that some of it would translate.
    In the triangle, maybe he’s better off as a 3rd forward, 6th man type… not unlike what Al Harrington was last year but with minutes at the 3 and 4. He could fill a unique roll. Glen Robinson is a good comparison. He’s sort of similar to Yi or Darius Miles, unless he severely improves some parts of his game – passing, rebounding or defense.

  44. Ted Nelson

    Caleb: That’s why you are better off comparing players at the same age, instead of rookie/rookie or 2nd year/2nd year. You will get a lot fewer misleading comparisons…  

    Beasley was 7 months older his rookie season than Durant… Not much difference.

    Caleb: Durant wasn’t a good NBA player as a rookie but you won’t find scores of players who could even get on the court at 19. Even those numbers projected as a pretty good player.

    He projected to be *good* based on his 19 year old season, but certainly not necessarily *amazingly great.* Certainly the door was open (and he walked through it), but based on only rookie numbers I doubt you’d have projected him to be 32 usage, .600 TS%. Check out the links from #42 or the Beasley comp in #49.

    Caleb: Style-wise, the most similar player to Beasley I can think of is Glenn Robinson. Maybe Mark Aguirre?

    Glenn Robinson is a pretty good comparison, possibly for mentality as well as style of play/skill/performance. I would also include Carmelo Anthony.
    I would say that Beasley is more of a big than those guys, though, or at least his Miami numbers reflect that. He rebounds better and assists worse. He blocks shots better (though Big Dog had his seasons blocking shots as well).
    The encouraging thing about Robinson is that even if Beasley doesn’t get much better and never applies himself… he can still be considered an All-Star and get a max contract…

    These tests may or may not be useless, but Beasley actually tested as being quicker and jumping higher than Durant. He is a couple inches smaller and a couple more inches less long, though.

  45. Ted Nelson

    ess-dog: He’s sort of similar to Yi or Darius Miles, unless he severely improves some parts of his game – passing, rebounding or defense.

    There’s a similarity between he and Yi, but so far Beasley is a considerably better NBA player. I still wouldn’t rule Yi out, but he’s been pretty awful and two teams have given up on him in 3 seasons…

    Not that far off from Miles. Miles was a more freaky athlete and turned it over way too much. Beasley is a better shooter and hopefully cares more about basketball, though that’s certainly debatable. Miles seemed to have the skill and early production to be a plus NBA player with even a bit more effort… with a whole lot more effort… who knows. (Have read accounts of an executive who when asked where Miles would be in 5 years said something like “in a strip club with a drink in his hand and some stripper named …insert stripper name… on his lap.”)

    Harrington may be a good medium case for Beasley. He really broke out at 21, so below comparison isn’t really fair for Al:

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/pcm_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=1&p1=beaslmi01&y1=2010&p2=jianlyi01&y2=2009&p3=milesda01&y3=2002&p4=harrial01&y4=2002

    Despite all the disappointment, I’d still say Beasley is on a path to be a solid NBA player.

  46. BigBlueAL

    Today vs Argentina Mozgov had 10 pts and 11 rebs with 1 block in 28 minutes (he did foul out though). I thought he couldnt rebound!!!! lol

  47. Z-man

    @42 Ted,
    “If you’re a huge fan of high volume scoring, sure. In terms of WS/48 it was actually the #21 season for a 19 year old (http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/psl_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=0&type=totals&per_minute_base=36&is_playoffs=N&year_min=1947&year_max=2010&season_start=1&season_end=-1&age_min=0&age_max=19&height_min=0&height_max=99&lg_id=&franch_id=&is_active=&is_hof=&pos=&qual=&c1stat=&c1comp=gt&c1val=&c2stat=&c2comp=gt&c2val=&c3stat=&c3comp=gt&c3val=&c4stat=&c4comp=gt&c4val=&order_by=ws). #17 for a 19 year old rookie (http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/psl_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=0&type=totals&per_minute_base=36&is_playoffs=N&year_min=1947&year_max=2010&season_start=1&season_end=1&age_min=0&age_max=19&height_min=0&height_max=99&lg_id=&franch_id=&is_active=&is_hof=&pos=&qual=&c1stat=&c1comp=gt&c1val=&c2stat=&c2comp=gt&c2val=&c3stat=&c3comp=gt&c3val=&c4stat=&c4comp=gt&c4val=&order_by=ws). #14 for a 19 year old rookie in terms of PER (http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/psl_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=0&type=totals&per_minute_base=36&is_playoffs=N&year_min=1947&year_max=2010&season_start=1&season_end=1&age_min=0&age_max=19&height_min=0&height_max=99&lg_id=&franch_id=&is_active=&is_hof=&pos=&qual=&c1stat=&c1comp=gt&c1val=&c2stat=&c2comp=gt&c2val=&c3stat=&c3comp=gt&c3val=&c4stat=&c4comp=gt&c4val=&order_by=per) and #17 for any 19 year old in terms of PER (http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/psl_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=0&type=totals&per_minute_base=36&is_playoffs=N&year_min=1947&year_max=2010&season_start=1&season_end=13&age_min=0&age_max=19&height_min=0&height_max=99&lg_id=&franch_id=&is_active=&is_hof=&pos=&qual=&c1stat=&c1comp=gt&c1val=&c2stat=&c2comp=gt&c2val=&c3stat=&c3comp=gt&c3val=&c4stat=&c4comp=gt&c4val=&order_by=per)… Based on that would you really have expected him to do as well as he has? Really?”

    Look at the stats more carefully. First, you told me yourself earlier in the summer that WS and WS48 are dependent on how many games the team wins, so it doesn’t tell us much about a player who was on a 20-win team. Second, look at PER for 19yo rookies again. First, throw out the players that had less than 1000 minutes and look how the list shrinks (it should have caught your attention that Jackie Butler was at the top of the list; in fact, the top 3 on your list played less than 100 minutes combined!) Then look at the names on the list of 100+minutes ahead of Durant:

    Moses Malone
    LeBron James
    Carmelo Anthony
    Tracy McGrady
    Dwight Howard
    Cliff Robinson
    ANTHONY RANDOLPH
    Thaddeus Young
    Stephon Marbury
    Kevin Durant
    (tied w/ Kevin Garnett)

    Now trim the list down based on players that played 2000+ minutes and here’s what you get:

    Moses
    LeBron
    Melo
    Dwight
    Steph
    Durant
    (tied w/ Garnett)

    All except Steph are probable/sure HOFers, including 4 (if you include Malone, Howard, LeBron and Garnett) all-time greats. Do it for your query re: all 19yo players and only Kobe pops up anew. (did you notice that Tracy McGrady and Amir Johnson come up twice on that list?)

    So yes, based on that, I really would have expected him to do as well as he has. Really. To call his 19yo season anything less than a great one for a 19yo rookie, if not an all-time great one, is pretty cynical.

    More importantly, the fact that Randolph appears above him on the pretty short 1000+ min list underscores my point about not trading him. I don’t quite get how you put the odds of Randolph becoming an all-NBA first teamer at 3% when the majority of the players that had 19yo rookie seasons as good as his turned out to be at or close to that level. Holding on to every one? This is about a specific case, not a general rule. We haven’t really had one like Randolph before, certainly not on a rookie deal..maybe Gallo, if you want to include him in the mix. Instead, we have grossly overpaid for guys on the list (Curry, Steph) after they had already shown serious cause for concern/

  48. Caleb

    @55 I was criticizing the Durant vs. Toney Douglas comparison, noot Durant vs. Beasley.

    @58 it’s an interesting list – I think the big takeaway is how rare it is for a teenager to be good enough to play real NBA minutes. That’s one reason I’m so high on Randolph. When I say Odom or Kirlienko are good comps, I don’t mean that’s his ceiling. He could easily be better. Or worse, a lot could happen. It’s hard to project in detail, these players are very rare so the sample is tiny. Will Randolph stay the type of lanky, perimeter player and shot-blocker that he is now? Will he be a back to the basket center in a few years? I dunno… I do think we’ll be glad he’s a Knick. Or that we traded him for Chris Paul.

  49. Z

    Caleb:
    …I expected a lot more out of Beasley, too. It certainly makes you (me) think that he could explode in a big way, if he stops smoking pot and gets his head straight. Big IFs.   

    Is there a correlation between being bad at basketball and smoking pot that I have missed? Seems to me everybody in the NBA who can afford it, smokes it, which is pretty much everybody except the guys that are clinging to 10 day contracts.

    I think Beasley’s “marijuana abuse” is grossly overstated by a) people trying to explain why he hasn’t been as good as advertised; b) Dr. David Kahn, who also said the reason Ricky Rubio hasn’t come to the NBA is because he’s addicted to Spanish Fly.

  50. Caleb

    @60 whether it’s smoking pot or checking into a clinic for depression or reportedly wanting to kill himself or Pat Riley desperately trying to give him away for nothing and only finding one taker – I think it’s safe to say the Beez has some off-court issues that might be hurting his play.

  51. BigBlueAL

    Mozgov today vs Slovenia 19 pts in 26 mins on 4-5 fg and a whopping 11-12 from the ft line. Only 3 rebs and 1 block though.

  52. SeeWhyDee77

    I only logged on to make 1 comment today. And that is I’m encouraged by Tiny Tim’s play in the Tournament. He looks more polished on offense than I thought he was. He’s not rebounding very well (a la Odom in the tourney) or blocking many shots, but he looks active enough to improve in each area. Solid kid on the court…but I don’t think he’ll ever start over Turiaf though it’s very possible at some point becuz he’s a legit 7 footer. But he won’t start unless he gets better at defense and rebounding. But nevertheless, Timofey, along with Fields, are making Walsh look very smart. We’ll see how he does consistently against NBA players.

  53. Droidz1979

    Walsh is a GENIUS! The Rockets (Morey) was looking for a legit/serviceable big last year in the absence if Yao and all that they could produce was a 6’11 David Anderson.. Heck, Mozgov is a legit 7 footer whom the Knicks got under the radar with posses a good motor, big/legit body, young (lots of upside) and CHEAP!

    Patience sure is a virtue and glad that Walsh is not close to being Zeke. Even Fields was an unknown sleeper for a 2nd rounder who showed solid games at summer league and we got Buike, Randolph and Turiaf for Lee whom the Knicks could have lost for nothing at the free agency tsk tsk I used to be salivating to young teams with lots of upside back then like the Blazers, Hawks (way back then) and now the Thunders and it seems that the Knicks is heeding at the same direction with a better offensive coach and a GM who knows how to build a solid team… Feels good to be a Knick fan again

  54. Ted Nelson

    58, Z-man,

    I still take the same thing away from those lists. He was on track to be a very good NBA player, but based on that season you would not *EXPECT* him to become a 32 usage .600 TS% player. You’d say it was possible, but you wouldn’t say it was the most likely case scenario.

    BS technicalities aside, here’s my point… After one season we couldn’t say whether Durant would be more LeBron, Melo, T-Mac, Cliff Robinson, Thaddeus Young, Josh Smith, Chris Bosh, Darius Miles… etc. That’s a huge range. He certainly had a good chance to be a special player, but he’s hit his ceiling on the head. That’s not going to happen every time.

    60, Z,

    “Is there a correlation between being bad at basketball and smoking pot that I have missed?”

    First, Caleb makes the point succinctly in 61.

    It’s speculation as to whether Beasley was adversely impacted my smoking. But the circumstantial evidence is there.
    -Kahn was paraphrasing Beasley himself in a way, so it wasn’t really his analysis but Beasley’s own analysis.
    -Beasley has underachieved compared not only to the expectations coming out of college, but also compared to his rookie season. His jumper wasn’t falling last season. Maybe it’s luck, maybe it’s weed… but it was something.
    -Some players might smoke a ton of weed in their free time, but not show up for games high/show more restraint/not let their lifestyle impact their sleep and health and mood. Others might just have more of a tolerance. I would definitely say it is *possible* that a player who has underachieved has been negatively impacted by smoking too much.
    Even take AI, who people like to cite as a pothead superstar… maybe if he smoked less he would have actually been good… you know, kept his TS% over .500… You hear about some of the NBA’s great athletes being potheads and having problems with pot, but it seems to be that fewer of the NBA’s sharp-shooters are associated with being potheads.
    I have no problem with marijuana and think it should be legal, I just think it’s possible Beasley smoked too much, showed up to games semi-coherent, and couldn’t hit his shots as a result. If he thinks so himself, I’m not going to dismiss it. I don’t think he’ll become Michael Jordan even if he never smokes again, but it might help him get it together. Certainly society goes too far in criminalizing marijuana, but you also can’t go to the other extreme and pretend like it’s not even a drug. If a player were showing up drunk to games, would that impact his performance?

  55. ess-dog

    btw, yes Ted, I’m still somewhat bullish on Melo. His playoff stats from this past season are enough to tell me that he is able to elevate his game when it counts. Of course he’s not on a LBJ or Durant level. But he’s a good notch or two above Joe Johnson who people were more or less “fine” with giving the max. Maybe a Noah, Deng, and 1st and 2nd rd pick for Melo + JR Smith would be fair, I don’t know. Regardless, I think all of this “source talk” is fabricated to give basketball junkies something to do.

  56. Ted Nelson

    ess-dog,

    I think Melo is better than Joe Johnson, too. I think he’s a genuine perennial All-Star. I just would not give up the guy we’ve been discussing being a top 5 or even top 3 center, a wing who is just below All-Star level, plus two picks to get him. Noah is probably as valuable as or more valuable than Melo. Deng is not that far behind Melo if you line up all wing players in the league best-to-worst. If you get both of those guys in return for Melo, I think you have clearly “won the deal” in terms of talent/production. If you want to take WS, Melo had 7.9 last season while Noah + Deng combined for 12.1. I don’t see Chicago’s 09-10 WoW page, but I’m pretty sure WP will result in the same. Deng + Noah might cost you about the same as Melo’s $20 mill per contract as well…

    “His playoff stats from this past season are enough to tell me that he is able to elevate his game when it counts.”

    His playoff stats from 2010 are pretty much the same across the board as his regular season stats… http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/a/anthoca01.html His rebounding improved, but otherwise there are mostly marginal changes over a very small sample. One could make the same argument for Noah or for Deng’s 06-07 playoffs…

  57. Ted Nelson

    58, Z-man,

    I still take the same thing away from those lists. Durant was on track to be a very good NBA player, but based on that season you would not *EXPECT* him to become a 32 usage .600 TS% player. You’d say it was very possible, but you wouldn’t say it was the most likely case scenario.

    BS technicalities aside, here’s my point… After one season we couldn’t say whether Durant would be more LeBron, Melo, T-Mac, Cliff Robinson, Thaddeus Young, Josh Smith, Chris Bosh, Darius Miles… etc. That’s a huge range. He certainly had a good chance to be a special player, but he’s hit his ceiling on the head. That’s not going to happen every time.

    Most likely I would have expected Durant to become more Melo level than Durant level. To some there is little or no difference, but to me it’s pretty substantial.

  58. ess-dog

    Ted,
    While I might be underrating Noah a bit, I think you are definitely overrating Deng. I wouldn’t go so far as to call him Wilson Chandler, but I think he’s closer to Chandler than Melo. Most importantly, Deng has an albatross contract that goes I think another 4 years ending with a 14 mil plus year. People here thought it was a minor miracle that Donnie was able to unload Z-bo, a better player (even before last year), who only had 2 years left on his contract I think. In short, it’s a steep price to pay for a 4th option, average sf and a good defensive/rebounding center who is a limited scorer.
    So even if you think Melo and Noah are roughly even, why should Denver have to swallow Deng’s contract? Not that Deng is even a bad player (like Eddy Curry) per se, but it severely limits your ability to make moves going forward with a team that wasn’t a championship team before and definitely won’t be after that trade.

  59. BigBlueAL

    Saw an interview with Gallo and when asked what he worked on the most during the off-season he said to physically improve his flexibility and explosiveness plus he worked alot on his post-up game. Sounds good to me I guess.

  60. TheRant

    Here’s a curious question.

    I’m not certain it is appropriate for this site, since here we deal with rumors, trades, stats, and such. But one underlying theme has been contempt for the Dolans and any which way we might see young Jimmy meet his demise. And we know that MSG/Cablevision makes money on cable revenue, so here goes:

    I’m wondering if anyone knows a way to see Knicks games on TV without subscribing to cable. Over the summer I “cut the cord” and now watch free broadcast TV, Netflix, discs, and things streamed for free over the Internet, like the Daily Show.

    I’d love to see my beloved Knicks play. I’m happy to pay for it. I just don’t want a $100/month package from Time Warner just for this purpose.

    I wrote to NBA.com asking about League Pass, but it seems they black out NY games in NYC. Is that true? Any other way to see the 2010 Knicks over the Net or anywhere else? I’m in Brooklyn.

  61. Ted Nelson

    BBA,

    Definitely a good thing to hear.

    ess-dog,

    In terms of money… if Melo wants a $22 or 23 mill per deal or whatever he’s turned down from Denver… Even with Deng’s escalating annual salary (which I didn’t really look at previously), Noah + Deng isn’t likely to be much higher. Noah is locked in at 3 mill next season, and then looking at a reported $12 mill per 5 year extension that probably starts at below $10 mill. It might be 2012/13 before Noah and Deng combine to make more than Melo.

    I wouldn’t really expect flexibility to be a huge problem with the Nuggets. They’ve got big expirings in Nene, Billups, K-Mart, JR Smith. They have Lawson on a rookie deal. They can turn around and trade Nene or Noah for a presumably good return. If flexibility is a concern for them… they shouldn’t have thrown all that long-term guaranteed money Al Harrington’s way this offseason. They’ll be paying him almost $8 mill per in 2014/15.

    I don’t think I’m severely overrating Deng. I think he’s generally underrated. He’s a strong defender, which is where most of his value comes from. Average scorer, yes. An injury riddled 08-09 aside, though, I’d call him solidly above average. Not likely to earn $14 mill in a season, but probably $10+ mill. David Berri would tell you Melo is more overpaid than Deng at his $15+ mill contract.

    “I wouldn’t go so far as to call him Wilson Chandler, but I think he’s closer to Chandler than Melo.”

    Is the fact that Deng is maybe a mid-point between Melo and WC not an indication that Melo is overrated?
    http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/pcm_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=1&p1=denglu01&y1=2008&p2=chandwi01&y2=2010&p3=denglu01&y3=2010&p4=anthoca01&y4=2010

    “Z-bo, a better player (even before last year), who only had 2 years left on his contract I think.”

    Deng is a great guy, a hard worker, in shape, a strong defender… None of that is obviously true with Zach Randolph.
    It’s also not obvious that Deng is a worse player at his position than Z-Bo: http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/pcm_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=1&p1=randoza01&y1=2010&p2=denglu01&y2=2010
    Deng’s contract is longer, but Z-Bo’s was a lot higher per year: an extra $5 mill per for those 2 seasons.

  62. Ben R

    But if you look at last season Deng is actually less efficient than Chandler and has only had one season in which his scoring is above average and that was four years ago. The only decisive advantage Deng has over Chandler is his rebounding which is good for a small forward. Deng is a good defender, probably a bit better than Chandler but Chandler is a solid defender as well.

    When you factor in money, Chandler is looking at probably 4-6 million per on his next contract compared to Deng at over 12 million for the next three years and factor in potential growth, Chandler is younger and has improved every season since entering the league compared to Deng who plateaued three years ago I think Chandler is a much more valuable and tradable asset than Deng.

    In fact I think trade value wise Curry/Chandler is much better than Deng. You get a similar player on a much better contract and an expiring.

  63. Z-man

    “I still take the same thing away from those lists. Durant was on track to be a very good NBA player, but based on that season you would not *EXPECT* him to become a 32 usage .600 TS% player. You’d say it was very possible, but you wouldn’t say it was the most likely case scenario.”

    True, Ted. The point is, there is a realistic enough of a chance of it that you absolutely don’t trade him until you find out what you really have. In Durant’s case, there is no debating that he had an outstanding offensive season for a 19 year old by any measure.

    “BS technicalities aside, here’s my point… After one season we couldn’t say whether Durant would be more LeBron, Melo, T-Mac, Cliff Robinson, Thaddeus Young, Josh Smith, Chris Bosh, Darius Miles… etc. That’s a huge range. He certainly had a good chance to be a special player, but he’s hit his ceiling on the head. That’s not going to happen every time.Most likely I would have expected Durant to become more Melo level than Durant level. To some there is little or no difference, but to me it’s pretty substantial.”

    I agree it’s a huge difference, but even if Melo is where his “mean” projection was, do you even consider trading him on a rookie contract for anyone other than a top-3 player in the league (assuming there were no character, work ethic, or injury issues.) The guy had franchise player written all over him coming out of college, and nothing in his first year put that into question; in fact, you can argue that it did much more to confirm than to dispel that projection.

    In Randolph’s case, you could easily argue that his 19 year old season was even more impressive than Durant’s, although I do value the minutes that Durant played enough not to make that argument. It is only because of GS’s conclusions about his development that we even had a shot of getting him. I strongly believe that we need to find out whether his 2nd year was a fluke or a harbinger of things to come. It seems that at worst, he will be a very solid and versatile forward, so the risk of passing on a deal for a “second level” star is worth taking, especially when you consider salary cap implications.
    Let’s find out for ourselves where he fits between Garnett and Josh Smith before jumping the gun.

  64. Ted Nelson

    “The point is, there is a realistic enough of a chance of it that you absolutely don’t trade him until you find out what you really have.”

    Take Thaddeus Young… When was his trade value at its highest? He had a very good season for a 19 year old by any measure and his value has declined ever since. The lists demonstrate that while there is a definite trend in that direction, not all impressive 19 year olds become All-NBA players. Anthony Randolph also put up a 19 year old WS/48 of 0.069, which is not impressive on the scale of Dwight Howard’s .131 or Kobe’s .147.
    Darius Miles, same thing. He was worth Andre Miller at 21, then worth Jeff McInnis at 23…

    “but even if Melo is where his “mean” projection was, do you even consider trading him on a rookie contract for anyone other than a top-3 player in the league”

    I don’t know why we’re still comparing Durant and Anthony Randolph. You could just as easily compare Anthony Randolph to any of the other 19 year olds with strong seasons. There is no guarantee that AR will develop in the same manner as Durant, which was the point of the lists. That’s especially true after his sophomore slump. In fact, if AR ever becomes as good as any other scorer in the world (as Durant is) I will eat my hat. He does not have the scoring skill set that Durant had. I’m not looking for the Knicks to trade AR, but would I trade him for any other player besides LeBron, Dwight Howard, and Durant? Yes, I would.

    And again, Durant’s development is not the rule but the exception.

    “(assuming there were no character, work ethic, or injury issues.)”

    There are quite a few of those issues with Randolph, which is why GS wanted to trade him. GS may very well be wrong about AR’s development (I think they probably are to some extent), but they did deal with the guy every day during the season. Since I’ve never met him, they may know more about his character, work ethic, and injury issues than me.

    “Let’s find out for ourselves where he fits between Garnett and Josh Smith”

    I would not call Josh Smith his floor by any means. Smith is one of the 19 year olds on those lists, has improved, and has been consistently healthy & productive. Smith is comparable in value to Carmelo Anthony (who on a rookie contract you would not trade for any non-top 3 player…). http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/pcm_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=0&p1=smithjo03&y1=2010&p2=anthoca01&y2=2010

    If AR is more Thaddeus Young or Darius Miles or Eddy Curry or Eddie Griffin or even someone productive like Cliff Robinson or Luol Deng or Trevor Ariza or Marvin Williams or Al Harrington or Martell Webster and the Knicks choose to pass on trading him for a top 10 or top 20 player in the league, that may prove to be as much of a mistake as trading a future top 10-20 player for a current one. I wouldn’t make any general rule on these situations and rather take it on a case by case basis.

  65. Ted Nelson

    Ben R,

    When you account for salary, you might be right. Again, if Deng is barely worse than Melo and WC is barely worse than Deng… how valuable is Melo at the end of the day?

    The comparison is more Noah + Deng vs. WC, Curry, and AR/Gallo. Still… I’m on the fence if I give that up for Melo.

    I’m not sure WC won’t get above $4-6 mill if he averages about 15 ppg for the 3rd straight season and the Knicks improve their win total. Then again, I can’t see him getting more either.

  66. Ben R

    Ted – I never said that Deng is barely worse than Melo. I think Melo is much much better than Deng. He scores at a much higher volume and has had three seasons in which his efficiency was well above average. Melo has been a much much more efficient player over the last five years than Deng. His lowest TS% over that time is still better than all but Deng’s most efficient year and he maintained that better efficiency all with a much higher usage. Melo has also been a better passer every year he has been in the league and his rebounding has been better over the last three years. Comparing Melo to Deng is like comparing Durant to Gallo. It is not even close.

    As for the Noah +Deng vs WC + Curry + AR/Gallo I personally would not do that trade as a Knicks fan. Noah is more of a proven commodity but I would say it is very possible 50/50 that either AR or Gallo will end up as good or better than Noah and Chandler I think will end up as good or better than Deng and the Knicks package will be substantuallly cheaper over the next couple years.

    Denver might prefer the lower risk Noah to Gallo or AR which I totally understand but when you consider the rest of the trade and take into account money and positional fit I think the NY trade is the better package for Denver. As for whether I would make the trades I would definately if I was Chicago and I would do the NY package with Gallo and probably with AR but never with both.

  67. Ted Nelson

    ” I never said that Deng is barely worse than Melo. I think Melo is much much better than Deng.”

    You did not, but the stats do. http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/pcm_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=1&p1=anthoca01&y1=2010&p2=chandwi01&y2=2010&p3=denglu01&y3=2010

    In terms of both PER and WS/48 Deng is a mid-point between Wilson Chandler and Carmelo Anthony. If Chandler and Deng are close, it would mean Deng and Anthony are close.

    “Melo has been a much much more efficient player over the last five years than Deng.”

    ? What do you mean by “more efficient player?” More efficient scorer? It’s a difference of .016 in TS% on their careers… The only sizable advantage Melo has is that he shoots the ball more.

    “Comparing Melo to Deng is like comparing Durant to Gallo. It is not even close.”

    Then the same can be said for comparing WC to Deng…

    “As for the Noah +Deng vs WC + Curry + AR/Gallo”

    My point was that for Melo. Those are the potential offers Denver may be evaluating.

  68. kurt thomas 4 GM

    Brian,
    I wonder how many people enjoy your comments both here and CBR. Didn’t realize you were a Knick fan. Tell me you have Unsung history/Urban Legends of the New York Giants somewhere out there too.

  69. Z-man

    @77 Ted,
    Any move is a gamble. If we trade for Melo, he could blow out his ACL, become a malcontent, not complement Amare’s skillset, or simply hurt us by closing doors on future (PG) possibilities via loss of cap room. I absolutely agree that you have to look at each case carefully and consider the entire situation. In this instance, I am suggesting that the combination of AR’s upside potential is perfectly geared towards our needs (defense, rebounding, ball-handling at the forward spot, shotblocking, running the floor) while anyone we can currently trade him for would not have nearly the upside and would essentially close out our cap situation. At age 21, and with his body (injury risk aside, since he has not had a career-changing injury) the chances are that he loses much trade value due to his play in the next month or two. Honestly, you don’t really think there is really much chance he will devolve to a Miles, Young or (heaven forbid!) Curry, do you? So if he turns out to be Ariza or Birdman or Deng or Williams, you still have a productive player and a valuable trade chip…and cap space to make the next deal possible.

  70. Ted Nelson

    I also don’t want the Knicks to trade AR. I’m just saying that he is not Kevin Durant and that *if* a 4-20 best player in the league is offered to the Knicks for Anthony Randolph and spare parts… they need to seriously consider it.

    Melo is the only obvious example where that might come up. I would lean more towards not trading Randolph for Melo… For a guy better than Melo or not coming up on free agency, maybe.

    “Honestly, you don’t really think there is really much chance he will devolve to a Miles, Young or (heaven forbid!) Curry, do you?”

    I don’t expect it, but GS wasn’t looking for trade AR (there were rumors all season that they were shopping him) because he showed up every day with a great attitude and busted his ass to be the best player he could be.

    That doesn’t mean his worth ethic/attitude is Miles or Curry bad: Nelson and GS (almost 2 decades ago) also gave up on Chris Webber because of attitude concerns… C-Webb still managed to help the Kings win a lot of games, though he never really did put it all together and reach his ceiling.

    Young doesn’t seem like a crazy comparison to me. I don’t know exactly what’s going on with Young in Philly. His game is quite different from AR’s. Still, it’s someone who has failed to build on a strong 19 year old rookie season and would almost definitely fetch a lot less in a trade now than he would have then. I would still give Young a good chance of becoming a good rotation player, but would take his ceiling down from what it was at 19, 20. I don’t have any insight into what his problem(s) is/are, though.

    “So if he turns out to be Ariza or Birdman or Deng or Williams, you still have a productive player and a valuable trade chip…and cap space to make the next deal possible.”

    If he’s Deng or Williams he continues to string you along with his potential and you hold onto him waiting for the break-out that doesn’t really come (or fades) and then you’ve held onto him and paid him instead of trading him for a better player…
    (Depending on how he develops) If the Knicks legitimately get offered one of the best players in the NBA for AR, that’s a chance that may not come around again before he hits free agency.

    I’m quite high on AR and hope the Knicks hold onto him. I absolutely *expect* him to be a valuable NBA player given his early stats. I’m just saying that despite all our optimism his development still has a high degree of variability attached… Same with all young players. While it’s likely, it’s not a forgone conclusion he develops from point x to point y. Scoring efficiency, willingness to play inside/position concerns, and durability/consistency are questions AR has to answer. Maybe (hopefully) he comes out from day 1 of this season and answers them, but there’s also a good chance the answers are a work in progress for a couple of years. I’m just saying that we shouldn’t assume AR is definitely on the Kevin Durant fast track to world domination.

  71. Z-man

    I agree with just about everything you are saying. Some differences:

    “*if* a 4-20 best player in the league is offered to the Knicks for Anthony Randolph and spare parts… they need to seriously consider it.”

    I would consider it, but if it involves overpaying for a 15-20 player I am less inclined than I would be for underpaying a 4-7 player. I love Melo, but not at $22mil of cap space when we still have many positions to address.

    (Interestingly, one could ask: Is David Lee close to or even in that 4-20 group? Statistically, one could make the argument, although I wouldn’t. If he is, then GS just made that kind of deal, not for top-20 $, but they may not have had to give AR up if they were patient. I certainly wouldn’t reverse that deal, even if Curry’s contract was included.)

    “if he’s Deng or Williams he continues to string you along with his potential and you hold onto him waiting for the break-out that doesn’t really come (or fades) and then you’ve held onto him and paid him instead of trading him for a better player…
    (Depending on how he develops) If the Knicks legitimately get offered one of the best players in the NBA for AR, that’s a chance that may not come around again before he hits free agency.”

    I am only advocating that we wait until December to consider a deal, not wait a couple of years. It should be pretty apparent early on whether last year was a blip or the real deal for Randolph. If he doesn’t impress us in terms of progress by the 10-20 game point, then chalk it up to a good gamble lost and look into moving on. I never said that we should hold onto him. I will say that with Ariza, and later Balkman, I never had a problem giving up on them because I never saw star potential and considered them easily replacable; I just sense something special about this guy’s unique skillset and want to get a really good look. It is thankfully looking more and more like that will happen.

  72. Ted Nelson

    1.

    I also said I would lean towards no on Melo.

    I think David Lee is right there with someone like Melo. Different game, obviously, but not necessarily less unique or valuable. He scores almost as many points much more efficiently, is at least as good a passer at a position where playmakers are rarer, and is an elite rebounder for any position…
    I do think GS made that kind of deal, which is why they did it. They were looking to trade AR well before that, though, if rumors are to be believed.

    2. ” It should be pretty apparent early on whether last year was a blip or the real deal for Randolph. If he doesn’t impress us in terms of progress by the 10-20 game point, then chalk it up to a good gamble lost and look into moving on.”

    I don’t think that’s necessarily true, which is what I’ve been trying to say. If he really puts it all together and kills it… sure it’ll be obvious. Even then, though, maybe it’s a few hot months and he cools down later in the season. If he starts out struggling or inconsistent… what does that tell you? Pretty much nothing.
    As an example take Wilson Chandler. Say the Knicks took this approach with him last season. At the beginning of the season… he was playing TERRIBLY. He had little trade value anyway, but they would have moved him in the right deal were they taking the December approach. Then suddenly he started playing the best ball of his life. Ariza was also having an ice cold start when he was traded, a start that was not indicative of his career numbers.
    I can’t even understand saying that a 21 year old–especially one with as much potential and also rawness as AR–is what he is over a 10-20 game span… It’s too small a sample for any player, but especially a 21 year old. Walshtoni I would have more faith in making the decision than us just looking at his stats and play, because they actually get to see his attitude and work ethic.

    ” I will say that with Ariza, and later Balkman, I never had a problem giving up on them because I never saw star potential and considered them easily replacable;”

    I wouldn’t completely compare the situations, but… You don’t mind trading a 20 year old who had showed the game Ariza had for the corpse of Steve Francis? Have the Knicks really replaced him? Before the disaster season in Houston, he was above league average in terms of both PER and WS/48 for 3 seasons (Wilson Chandler, in contrast, has never come close to average). He’ll only be 25 next season. Even with his big new contract, he’s still worth Darren Collison on the trade market.

    I did mind trading Balkman for a 2nd because he also has a unique skill set, but in hindsight it seems he has a work ethic issue that perhaps Walshtoni correctly identified in Summer League.

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